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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20120306

March 2012 Newsletter
Volume 270

EOMA meetings are on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting is Friday, March 2, at Baker City Hall building located at 1st and Auburn Streets. The Board meeting starts at 6:00PM, and the general meeting starts at 6:30pm. We will be holding the election of your EOMA Board and Officers at this meeting.

MSHA TRAINING-MARCH 9th,10th & 11th, 2012-by Jan Alexander

MSHA new miner training will be scheduled for March 9th, and 10th, at the Baker City Library, 2400 Resort Street (next to the park).Because the classes have gotten so large, we will have another annual refresher on Sunday March 11th. The training will begin at 8:00AM each day. The cost is $10/person for each day of training. We need a list of those miners who want the two days of new miner training. No sign-up is needed for the annual refresher which is either March 10th, or 11th. Ed Sinner will be our instructor. Call Jan at 541-446-3413 to sign up for new miner training.

We are now in the final month of selling tickets for the Grand Prize drawing on the half pound of gold and other prizes. All ticket sales go to the legal fund so it is a win, win. Thanks for the help and your donations........ Good luck on the tickets for the ½ pound of gold. Also, each ticket you buy gives you $5 off on purchasing an EOMA 1 ounce Silver Medallion, what a deal!
Support your mining rights by purchasing your chance to win the ½ pound of gold and also other great prizes. Mail your tickets with payment to: Waldo Mining, PO Box 1574, Cave Junction, OR 97523. The drawing will be held for the ½ pound of gold on Sunday, March 25th, 2012, YOU HAVEN’T GOT MUCH TIME LEFT, so get your tickets bought and sent in. Remember it only takes one ticket to win! We need the support!
From the Desk of the President
-by Maureen S. Anderson

WOW!! Is it just me...or does time appear to be flying? As I am certain you are all aware, our third EOMA meeting of the year and our annual elections are just around the corner! Although the ballot may appear to be a simple agreed upon slate of officers, remember that each position is also available for write-in votes. If you are satisfied with the direction that EOMA has been headed throughout this past year, I would like to ask your support in taking the time to fill in your ballot with the appropriate check marks to re-elect the members who have agreed to continue working hard to protect your mining rights.
All of you who attended the last EOMA meeting had the opportunity to ask questions of Don Gonzalez from the BLM. The following Monday, I had the opportunity to sit down with both Don and Monica for our quarterly Round Table meetings and am happy to announce that both agencies have agreed to make certain that members of their staff will be available (on an alternating basis) at every EOMA meeting. These BLM and FS employees will be present to assist our members with any questions they may have as it pertains to filing claims, completing paperwork, etc. Please take advantage of this opportunity by attending the coming EOMA meetings. You will be able to keep abreast of what your elected officers are doing on your behalf, as well as ask questions of the agency representatives.
In addition to providing staff to assist members, both agencies are working hard to complete comprehensive brochures that will provide step-by-step guidance for filing claims, bonding, reclamation, etc. The hope is that these brochures will be completed by spring and be available at the agency offices, the Baker County Courthouse, and at EOMA meetings. It is our sincere desire to assist not only current miners, but future miners, in understanding their rights and responsibilities as they pertain to mining on Federal lands.


Big thanks to the Mining Organizations that support the current ongoing litigation. Special thanks to those that have bought tickets to support the Dredge Suit.
A real big thanks to, Jim Haight and Chari LaRue, James and Leta McPherson, Tork and Wanda Ballard, Louis Hill, Jasper Coombes, Dick Coughren and the North Bend Prospectors. If I missed anybody who personally donated to our ongoing litigation, please accept my apologies. Send me an email or a note and we will acknowledge you in the next newsletter.

MSHA Annual Refresher-April, 21st -by Jan Alexander
If you can’t make the annual refresher in March, plan to attend the one April 21st. This will be the 8 hour refresher which is required for all miners. As before, we will meet at the Baker City Library, 2400 Resort Street (next to the park). The training will begin at 8:00AM each day. The cost is $10/person for each day of training. No sign-up is needed for the annual refresher.


If you have not renewed your EOMA membership, and paid for your Forest
Service bond under the MOU for 2012, you are late! Sit down right now and write that check, or better yet, come to the EOMA meeting March 2, 2012 at Baker City Hall building at 6:30PM and pay your dues and bond fee then.

