Eastern Oregon Mining Association
Eastern Oregon Mining Association
Serving the mineral industries
Featured Article · All Articles · Rants & Raves · EOMA Newsletters

« Previous Page :: EOMA » Newsletters » Newsletter NEWS694C

- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20160631

JUNE 2016
Volume 321

Meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting will be Friday, JUNE 3, 2016 at the Baker City Hall. The building is located at 1st and Auburn Streets in Baker City. The Board meeting starts at 6:00 PM. The general meeting starts at 6:30 PM.

Everyone is welcome to attend these meetings. There is time for discussing mining and getting to know other miners. The mining season is underway and some people are mining. There should be a story or two. As usual there will be a drawing for a $50 silver medallion at the meeting!

Don Gonzales will be our guest speaker at the June 3, 2016 EOMA meeting. Don will update the miners on what is happening on BLM, and answer questions about BLM projects.

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT- Quit-Claiming Association Claims
I have more information on the changes at BLM concerning association placer claims. It used to be acceptable for one or more of the locators on an association placer claim, to quit claim their interest back to another miner whose name was listed on the claim as a locator. Now, if one of the locators no longer wants to be involved in the claim, the claim location notice must be amended with BLM, letting 20 acres of the claim go, or the miner who no longer wants to be involved in the claim, must quit claim their portion to another miner not originally involved with the claim. In simple terms, there must always be one locator for every 20 acres of an association placer claim.
In the event of a death, the percent of the claim owned by the miner who died would be inherited by a spouse or the miner's children. The difficult thing is getting everyone to sign the small miner waiver form each year. BLM doesn’t make it easy, so miners end up paying fees or losing the claims. In other words, be aware that association claim transfers, as well as other paperwork required by the BLM involving ownership of a mining claim is not a simple procedure.

Miners have been advised by the Forest Service, that after they purchase a claim with a pending or approved Plan of Operation, they need to make an appointment with Forest Service Minerals Technician, Ray Lovisone, so he can meet the new claim owners and make sure that both the miner and the Forest Service understand what is being proposed. When the claim is purchased, the Forest Service would like a statement from the former mine owner that interest has been transferred and the former claimant no longer has an interest in the claim or the Plan of Operation.

When a claim is located, if the former owner will sign a statement that they no longer have an interest in the claim or the Plan, that makes it easier for the Forest Service. However, when the former owner is not available (death, moved away, etc.) the transfer can still occur.

Plans of Operation which have already been through the analysis, such as those in the North Fork Burnt River or Granite Watersheds, require that the Forest Service go through the Plan submitted by the new owner to be certain that everything being proposed is the same as was in the Plan that was analyzed. Once the plans have been compared, and there are no changes, then the miner will receive a letter from the Forest Service with the stipulations (Exhibit A) for the miner to sign, and the Forest Service will request that the bond be posted.

With BLM, the procedure is simpler. Miners submit a change of operator form signed by the prior claim owner/operator and signed by the new claimant, for both notices and plans. The new miner posts the bond, the former miner gets his bond released. If claims were dropped, and relocated by a new miner, the notice or Plan would be reviewed like it was a new submittal. If the new miner posts the bond, the former miner would get his bond money back.

The American Stewards of Liberty are combating the slowly encroaching squeeze of the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM is taking away mining rights and privileges that we have enjoyed since the mining law was enacted. In the last few years the BLM has slid through in the Federal Register numerous restrictions on claim owners, and changes to the handbook have affected all of us. Now, if you have a 160 acre Association claim, when you sell it, you have to have eight buyers, or one for every 20 acres.

The latest in a long series of BLM Federal Register sneak-in rules, the BLM came out with a 2.0 planning rule. At first glance it looked fine, but at a closer look it watered down the “coordination” process. I guess too many western counties were invoking coordination to try and curb the Federal overreach on our public lands. Thank heavens for watchdog agencies such as American Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA) and American Stewards of Liberty (ASL). The American Stewards of Liberty has been building its base, adding counties and resource organizations and opposing the BLM 2.0 rule. The Eastern Oregon Mining Association has joined in this fight, along with Forest Access for All and Baker County. These organizations all support American Stewards of Liberty litigation in opposition to this newest Federal overreach.

LAST MSHA TRAINING FOR 2016 June 10,11,12
If you or someone you know needs new miner training, it will be held June 10,11,12, 2016, at the Baker Truck Corral starting at 8:00AM each day. The class will be held in the banquet room. If you missed your annual refresher, you can get that by attending just one day, on Saturday, June 11. Ed Sinner will be the instructor The cost is $20 per day, with EOMA members receiving a discount. Call Jan Alexander at 541-446-3413 for information.

As stated in the last newsletter, the Forest Service was very helpful in correcting errors that miners pointed out to them in the Draft Record of Decision. No one, miners or Forest Service, wanted to go through the lengthy objection process, and because of this close communication, no objections had to be filed by the miners.

Even though the objection period ended May 2, and there were no objections, the Final Record of Decision will not be signed by Ranger Ian Reed and Ranger Jeff Tomac until June 13, or shortly thereafter. All miners with Plans of Operation in this watershed will need to get with Chris Helberg of the Umatilla National Forest to go over their bond amount, sign a set of stipulations that will be attached to their Plans of Operation, and get the paperwork for posting their reclamation bonds.

