Eastern Oregon Mining Association
Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20091101

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a final rule today that increases the location fee for mining claims went from $30 per claim to $34, and the annual maintenance fee from $125 to $140 per claim.
The BLM is promulgating this rule to make statutorily authorized adjustments to its location and maintenance fees for un-patented mining claims, mill sites, and tunnel sites. This rule implements 30 U.S.C. 28j(c), which authorizes adjustments to the location and annual maintenance fees 'to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor every 5 years after August 10, 1993,or more frequently if the Secretary determines an adjustment to be reasonable.' The BLM's last adjusted the location and maintenance fees in 2004. Mining claimants must pay the new location fee for any mining claim or site located after today, June 29, 2009. Mining claimants must pay the new maintenance fee to maintain mining claims and sites starting from the 2010maintenance year. These fees are due on or before September 1, 2009. Those of you who have already submitted maintenance fees for the 2010 maintenance year will be given an opportunity to pay the additional amount without penalty upon notice from BLM.
Brian Gardner, our Web Master has done an incredible job of putting together the EOMA Web Site. Not only can you list your 'For Sale Items' you can get the latest issue of the EOMA newsletter. Also there are pages of mining related related items for sale. EOMA medallions and calendars are even listed. If you haven't checked this Web Site out yet, just go into Internet Explorer and type in Eastern Oregon Mining Association and your there. Brian and I would enjoy hearing from you and what you think of the Web Site.
The 2009's are about gone, what few left will be at the October meeting. We have sold out of all the 2008 Silver Medallions. But.......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 2009's sell for $27.50 plus one dollar shipping. Or call Kim Lethlean at 541-523-3349 for a price on prior issues. 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. 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 thank Joe 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 mining.
Up date, the on going BLM's confiscating Guy Michael's equipment from his mining claim has been taken to a new level. Fred Kelly Grant, prominent lawyer and head of Stewards of the Range has taken up the cause. Recently Fred recommend that Guy file a violation of his Civil Rights against BLM. Therefore federal agencies are subject to the laws in each State concerning property. ORS 517.080, which describes an un-patented mining claim as real estate. Lack of due process is a violation of civil rights and in part are based on the laws of the State of Oregon concerning real property laws.
Anybody wanting to contribute to help defend Guy's private property rights, please send to: EOMA, Guy Michael, Legal Fund, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814.
GOLD BUGS By Doctor Thom Seal
Australian scientists have found that the bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans catalyzes the biomineralisation of gold by transforming toxic gold compounds to their metallic form using active cellular mechanism. According to Frank Reith, leader of the research and working at the University of Adelaide, 'A number of years ago we discovered that the metal-resistant bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans occurred on gold grains from two sites in Australia.'The sites are 3500 km apart, in southern New South Wales and northern Queensland, so when we found the same organism on grains from both sites we thought we were onto something,' he said.'It made us wonder why these organisms live in this particular environment. The results of this study point to their involvement in the active detoxification of Au complexes leading to formation of gold biominerals,' he added. The experiments showed that C. metallidurans rapidly accumulates toxic gold complexes from a solution prepared in the lab. This process promotes gold toxicity, which pushes the bacterium to induce oxidative stress and metal resistance clusters as well as an as yet un-characterized Au-specific gene cluster in order to defend its cellular integrity.This leads to active biochemically-mediated reduction of gold complexes to nano-particulate, metallic gold, which may contribute to the growth of gold nuggets.By determining what elements there are, scientists can see where the gold is located in relation to the cells. For this study, scientists combined synchrotron techniques at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the Advanced Photon Source (APS) and molecular microbial techniques to understand the biomineralisation in bacteria. It is the first time that these techniques have been used in the same study, so Frank Reith brought together a multinational team of experts in both areas for the success of the experiment. This is the first direct evidence that bacteria are actively involved in the cycling of rare and precious metals, such as gold. These results open the doors to the production of biosensors.'The discovery of an Au-specific operon means that we can now start to develop gold-specific biosensors, which will help mineral explorers to find new gold deposits,' said Reith.
If so, you are incorrect. As most of you know, the original user friendly 43CFR3809 regulations went into effect in 1980. The Clinton administration revised these regulations, and the revision became final on January 20, 2001, the last day of the Clinton administration. This new set of regulations, crafted by Babbitt, required miners to meet a detailed list of one-size-fits-all performance standards, included civil penalties, and actually gave BLM the authority to deny a Notice or Plan of Operation, and gave on-the ground BLM administrators the authority to stop an operation if they wanted to. This authority stemmed from a new definition of 'unnecessary or undue degradation', and a new standard, 'significant irreparable harm' (SIH), or the 'Mine Veto Provision'.
The Babbitt 3809 regulations were immediately challenged by the State of Nevada, mining companies and by mining associations across the Western States.
