Eastern Oregon Mining Association
Eastern Oregon Mining Association
Serving the mineral industries
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20090701

We need items for the 'Silent Auction'. This is our major fund raiser we need all the help we can get. It can be anything mining related or not, must be either new or in good condition. Please deliver to Chuck Chase, 740 Valley Ave. here in Baker City. Come in on the Plum Street side where the tromel sits and drop off any donations. You may also drop them off Friday of Jubilee, knowing that a lot of you don't get into Baker City until Jubilee weekend.
Also if you have small mining equipment to be displayed in front of our booth bring it along. And most of all we will need bodies to help set up Friday and to man the booths. Appreciate any help we can get, thanks.... Chuck Chase
The EOMA has always worked with the community and schools to further education in minerals. EOMA members Ken Anderson and Chuck Chase will be conducting courses this spring at the Blue Mountain Community College. The courses are entitled 'Introductry Gold Prospecting'. The will be held in the evenings so it will be easier for people to attend.
With the help of the Eastern Oregon Miners and Prospectors we are rounding out the courses with Field Trips. If anyone is interested in participating contact Blue Mountain Community College.
Every miners needs to be there. We have the State championship gold panning competition, as well as hardrock drilling competition. There is gold panning for the kids, metal detecting, and demonstrations on how to run mining equipment.
We already have a lot of great vendors lined up. Louie Frick will bring his line of dredges and high bankers, Steve York has every rock and gemstone you could ask for, Steve Stebbins will bring in some of his opals, which he mines locally. Bechtels will bring their jewelry line, made from gold they mine on Elk Creek.We missed Jack and Jerri from Miners Keepers last year, but hopefully they will make it this year. They are definitely our favorite gold buyers, and they have every size of gold for sale. Howard Brooks, retired geologist with DOGAMI, will hopefully be back with his books on mining in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon.
If you know other vendors invite them! There is no cost for your booth, we just have to know how much room every vendor needs. Call Jan Alexander at 541-446-3413.
If you want to sell a mining claim, there may be an opportunity to set up a booth at Miner's Jubilee, where we could provide information on claims that are for sale, and also on equipment to mine those claims. If you want to participate in this, we will need pictures, maps, BLM serial numbers, information on production and on whether the claim has an approved plan of operation. Contact Jan Alexander at 541-446-3413 if you might be interested in participating.
Oregon Department of Water Resources wants miners to be aware that water rights are necessary if you take water from a stream. You do not need a water right if you run a suction dredge or even if you shovel into a sluicebox in the stream. It is only when you remove the water from the stream that a water right comes into play.
Most miners in this area have utilized groundwater for mining. Oregon water law contains an exemption so that miners can use 5,000 gallons a day of groundwater for processing. Old dredge tailings ponds and even water in test holes can be a source of groundwater for processing. When this water is recycled, there is enough water to support a small scale mining operation.
There is also a surface water right that can be applied for. This is called a Limited Water Use License. The cost is $150.00 for five years of water use. The risk with one of these temporary water rights, is if someone else has an earlier priority water right, you could be shut down when water is short, and your use conflicts with their use.
The Wallowa-Whitman EIS which proposes to close most of the open roads in the Forest is out. The proposal is not just unfair, making access within the National Forests unavailable to the old, the young and the disabled, who cannot hike the closed roads, and making it more difficult to cut wood, prospect for minerals, administer range allotments, recreate, camp, hunt or retrieve game, but it is also illegal.
The Forest Supervisor would like you to believe that this total closure of the National Forest is a 'non-significant' amendment to the 1990 access friendly Wallowa-Whitman Forest Plan. But this is not true. Each of the action alternatives in the EIS represents a 'significant amendment' to the Forest Plan. A significant amendment as defined by the Forest Service manual under 1926.52, 2. equates to 'Changes that may have an important effect on the entire land management plan or affect land and resources throughout a large portion of the planning area during the planning period'.