Bonds can be posted with cash or by setting up an assignment of deposit at the bank. Miners are encouraged to get their bonds posted ASAP so they do not miss the 2016 mining season.

MINERS JUBILEE JULY 15, 16, 17 2016
Meetings with the Jubilee Committee are down to every two weeks, as the third Friday in July closes in on us. Preparations are under way to make this event a crowd pleaser.

As with every year since the start of Miners Jubilee back in 1982, the EOMA has hosted the Oregon Miners Gold Panning Championships and the Kids Gold Panning tubs. Ash Grove is sponsoring the cash prizes for the Oregon Gold Panning Championships. Over the years, a couple of organizations have tried to hijack the Oregon Miners Gold Panning Championships name, but we got that stopped by filing a Trade Mark with the State of Oregon to protect it from being taken away from us.

Anyone who wants to set up a mining booth on Grove Street along-side ours may do so at no cost. The EOMA will pick up the insurance for all mining venders. Give Chuck a call to reserve your space at 541-523-3285. We miners need to keep a large public presence and promote our industry.
Please go through your shop, garage or back yard and see if you can find some items to donate for our silent auction. Mining related items are great, such as tools, hoses, fire equipment but anything else you don't need might be something someone else needs! This is our one fund raiser for the year, help us make it successful! You can drop off items at Chuck Chase’s house, 740 Valley Avenue, here in Baker City. Chuck's phone number is 541-523-3285.
“A new version of SB 1530 will appear in the 2017 legislative session, which begins in January. Like SB 1530, we suspect the bill will seek to limit or ban both instream and upland mining. In addition, proponents have indicated that they will consider filing a ballot measure to ban instream mining in Oregon. The instream mining debate will not go away."

Because of this threat, and the problems with the current law SB838, OMA's plan is to file their lawsuit in Grant County Circuit Court in June. Miners in the Granite Watershed, even those who will be getting approved Plans of Operation, will be at risk of enforcement by the State Police because of the current law, SB838. Analysis by the Forest Service in the Granite Watershed Mining Projects EIS has shown that Plans of Operation that will be approved do not run a risk of impacting water quality. That is good for the miners who want to mine, but still the state law says mining is prohibited if there is a "removal or disturbance of streamside vegetation in a manner that may impact water quality". That statement is so vague that it could be open to interpretation.

Scott Horngren, the attorney for OMA, has an excellent case to go forward with. His case is an "applied challenge" addressing supremacy, property rights and the constitution. Miners in the Granite Watershed should be paying close attention.

All miners with WPCF settling pond permits should note that these permits expire in January 2017. Everyone will need to apply for a new permit for the 2017 season and beyond.

DEQ is working on the new permits, which are not yet available. It may be that all permits will be non-mobile permits, tied to one specific process site. Miners with several claims, or those who prospect in different areas, may need multiple permits. One idea DEQ discussed was mobile permits for hand operators, and stationary permits for those miners who use mechanized equipment.

EOMA will keep miners informed about when the new application for permit is available later on this summer or fall.

You may have been following PLP's articles in the ICMJ concerning mining districts, Miners Making the Rules and Regulations. According to PLP, the existing Federal Mining law gives a claimholder the ability to make the actual rules and regulations governing mining in their district.
We are talking about the original districts dating back to the 1860s. Each district had an area of mines that the district covered, and each district had a set of by-laws governing mining within that district.

There is a push by PLP and many miners to form these districts again as a means of dealing with the BLM and Forest Service when regulations are enforced in an arbitrary manner. The overreach in regulating the small scale miner has almost brought the industry to its knees.
ROUNDTABLE-Jan Alexander
The last Round Table was held on April 27, 2016, at the Baker County Courthouse. Don Gonzales, Vale BLM District Manager, started the discussion explaining that the greater sage grouse population in Baker County has dropped to the point that a "hard trigger" point was reached, meaning BLM must conduct additional activities to ensure the population comes back. One huge problem is that an environmental group, Blue Mountain Biodiversity, has challenged the BLM use of herbicides within the area that burned last year. BLM would like to eliminate medusa head rye and cheat grass and replace these with bunchgrasses, but without herbicide treatments, this will not be possible. Fire and noxious weeds are the main threats to sage grouse.

Don also talked about the Malheur Monument, the partnership with Malheur County, BLM, the citizens and the Eagle Mine to rebuild the mine access road. He also talked about the BLM Planning 2.0, and the fact that it would not affect coordination. BLM is on target on analysis of Plans of Operation with both the Don J and True claims being worked on.

Jeff Tomac, Wallowa-Whitman District Ranger, told the group the Forest Service would be getting the go-ahead to treat noxious weeds. He stated that even though the Hallelujah Mine has been on the SOPA for many years, the Forest Service had not yet visited the site to do environmental studies. Jeff said he would see if the small projects team of specialists could "slip Hallelujah in" while working on the Powder EIS. Jeff said he received extra funding from the Region to do the field work and analysis for the Powder Mining Projects.