Dues, Bonds, Medallions, Calendars and Checks

Please make separate checks for dues and bonds, they go into different accounts. It gets difficult to make change back and forth between the bonding fund and the general fund. It really gets fun when you guys order calendars, medallions and pay your dues and bonds all with one check. So please take pity on the guys trying to keep the accounts straight and make out separate checks..... Thanks….the Treasurer...
Obama’s 2013 Budget
In his proposed $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2013, President Barak Obama has once again called for a gross mining royalty of not less than five percent of proceeds on hard-rock mining companies. He also wants a \Dirt Tax” of approximately 7.8 cents per ton of material moved, which taxes mining companies not on the minerals they produce, but taxes them on the dirt and rocks that they move while doing business. His plan would add certain hard-rock minerals, such as silver and gold and other minerals, that are now locatable, to the leasing program under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920.
\Existing mining claims would be exempt from the change to a leasing system, but would be subject to increases in the annual maintenance fees under the General Mining Law of 1872,\ said the Bureau of Land Management. \However, holders of existing mining claims for these minerals could voluntarily convert their claims to leases.”
So far Congress has not gone along with Obama’s plans on these taxes or to make precious metals leasable rather than locatable. It is important to support the representatives and Senators that support mining.
North Fork Burnt River Mining POOs-Will We Mine this Year?-by Jan Alexander

Ranger Jeff Tomac, is telling us that he is aiming to have the decision on the SEIS published in March, and we should be mining this season. All mining operations included in the first EIS are still pending approval in the supplement. For some miners, it has been a ten year wait.

There are 42 operations pending approval, and these range from proposals to dig test holes to requests to conduct small scale mining operations. The price of gold makes even these small operations pretty economically exciting.

from the NWMA Newsletter

As we reported last month, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) announced their intent to prepare EISs and supplemental EISs to evaluate greater sage-grouse conservation measures in land use plans in 10 western states. The notice initiated a public scoping process to determine relevant issues relating to the conservation of the greater sage-grouse and its habitat that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis and guide the process for developing the EISs and supplemental EISs.
In response to requests from NWMA and others, the BLM and USFS granted a 45-day extension to the public comment period, which now expires on March 23, 2012.
The sage-grouse could be the \spotted owl\ on steroids for the mining industry, with severe adverse impacts on all phases of the industry. NWMA will be submitting comments with the assistance of our Public Lands and Environmental Issues Committees.
NWMA supports taking measures to avoid an
Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing for the sage-grouse, but the conservation measures proposed by the Sage-grouse National Technical Team are draconian, focusing on limiting or restricting the use of federal public lands, including mandatory withdrawal from mineral entry for core habitat areas and validity exams for pre-existing claims in those areas. It is essential the BLM and USFS develop a balanced approach to sage-grouse conservation that will avoid the negative effects such measures will have on mining, grazing and other multiple-use project proponents and local communities.
In the meantime, a federal district court judge in Idaho has ruled in favor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) 2010 determination that the sage-grouses listing as threatened or endangered was \warranted, but precluded\ due to higher priorities. In Western Watersheds Project v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Judge Winmill rejected efforts by environmental groups to immediately extend ESA protection to the sage-grouse. Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Montana had joined the FWS in defending the warranted but precluded decision.


On January 26, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) announced the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the planning rule. The USFS has been working for more than two years on a new planning rule consisting of procedures for developing, amending, and revising land management plans.
The PEIS contains a preferred alternative, which includes the same principles and underlying concepts as the proposed rule. Note that mineral and energy development are not listed among \multiple-uses.\
NWMA submitted comments, which apparently fell on deaf ears, on the proposed rule and the accompanying Draft EIS in which we cautioned that the USFS is advancing the concept of \ecological sustainability\ above all else, contrary to clear statutory mandates to manage for multiple-use and sustained yield. We also emphasized that the USFS has limited authority with respect to Mining Law activities, and the USFS should recognize areas of known mineralization in Forest Plans and ensure that Forest Plans not contain management prescriptions that prohibit or unduly restrict mineral exploration and development.
A final rule and record of decision will be issued approximately 30 days from the announcement of the PEIS. The USFS then will be developing directives to provide more specific direction on how to consistently implement the new rule.
The USFS is forming a Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) committee to provide advice on the development of the directives. NWMA will apply to serve on the FACA committee to ensure our members interests are heard.