We believe that this EIS decision will drastically affect the land management plan and affect the land resources. 1.3 million acres of NF land and resources are involved in this amendment. One million acres have already been closed off from previous decisions, such as wilderness, city watersheds, and the previous decisions to close off Bald Angel and the Southfork of the Burnt River areas. The lands left to be closed, still make up a 'large portion of the planning area'.
Write Supervisor Ellis at P.O. Box 907, Baker City, OR 97814 and tell him his road closure plan is illegal, since it is not a non-significant amendment to the 1990 Wallowa-Whitman Forest Plan. Tell him he has the cart before the horse. First he must rewrite the 1990 Forest Plan. Only after years of public involvement in this revision process, can he legally propose a Plan to close the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to access.
County commissioners need to rein in the out-of-control governmental agencies intent upon ruining rural America. County commissioners have the power to do this through a process called coordination. Every citizen must let their commissioners know that they want the counties to take control away from the Federal agencies.
In Baker County, the Resource Advisory Council is writing their own Resource Plan on how to manage the Federal lands within the county. Every county should be doing this. The counties can require the Forest Service and BLM to come to their table, and to modify Federal Plans to meet the intent of the counties' Plans. The Federal agencies must protect the economy, custom and culture of each county, throughout the United States.
Below is a draft of the Baker County Goals and Objectives for mineral and energy resources. EOMA invites all miners to take a look at these goals and objectives. If you think these should be changed, please let me know. If you mine in another county and want your commissioners to take on the Federal government, you will need to write a resource plan of your own.
Mining is an important industry in Baker County. The Forest Service and BLM think nothing of violating the National Minerals Policy Act, when it suits their needs. Neither agency is processing mining Plans of Operation in a timely manner. Approval of these operations would put county citizens to work in family wage jobs. The Counties need to take the agencies to task when Federal actions harm the local economy and destroy the custom and culture of the counties' citizens.

Baker County's policy for minerals resource management is consistent with the National Forest and Bureau of Land Management policies, as expressed in the Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970: 'foster and encourage private enterprise in the development of economically sound and stable industries, and in the orderly and economic development of domestic resources to help assure satisfaction of industrial, security and environmental needs'. Within this context, Baker County has an essential role in contributing to an adequate and stable supply of mineral and energy resources, while continuing to sustain the land's productivity for other uses.
1. To ensure that exploration, development and production of mineral and energy resources and reclamation of activities are part of the County's ecosystem management responsibility.
- To ensure that exploration, development and production of mineral and energy resources are conducted in an environmentally sensitive manner, and to further ensure that these activities are integrated with the planning and management of other resources.
- To facilitate the orderly exploration, development and production of mineral and energy resources within all lands within Baker County open to these activities, consistent with valid existing rights.
- To maintain access to mineral and energy resources that are important to sustain viable rural economies, and that can also contribute to the national defense and economic growth.
- To ensure that lands disturbed by mineral and energy activities, both past and present, are reclaimed after mining using the best, current, scientific knowledge and principles and these lands are returned to other productive uses.
2. To ensure that the mineral resources on Federal lands within the county, are administered to provide commodities for current and future generations.
- To ensure that Federal agencies recognize the non-discretionary nature of locatable mining operations.
- To ensure that Mining Plans of Operation are approved in a timely manner (within one year of submittal), and that discretionary analysis of other projects does not preempt mining analysis.
- To ensure that mineral related activities are conducted in accordance with legal and regulatory authorities.
- To ensure the integration of mineral resource programs and activities with the planning and management of renewable resources through the land and resource management planning process.
- To recognize that mineral development may occur concurrently or sequentially with other resource uses.
- To ensure that private property rights are respected.
- To ensure the uniform application of resource protection and reclamation standards for mineral related exploration and development projects.
- To provide for site occupancy consistent with the rights granted through statutes, leases, licenses and permits, while preventing occupancy that is not reasonably incident to the mining operation.
- To recognize the need to sustain the long-term health and biological diversity of ecosystems.
3. Ensure that Federal lands are open for mineral access.
- To recognize that prospecting, development and mining require reasonable access.
- To address the need to maintain access to mineral deposits for the orderly exploration, development and mining during the planning process for all activities in mineralized areas.