In March of 2001, the Bush administration rushed to change these onerous regulations. Secretary Norton proposed to suspend the Babbitt 3809 regulations, realizing that these regulations would have effectively ended mining on BLM administered lands in this country. The SIH would have provided anti-mining groups a powerful tool with which to stop mining during the analysis of mining operations required by NEPA. Since BLM could veto a Mining Plan after expensive efforts to discover and develop a mineral deposit had been made, mining companies would cease exploration and mining in this country. Had these regulations remained in effect, the Forest Service would surely have written their own regulations to include the mine veto provision.
Preventing undue and unnecessary degradation is a statutory mandate under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLMPA) and is the principal focus of the BLM's 43 CFR3809 regulations. This is a site specific, dynamic, comprehensive standard that requires compliance with all applicable environmental protection statutes and regulations. The undue and unnecessary standard in the 1980 regulations centered on (1) disturbance greater than that which would normally result from an ordinarily prudent operator (2) failure to comply with applicable environmental protection laws, and (3) failure to complete reasonable mitigation measures, including proper reclamation of disturbed areas. Today, the 1980 standard has been combined with some of Babbits detailed list of standards to comply with, but it is possible to comply and most miners today do comply.
By Jan Alexander
Environmental groups have long complained that the Forest Service and BLM should make sure a claim is valid before approving a Plan of Operation. Even certain BLM offices have contended that they cannot approve a Plan of Operation if the claim has not been proven valid. However, this is not the direction for either agency.
In Western Shoshone Defense Project, 160 IBLA 32, GFS(MIN) 26(2003) opponents of the Pipeline Open Pit project in Nevada appealed BLM's approval of the Operating Plan because they said an investigation of claim validity must be an integral part of the analysis of the proposal. IBLA ruled that BLM is not required to check claim validity, nor should it suspend consideration of a plan of Operation until validity is established.
On the National Forest, the same rules apply. IM 2003-242 (Aug 1, 2003) states 'on National Forest system lands reserved from the public domain and open to entry under the mining law, the Forest Service is not required to inquire into claim validity before processing and approving proposed plans of operation'.
The Buffalo Mine will be plowing the 73 road from Granite to the mine this year, as they always do. Complaints that this plowing hurts businesses in Granite are without basis in fact.
There is a perfectly good snowmobile trail that avoids the plowed road section. Forest Service personnel worked with the snowmobile club this past summer to ensure that the route is safe and wide enough so it can be groomed using a snow cat.
The miners at the Buffalo simply need to have access to their private land where they live and where they process the ore they mined in the summer. They are not plowing the road because they want to stop snowmobiling, they are plowing the road so they can drive to town for supplies. The Forest Service has accommodated the needs of the miners, the snowmobilers and the Granite business owners. EOMA commends them for their efforts.
Ranger Anderson wrote one miner on October 19, 2009, telling him 'My expectation is that the Supplemental EIS process will be completed in time for approval of Plans for work next season'. This is welcome news for those of us who have been shut down by the Judge's order.
Once the Forest Service gets the analysis right in the NFBR EIS, they can do the same type of analysis for the Granite, Upper Powder and North Fork John Day watersheds. All three of these watersheds have ESA species, which complicates things a little, but since most all the submitted Plans have already undergone consultation with US F&W and National Marine Fisheries Services, these plans should all be approved in the near future. Any miners who wish to mine in any of these watersheds, but have not yet submitted Plans of Operation, should get going on this.
Laura Skaer, attorney and Executive Director of the NWMA, has agreed to contact both the BLM and Forest Service Regional minerals staff to see what can be done to get the backlog of Plans of Operation approved quickly. Laura will provide us with a full report.
Although NWMA represents the larger mining operations in the Western states, this organization also has done a lot for the small scale mining industry. EOMA is a member of NWMA and many EOMA members have a dual membership in NWMA.
The NWMA Convention is November 30, 2009 through December 4, 2009 and will be held in Reno. It's a good opportunity to meet other miners, and the short courses are interesting and informative. If you have never attended the Avoiding Pitfalls in Permitting class, this might be the year to do it.
Miners in this area are having a difficult time dealing with MSHA. Some operators took an entire season off in order to bring their operations up to standard. They installed guards, built berms, bought safety equipment and installed back-up alarms and seat belts on their machinery. They have attended training classes, posted signs, have offices and paperwork on site; and still it is never enough.
Horror stories range from having a report of full compliance at one inspection, than another inspection of the same area and machinery by a different inspector finds deficiencies. Miners who immediately comply and fix small deficiencies, get a return visit the next day. The inspector makes note that everything is in compliance, then issues citations anyway. One miner was told there was a rough spot on the trommel barrel that could cut someone. The only reason he did not get a citation for this was he showed the inspector that the rough spot was actually a paint bubble that flaked off when touched.