Forest Service Reclamation Bonds-Jan Alexander
The Forest Service will be writing or calling all the miners involved in the North Fork watershed to set up a time to review their reclamation bonds. You might think that since you have a bond through EOMA you are already covered. But this is not the way it works.
The bonds I have seen range from $4,000-$8,000 on top of the amount you are covered for in your EOMA bond. One of the bonds I reviewed last fall required the miner to return the land to what the Forest Service thought the land looked like 100 years ago. In this miner’s case, there simply was no material on this historically mined site to bring the land up to what the Forest Service thought were the historic “normal land contours”. And of course, this is totally unreasonable. Your reclamation bond covers only the ground disturbance that you do. Sometimes government people have a misconception about what the regulations require. And sometimes they don’t understand how equipment is operated and how bonds are calculated.

How Can I Keep my Bond Reasonable and Affordable?
When you are contacted by the Forest Service, make sure you request a copy of your bond calculation in writing, so you can look at how the Forest Service calculated your bond before you go in to meet with them. If you want, a member of the EOMA bonding committee will go over your Plan of Operation and the bond that the Forest Service thinks is needed. We want to be sure the bond accurately reflects how you explore and mine and how you reclaim. Also, if you want, a member of the bond committee will sit down with you and the Forest Service when you discuss the bond amount.
Your Plan of Operation will not be Approved Until you Post Bond-Jan Alexander
If the District Ranger determines that your proposed Plan of Operation is likely to cause significant surface disturbance, before he or she approves your Plan, that ranger will require that you post a reclamation bond in an amount that is sufficient to cover the cost of the government hiring a third party contractor to bring in equipment and do the job. The bond will not be based on using your equipment or even a neighboring miner’s equipment. The government is required under the regulations to use a bonded licensed contractor, and these are the costs that will be reflected in your bond amount.
The Forest Service will give each miner a time period in which the bond must be posted. If the amount of the bond required is more than you want to post, it may be possible to change or scale back your operation (smaller test holes or mining excavation, process at another location, etc). If you find yourself in this type of situation, a member of the bonding committee can help you work with the Forest Service to reduce the bond amount. In order to work under your Plan of Operation, you must post the required bond. The amount of the bond is an appealable decision.
The Calendar is better than last years and at the same price. So order your calendar now for the price of $7.50 each, or three for $21 bucks, plus a buck each for shipping. There is an order form in the back of the newsletter. If you’re using an old newsletter order form just mark out the 2011 and put in 2012 calendar.....
Miners who Submitted Plans of Operation after the NF EIS was Written-Jan Alexander
If you submitted a POO and it was too late to include in the NFBR analysis, be sure to let Ranger Tomac know. Your Plan may have been filed away and they may have forgotten that you submitted it. The EIS covers the whole watershed. If a miner has submitted a POO describing an operation that is similar to those approved under the EIS, the new operation can tier to the EIS. Theoretically, it should be a swift process to approve these additional Plans.

Baker Field Office of BLM-RMP Comment Period Extended-by Jan Alexander

Baker BLM has extended the period for comments to March 23, 2012. In further reading of this document, there are several minerals related problems. The economic analysis talks about the .3 percent mining employment number for Baker County, which is clearly inaccurate. Ash Grove Cement is Baker County’s largest mining employer with 116 employees in 2006, and the company has 19 unpatented BLM mining claims. According to Mark Ferns, retired Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries geologist, the clay mining on the BLM supports the cement making and should be counted for these 116 Baker County employees. Other gold mining companies such as Mineral Valley, Three Valleys, Western Mine Development and High Bar Mining all employ crew, buy equipment, fuel and supplies and support many mining related jobs. Add to this the hundreds of small scale miners in exploration, and the miners who have submitted full scale mining Plans of Operation for their BLM claims and are waiting for approval to mine on public lands.
Other areas of concern are the proposed mineral withdrawals in mineralized areas. According to Mark Ferns, when the Interpretive Center was first proposed, BLM assured the public, Baker County and the Department of Geology that the center would not adversely impact future mineral development in the Virtue Flat area. Mark stated “the proposed withdrawal could be viewed as a duplicitous act that reinforces feelings that the Federal Government simply cannot be trusted”. The White Swan Mine and the Hunt Mountain area, where patented mining claims exist in the middle of the proposed withdrawal areas, will also negatively affect Baker County minerals development. BLM has a set of regulations that are adequate to administer mining operations, even in sensitive areas. BLM is required by law to comply with the Mineral Policy Act of 1970 which requires that they facilitate the orderly development of the minerals resource. The RMP ignores this law. BLM clearly overlooked a few essentials in writing this RMP. In addition, if the proposed withdrawals are pursued, the direct cost to Government will be considerable. Each withdrawal takes approval by Congress, and each takes the full time work of a certified mineral examiner to conduct validity exams for existing mining claims and write the mineral report to back up the need for the withdrawal.