- Prior to initiating the administrative withdrawal of Federal lands from mineral entry, to (a) ensure the full consideration of the national interest in rural community development (b) to establish the value of the mineral resource foregone (c) to establish the value of the resource being protected (d) to analyze the risk that the renewable resources cannot be adequately protected under the existing established minerals surface use regulations.
- Ensure that reclamation bonds for minerals operations on Federal lands within the county, are fair, reasonable and adequate to reclaim the land should the mine operator be unable to accomplish this responsibility.
- To ensure that reclamation bonds are calculated based on the cost to government of hiring a third party contractor to perform the work.
- To ensure that all reclamation bonds are calculated under the Service Contract Act when reclamation consists solely of removal of surface improvements, refilling, contouring, vegetating and landscaping the surface, all activities where the Davis Bacon Act, and Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) do not apply.
- To ensure that local policies are consistent with national agency direction on bonding.
4. Establish partnerships between the County, the minerals industry and the Federal agencies to share knowledge of the mineral estate, and develop and to foster trust among partners.
- To work together to foster and encourage mineral and energy resource development.
- To provide mediation when conflicts arise between federal policy and the legal development of the mineral resources.
- To showcase excellence in mineral and energy resources development and production.

A lot of you know Greg Visconty, who was the TRI Forest geologist, and was based in Baker City for many years. Greg is now in the Regional Office, and has worked to get additional funding for the Wallowa-Whitman minerals department.
The Forest Service has a huge backlog of Plans of Operation, that have never been approved. An Interdisciplinary team (IDT) will be looking at all the submitted plans in the field this summer. If miners are on site, it's fine to answer questions about your operation, however, it is always prudent to have a witness to this conversation, or record it.
Every miner should carry a small pocket recorder with him or her at all times. There have been too many instances when BLM and FS employees have a completely different version of a conversation than the miner remembers or understands. There is nothing devious about recording these conversations. We learned from experience that the BLM and FS law enforcement officers record all their conversations with us, so it is useful to do the same thing.
Watch for this one, and be sure to submit comments! Wallowa-Whitman Forest Supervisor Steve Ellis wants to close somewhere around 4,000 miles of road. He says miners will not be affected, however, if you want to prospect, and the road is closed, you can't get there to make a discovery. Another problem is that Ellis wants to put a gate on every mining road, and my bet is he wants each miner to furnish and maintain that gate. If someone else drives into your claim, they will be cited. This could be your mechanic, your geologist, or your kids. Locking up the Forest will greatly impact miners trying to work on the National Forest. Just tell Supervisor Ellis, 'no more road closures!' Jan Alexander
Most miners have a few of these on their claims. The Forest Service and BLM are asking that you label these containers with whatever is in them. Even if the material is only black sands, or water for panning, label the container. If the Feds have to bring in a hazardous materials team and they find out the substance is water, you may get billed for them testing it!
Miners are required to have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on site for all chemicals and petroleum products they use in their operations. MSDS are available where you bought the product, or you can print them off the internet.
The Forest Service, in contrast to the BLM, is working closely with the miners and with EOMA on reclamation bonds. The Forest Service is calculating bonds the way the BLM should be doing it; by calculating the amount of the bond based on what it would cost the Forest Service to hire a third party contractor to do the work.
Before a bond is finalized, EOMA will receive a copy of the bond calculation sheet. The Forest Service wants to work with us to keep bonds under our EOMA bonding MOU. Where the bond amount exceeds our agreement, the Forest Service will work with the miner and EOMA to scale back the operation so that it comes under the MOU. Should the miner wish to stay with a larger operation, he/she can choose to post part of the bond as an assignment of deposit at the bank.
For many years we have mined our small deposits without worrying about MSHA. After all, none of us hires employees, and many of us are simply in the exploration phase of our operations.
Well, unfortunately, MSHA has discovered Northeast Oregon. Anyone can turn you in if you are not registered, it could be the Forest Service, BLM, or environmentalists, so all miners need to protect themselves. Ron Jacobson, head of the Boise office of MSHA, informs me that it doesn't matter if you hire employees, and it doesn't matter if you are a one man/woman operation. If you are involved in mining, and use mechanized equipment, your operation may be of interest to MSHA.