This is not right. Inspectors should not be going on these sites looking for anything they can find so they can issue citations. Instead, they should be going on site with the intent of helping these operators conduct their operations in a safe manner.
Small scale operators without employees should be held to a separate standard from large scale operators with employees. Fines are never levied by the Boise MSHA Office, where the inspectors come from, but instead some clerk in Vacaville California, who doesn't know anything about your operation, decides the fines.
In addition, operations without employees should be notified before inspections; surprise inspections are a violation of these operators' 4th amendment rights to privacy. The US 9th Circuit Court found, 'we find that the absence of paid employees is a factor to consider in determining an operator's reasonable expectation of privacy'.
MSHA was established to promote mine safety. No one disputes that this mission is an admirable one. However, MSHA needs to get back to helping to ensure safety instead of issuing citations and fines. Small scale mine operators, afraid of being fined, are already hiding out, and/or working at night. This situation does nothing to promote mine safety.
MSHA's sister agency, OSHA, only inspects commercial operations where there are employees. These inspectors are strict, but they do not come on site to issue citations, they come on site to assess safety concerns and to educate. Many mining operation, such as Ashgrove, are regulated by both OSHA and MSHA. Some consistency between agencies would help safety and would help small scale mine operators stay in business.
1872 MINING LAW By Jan Alexander
Executive Director of the Northwest Mining Association, and attorney, Laura Skaer, recently was asked about the Law of 1866 and the 1872 Mining Law. She stated, 'there is no question that the 1872 law superseded both the 1866 Mining Law and the 1870 Placer Law with the exception of RS 2477, which was repealed by FLPMA in 1976'. In addition, Laura stated, 'there are a multitude of US Supreme Court cases available declaring that the 1872 Mining Law is the foundation for acquiring rights in public mineral lands'.
The answer is YES, according to Dave Fredley, Geologist and mining consultant and to attorney and Executive Director of the Northwest Mining Association, Laura Skaer.
Laura stated that there have been more than 50 times that the 1872 Mining Law has been amended.
Naming only a few of the amendments to the 1872 Mining Law, she talked about the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) which was the Act that gave the BLM authority to regulate surface impacts; and 30 USC 612 which gave both the USFS & BLM authority to regulate the use and occupancy of mining claims.
According to mining engineer, Jim Aubert, who has testified in minerals court cases as an expert witness, although under the 1872 Mining Law, the claimant had the exclusive right to possession and enjoyment of all the surface within the lines of the locations, miners on unpatented claims never had title to the surface.
Thus, in 1955, Congress was able to amend the mining laws by passing the Multiple Use Mining Act, 30 U.S.C. 601, et seq. which retained to the Federal Government the right to manage the surface resources (except minerals subject to location under the mining laws of the United States) of subsequently located unpatented mining claims.
The Act provides that unpatented mining claims are subject to the right of the United States and its permittees and licensees to manage surface resources and 'to use so much of the surface thereof as may be necessary for such purposes or for access to adjacent land'.
This law has one really good point in the miners' favor, as it clearly states that activities of the United States must not 'endanger or materially interfere with prospecting, mining or processing operations or uses reasonably incident thereto'. That is why the BLM or FS can build a road across your claims or log your claims, but they must protect your mining improvements and not interfere with your mining operation while they are building roads or logging.
Larry Dinger has been trying for many years to get BLM to approve a Plan of Operation for Mining at Mormon Basin. All appeared well two years ago, as BLM finally accepted Larry's Plan of Operation as complete. Because BLM said it did not have the time or money to write the environmental Assessment (EA), Larry found funding to have a consulting firm write the EA.
After hundred of thousands of dollars were spent on the project, there was a change in BLM geologists. Now, BLM has rejected the whole thing, stating that the Plan of Operation submitted two year ago was not complete, despite the fact that BLM had written a decision that the Plan was complete. BLM said they were 'really sorry', that they had 'screwed up' with their decision that the Plan was complete, but upon further review they had decided that the Plan now just wasn't good enough. BLM's main concern was they did not want any excavation on land with questionable mineral values, because if you dug a hole with the intention of mining, where there was no gold, this would equate to 'undue degradation' of the land.
Larry submitted a revised Plan of Operation several weeks ago. He revised the Plan to include only areas where his father and he established known values, and Larry also included areas tested during the past three years under a BLM notice, where they found good values.
There is a DOGAMI permit in place which covers mining on private land adjacent to the BLM claims, and mining has taken place there all summer. It is high time BLM approved the miners to move across the boundary onto the adjacent BLM claims and mine there too.
It may be that BLM just doesn't like miners. We will all stay tuned to see how they respond to this revised Plan of Operation.
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.
Attached are the draft 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.
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
It only costs $1.00 per month to run your ad in the EOMA newsletter. Send your ad and payment to: EOMA, Attn. Editor, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814.