You can pick up the RMP (three volume set) at the Baker Field Office or you can request a CD. Comments must be back to BLM by March 23, 2012. You must make comments to participate in what is included in the final RMP.
Froth Flotation Tailings are Not Hazardous Waste-Jan Alexander
There are a lot of hard rock properties in Northeast Oregon that can be economically developed now that the price of gold has hit over $1,700 an ounce. Not all ores are amenable to simple gravity separation, and the majority of ores require froth flotation milling methods. I have heard several times from miners that Oregon DEQ considers rock tailings from hardrock milling using a froth flotation process to be “toxic” or “hazardous” waste.

So I asked DEQ about froth flotation. Rich Duval informed me that what I had been told was not correct. He stated,” froth flotation is a beneficiation process exempted from being a hazardous waste [40CFR 261.4(b)(7)]”. DEQ requires an individual WPCF (water pollution control facility permit), and tailings would have to be monitored for PH and to see if heavy metals still remain, but if tailings are neutral, and are free of heavy metals, they can be landfilled, used in various reclamation projects, covered with soil and vegetated, or pumped back in slurry form underground to stabilize stopes and underground workings
Mining Companies Looking at Northeast Oregon-by Jan Alexander

If you had a chance to read the Baker newspapers last week, you saw that there are two companies looking hard at Baker County minerals properties. Ironside Mining is looking into remining the Sumpter dredge tailings located on private land, County land and on the National Forest. Other companies have proposed doing this in the past, but the price of gold was a lot lower then. Also proposed, is Marathon Gold’s placer and lode mining operation at the Bonanza Mine, near Greenhorn. This is all patented land; however, surrounding the Bonanza are many unpatented mining claims with similar potential.
The Forest Service should be getting prepared for a lot of mining this summer. Mining properties in the North Fork Burnt River and Granite watersheds are changing hands, and these miners most likely will not want to wait years to get the minerals they paid for out of the ground. Since these new people own the minerals on an unpatented piece of ground, they think the Forest Service should approve their Plans of Operation in a timely manner, and they should have the right to mine. I could not agree more. The Forest Service needs to reprioritize their thinking and get the Plans of Operation that they have been sitting on for all these years approved ASAP.
The remainder of the inventory of the 2011 medallions has been sold. If you missed out on a 2011 and need one, contact Chuck Chase or Ken Alexander since there are five extra medallions in the EOMA’S collection, subject to sale at the board’s discretion. The 2012 medallions are the same high quality with real gold nuggets in the pan. These medallions are currently selling for $50 apiece plus $5 shipping, handling, and insurance. Due to the volatility of the silver market, these prices are subject to change. If you want a 2012 medallion, you can order one from the EOMA website, or send in $50 plus $5.00, to EOMA, Medallions, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814, or call Ken Alexander, 541-446-3413. Time is running out to get the $5 off coupon on a silver medallion when you buy a raffle ticket on the ½ pound of gold drawing to be held March 25.
Reward posters will be available at the March Meeting
The Eastern Oregon Mining Association $1000 reward posters are printed on laminated poster board. Putting these up on your mining site may give the thieves second thoughts about stealing your equipment. The posters will sell for $2.50 each and will be available at the next meeting..... Chuck