Several Baker County operations are now on the MSHA roles, and a lot more will be registering before the mining season rolls around. Some operators, such as EOMP, have already contacted MSHA, and been told they are 'hobby mines' and do not need to register. But it is up to each of you to make the call. Ron Jacobson's phone number is 208-334-1835
The Board of Directors looked at the increased liability of standing behind a bond. The Board of Directors voted to raise the bonding for the $1,500 dollar bond to $30 dollars. For miners that have had a previous $1,500 or $3,000 or higher bond the annual fee will be $30. For the first time miners applying for a $3,000 bond the fee is 10% of the bond one time fee, or $300 dollars for a $3,000 bond. There after it will be a annual fee of $30 per year. Your dues need to be current for the year you are bonding for. Your Bond and Dues Are Due At The Same Time.
The 2009's are here and will be here and will be at the July meeting. We are closing out the 2008's and we have sold out of all the 2008 Silver Medallions. But.......Our 2009's in and they are just as pretty as the 2008's. Let us know if you want one of these limited edition medallions. The Board of Directors has set a price on them of $27.50 plus one dollar shipping. Get your order in now, we just have a few left of the 2009's.
Mail your check or money order to: EOMA, Medallion, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814. The 2007's sell for $25 plus one dollar shipping. Don't wait too much longer, it's the real deal with silver going up and up, by next year these could be cheap.
Come to the EOMA meeting and catch up on the latest things that are happening in upcoming mining season. The EOMA holds their meeting the first Friday of the month here in Baker City. The meetings are held in the second floor in the City Hall Chambers of the City Hall. The Eastern Oregon Mining Association (EOMA) will meet at 6:30p.m. Friday in the City Hall Chambers. All are welcome for the general meeting to learn about the association and enjoy our monthly presentation. EOMA's monthly Director's meeting will precede the general meeting and begin at 6:00p.m.)
Should be an interesting evening so come on down and see what is happening. For those of you from out of town go South on Main Street until you come to Auburn Ave. Make a right, go one block, City Hall will be on your left on the corner of 1st and Auburn.
In time for holiday gift giving and the new year, our Third Edition Calendar is out! Fill out the flyer in the newsletter to order your 2009 calendars today. If you liked the prior years, you're sure to love this one too. The 2009 edition includes all the important dates, contact info, and mining facts that you've come to rely on plus a whole new array of pictures. With gold prices making history in 2008, some great operations began so don't miss seeing some of the snapshots. Order one for your house, one for your cabin, and give 'em as gifts... all year long... they're collectable ! If you missed out on the First or Second Edition of this collectable set, we may be able to come up with another 2007 or 2008 calendar for about five bucks, plus another buck for postage - just send us a note with your completed order form and check.
Thank you for your donations, please specify which Legal Fund you want your donation placed.
We would like to thankJoe Mann and the Show Me Gold Prospectors for their most generous support and donations every month. With out the support from all of you we would not be able to carry the fight on DEQ Dredging Turbidity Permit. A suit filed by Hell's Canyon Preservation Council filed as Interveners on our dredge permit, because they don't think it is stringent enough. We have counter filed in the Court of Appeals. Help us keep up the good fight.......Send your generous donations to the 'EOMA Legal Fund, 700 PM'. A special thanks to all of you for your continued support to defend our dredging rights. Mining Clubs and Associations across Oregon and Washington and as far away as Kansas and Missouri mining clubs and associations have formed an alliance. We are soliciting donations to defend our right to mine. If we lose it lays open all aspects of small scale
Thank you for your donations, please specify which Legal Fund you want your donation placed. A big thanks to Dick Coughren for your most generous donation to the Jan Alexander EOMA legal Fund. Although the suit against Jan has been thrown out the animosity between us, Jan and the BLM hasn't changed much. Jan has requested that monies given in her name be placed in the EOMA Legal Fund. There will be a next time, the only thing I don't know is when.