The Buck Gulch Road was discussed. Jeff said he would meet with Gary Murrhee to find out his concerns. Jeff said this old wagon road is "not historical". Bill Harvey stated that he and Jeff would get out and look at the road condition together.

Don Gonzales reported that Calico had merged with another company. Mining underground will be on private land, while the ten acres of process site will be on BLM. He stated that groundwater may become an issue.

The Eastern Oregon Mining & Aggregate Development Summit was held at the Events Center in Baker on April 26, 2016. It was well attended with miners, consultants and agency personnel. The Summit provided ample time for discussions and interaction with other miners. Brad Avy, the new Director of DOGAMI, got a chance to hear from miners about their views on the agency and whether it would be advantageous to move the agency to Portland. Avy stated that he had not made the decision, but thought DOGAMI would be "unlikely to move" from Albany. He wants to fill the two vacant positions, and keep his current staff.
Scott Fairly, Eastern Oregon Coordinator for Regional Solutions, Melisa Drugge from Business Oregon and Mark McMullen, Oregon State Economist talked about how poor the economies in Eastern Oregon are. Tim Barns from BLM talked about the segregation of 1.9 million acres. A mineral potential report is being written. Cliff Bentz and Ted Ferrioli spoke about mining. Forest Service and BLM regulations were discussed by these agency personnel.
Have you ever thought about the fact that the general public, who tend to view today's miners negatively, just love the history of mining? Promoting the history of mining is important. Everyone of us know stories about your area, or different miners from the past. Let's share these stories and promote our industry at the same time.
There are countless stories out there. When I worked for the Forest Service, I had the privilege of knowing a lot of the miners who have since passed on. One story I remember came from Pat Cutting, who told me about her family mine at Juniper Hill, how rich it was and what happened to her grandfather's stamp mill.

"The last year the stamp mill was operated was 1932. During the war, my grandfather was told he had to stop mining. My uncle, Henry Brown, (my father’s half brother) and a Frenchman went up to the mine every fall from 1932-1940. They would crawl into the narrow opening on the Jolly Boy and there they would dig out chunks of highgrade gold ore. The gold they mined in only a few weeks time, kept them through the winter. Because no one was on the claims during wartime, except for these short periods during the fall, the scrap dealers were able to came in and haul off the stamp mill. When my grandfather returned to the claims after the war, he found his mill had been dismantled and hauled away to support the war effort. All that remains today is the boiler; they even took the copper fittings!
If you send me your stories, I will make sure they get in the newsletter.
EOMA medallions are beautiful proof grade one ounce silver medallions with the addition of real gold “nuggets” in the pan. We still have a limited supply of previous year's medallions, as well as the gorgeous 2016 medallions. These are currently selling for $50.00 apiece plus $5.00 shipping, handling, and insurance. (Prices are subject to change). You can order yours from the EOMA website, and pay by pay-pal. Or, you can send $50 plus $5.00 shipping and handling to EOMA, Medallions, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814, or call 541-523-3285.

Eastern Oregon Mining Association now has a Facebook page. For those of you who use Facebook, check it out. There is a step by step photo display of a couple of miners who are building trommels. Sign in, and come learn, add your suggestions, and get to know other miners.

There is also a Facebook page for Oregon Mining Association. Lots of useful information can be found on these sites. It is not hard to become a user of Facebook once you get used to the idea that Facebook “friends” can have a little different meaning than what you may have thought of as “friends” as you were growing up. Facebook certainly gives you the opportunity to share info not found in the mainstream media.

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. The number next to your ad is how many months your ad will run.

Bob and I are no longer able to mine, but this is a great opportunity for someone younger than us to mine on LDMA properties, meet people interested in mining, and at the same time have some fun and get some gold. $2000.00. Also, State Highway classifier with 4 different screens, motor and pump $150. Case tractor with loader and back hoe mounted on 5th wheel trailer.  $7,500. Call 541-526-5998 or gulchgold@yahoo.com

I am recently retired, a hard worker and want to learn more about mining. I can help you get your assessment work done, or assist in the mining operation. I am not looking for money, I am looking for experience. I have my own truck and camper, and am self sufficient. Call Ray at 541-892-0933 and leave message or phone contact number.

Want to buy raw gold, looking for a couple of ounces. Contact Bob Sunderman at 541-962-5202

Wanted:  Full time caretaker for remote property about 20 miles from John Day, Oregon. Primitive, well insulated house, wood heat only, good water from spring.  Off the grid, power from gas generator if needed.  ¼ mile level driveway off county maintained road.  Must have own chain saw, 4 x 4 vehicle with chains, cut own firewood, and help with chores.  Inquire by e-mail (tseal@unr.edu) or by mail to Caretaker, PO Box 8353, Spring Creek, NV 89815.

ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal is your monthly source for news, legislation, how-to articles and more. A full year (12 issues) is still only $27.95; or get a print and online subscription for just $31.95 and get access to our last 16 years of articles online too. Published monthly since 1931. Visit us at www.icmj.com or give us a call at (831) 479-1500 to get your subscription started today.