Right to Associate and the Case against DEQ-by Guy Michael
Who’d believe EOMA’s Case against DEQ would involve arguments over our First Amendment rights to associate? Yes, you read it right. We have been working our way through the discovery portion before we go to trial. We asked DEQ for documents relating to several questions about how it made decisions concerning the Clean Water Act and the700 PM permit. By subpoena DEQ has had to respond.
The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) must defend DEQ and has also subpoenaed EOMA. The first three requests for documents were not relevant to our case against DEQ’s permit, because EOMA does not document current mining of its members or historic mining nor of those that suction dredge. The fourth question was relevant, because they are asking for documentation that would support why we could make the statement in our complaint that suction dredging does no harm to the environment and may do it some good.
We decided to submit several years of EOMA newsletters, because this is the only documentation we would have that would be close to responsive to membership mining and what streams this might occur in. We are trying to be cooperative, however, the DOJ wrote back that they also requested EOMA’s membership list, so that they could determine by deposition those that match their list of permittees of which streams in Oregon they suction dredge in, or have mined in, in the past.
They claim that this is in order to investigate harm or good to the stream environment by any suction dredging. We gave the inch and now DEQ/DOJ wants to take the mile. So we have decided to make our stand that this is harassment, because EOMA members are not on trial, it is the permit and DEQ decisions that are.
As a result, our lawyer has sent an amended response that we object because the request for the list of members will not lead to the production of relevant evidence concerning the lawfulness of the permit. Also, DEQ cannot sustain the lawfulness of its permit by reference to whatever facts in might discover about suction dredge mining by particular EOMA members; it is the permit not EOMA members that is on trial.
There’s more, DEQ already possesses a list with contact information for all permitted suction dredge miners and we believe that there is no legitimate purpose in singling out EOMA members for further examination. The request threatens the First Amendment interest of EOMA and its members, and has the effect, if not intent, of harassing EOMA and its members.
We have been collecting scientific studies for years now and many of them were commissioned by various government agencies (both State and Federal). Every year a new one pops up and the reports keep coming back affirming our statement that any effects from dredging are short term (de minimus) and even improve the stream habitat.
The advertising listings are only $1 per month to get your ad listed below. Send your ad to: EOMA, Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814 along with your remittance for each month you want us to run your ad and we will take care of the rest. The number next to your ad is how many months your ad will run. .

A 4 or 6 Inch dredge system mounted on a 20 X 8 pontoon boat. Located near Glenn’s Ferry, Idaho. $5,000 or $3,500 for pontoon boat/motor/ trailer (without dredge system). Dredge system is designed for recovery of very fine gold. Also a DYNA-MILL Impact Mill Located near Sumpter, Oregon. $2,000. Call Johnny West at: (208) 385-0950, Boise, Idaho

Hard rock and placer mine, good gold, located off the Auburn Road. Year around water, ponds, roads, log cabin, mill building, crusher, ball mill. Old shafts and tunnels abound the property. For more information call: 541-523-9107.

For More Information Call Miles Mitchell At (541) 672-1592
* Diamond Drill complete with 500 feet of drill rod, Perkins Diesel power.
* Three cylinder diesel engine, Ford 1900.
* A ship fire, high pressure pump, powered by a 6 cylinder diesel engine, ideal for placer mining.* Stearns cross belt gold magnetic separator, recovers fine gold from concentrates.
* Five cubic yard International dump truck.
* Four cylinder industrial diesel engine.
* One cubic yard cement mixer, on wheels, has gas engine.
* Jagear twin diaphragm air mine pump 2 inch.
* Ingersol Rand air tugger, 4 cylinder, with steel cable.
* Four cylinder Lee Roy gas industrial engine.
* Joy diamond drill mounted on skid frame, needs engine.
* Steel housed gear reducer with inlet and outlet shafts.
* Six cylinder Dodge engine with cable drum mounted on skid frame, ideal for shaft sinking.
* 60 cfm gas air compressor on wheels, with tow Bar.

Four placer claims, each 160 acres in size, along almost five miles of the North Fork Burnt River. Claims are accessed via a gravel surface County road. These claims are great for suction dredging and/or high banking. The Forest Service Plan of Operation for use of a backhoe should be approved this season. The price is $6,000 per claim, or buy all four for $22,000. If you are interested, call Jan Alexander at 541-446-3413.