Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20180504

MAY 2018
Volume 344

Meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting will be Friday, MAY 4th, 2018 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. As usual there will be a drawing for a $50 silver medallion at the meeting!

Don Gonzales, Vale District Manager for BLM, will be our guest speaker at the May 4, 2018, EOMA meeting. He will give us an update on what is happening with mining on BLM. Don always gives a good presentation, and we appreciate his efforts to keep miners informed. Miners are encouraged to bring any questions they have about mining issues on BLM.

Jeff Tomac, District Ranger for the Whitman District of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, is leaving to take a new position of Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Deer Lodge National Forest in Montana. He told the participants at the Round Table discussion on April 10, 2018, that he had only two weeks left before he took the new job.

The Forest is looking for a new Ranger. Someone will be assigned as an Acting District Ranger until the new ranger is hired. The WWNF is rich in minerals. Access to prospect and develop these minerals is going to be an important factor in the future. We are looking forward to working with a new ranger who has had some experience in locatable minerals.
The following is Tom Griffins’ appeal of Ranger Jeff Tomac’s decision letter of April 5, 2018. The Forest Service wants to take Tom’s bond, prohibit access and remove the county bridge using Tom’s money. The Forest Service cited the wrong CFRs in their Non-Compliance Notice, has the wrong date for their direction letter, has the wrong creek that the bridge spans, and makes other mistakes that shows inattention to the facts of the matter.

Appeal Point #1: I am appealing District Ranger Jeff Tomac’s April 5, 2018, decision letter (Exhibit #1) where it states that I am in noncompliance with 36CFR261.10(b). My agent looked up this CFR and found out that it prohibits “Construction, reconstructing, improving, maintaining, occupying or using a residence on National Forest System lands unless authorized by a special-use authorization or approved operating plan when such authorization is required”. The Forest Service is fully aware that I have never occupied on my claims. My wife and I always stay nearby on private land when we are mining. This threat makes no sense at all. If I had known what this CFR was prohibiting, I would have brought it up in my appeal of August 22, 2017, but I was not familiar with the CFRs and it never occurred to me that the Forest Service was concerned with my living in a residence on site.
Resolution: I am requesting the Forest Service drop this non-compliance. I never have constructed, reconstructed, improved, maintained or occupied a residence on National Forest system lands.

Appeal Point #2: I am also appealing Ranger Jeff Tomac’s April 5, 2018, decision that I adhere to his August 2, 2018, letter direction. Since I have not yet received this letter, I cannot be bound by any future direction.
Resolution: I am requesting that Ranger Tomac drop this non-compliance based on future direction.

Appeal Point #3: I am also appealing Ranger Tomac’s April 5, 2018, decision that “it would not be prudent for the Forest to review your POO without reasonably incident and logically sequenced access across Eagle Creek”. First, the creek is not Eagle Creek. The bridge spans East Eagle Creek. Second, the bridge is a county bridge. The Baker County Road Department will send you their evaluation of the bridge. It would not be prudent for me to do this since it is a county bridge. Since the bridge is in place, no consultation will be needed for miners and the general public to
drive across it. And third, since the bridge is in place, the POO should be reviewed because “reasonably incident and logically sequenced access” exists.

Resolution: Review the Plan of Operation, Reclamation Plan and Monitoring Plan.
Appeal Point #4: I am also appealing the decision in Ranger Tomac’s April 5, 2018 letter that I cannot use the East Eagle Creek road and bridge to access my claims. The bridge is a part of the County road system and the Forest Service has no right to prohibit my use of this access route into my claims.
Resolution: Talk with Baker County and resolve this issue. The road and bridge are part of a county road.

Appeal Point #5: I am also appealing Ranger Jeff Tomac’s decision in his April 5, 2018, letter sent to me, that Mr. Dennis and other miners, as well as myself, are prohibited from using the bridge. First, this makes no sense at all. Miners, who have a statutory right to access, are being prohibited from crossing the bridge, but not the recreating public. Second, why would you inform me that Mr. Dennis and all other miners would also be prohibited. It is not my responsibility to inform these miners, this appears to be a misguided Forest Service issue.
Resolution: I am requesting that Ranger Tomac read the mining law, and court cases concerning mining access. Miners have a statutory right to access. In this case, Ranger Tomac’s decision that miners can’t use the bridge, but it’s OK for the recreating public (which is a discretionary activity) is completely contrary to the law.

Appeal Rights: This letter from District Ranger Tomac did not include my appeal rights. I believe I have a right to appeal any decision that adversely affects me, including this alleged non-compliance, denial of my statutory right to access, and denial of my Plan of Operation. I am appealing District Ranger Tomac’s decisions under 36CFR part 214.4(b)(2).

Please consider each of my appeal points and the resolutions I have proposed. Before the Forest Service sends me any more certified letters, they need to (1) check which CFRs they are referencing, (2) know which road they are talking about (3) meet with the county to resolve the road and bridge issue (4) understand and adhere to the mining law and miners’ statutory right to access (5)understand their obligation to at least read the Plan of Operation/ Reclamation Plan which they required that I submit.

Please reverse Mr. Tomac’s decision that I am in non-compliance with occupancy in a residence, or reclamation or access or anything else. I really do need your help here, Supervisor Montoya. I have tried to comply with everything the Forest Service has asked of me. I would like to work with the Forest Service and County to resolve these issues.

Sincerely, Tom Griffin
Present for the Roundtable were Chuck Chase, Jan Alexander, Ken Alexander, Don Johnson, Terry Drever-Gee EOMA; Bill Harvey, Doni Bruland, Baker County; Tom Montoya, Jeff Tomac, Ray Lovisone, Robert Macon, Forest Service; Steve Flock, Sarah Doyle, Marc Pierce Baker BLM; Don Gonzales, Andrea Bowen, Jennifer Theisen, Vale BLM, and guest Mark Ferns.

Andrea gave an update on the Grassy Mountain project. It is proceeding slowly. BLM has requested additional information on the projects, and the company has not yet responded. Teague Minerals has submitted a plan amendment that BLM is working on.

BLM must complete an EIS within one year of publishing in the Federal Register. There is no timeframe for EAs but they expect to complete these within a year also. There is a 30-page limit on EAs and 150-page limit on EISs.

Don reported the BLM and ODF are counting sage grouse. The proposed 10-million-acre withdrawal has been dropped.

The Forest Service has positions open nationwide, and about 80% of positions on the Wallowa-Whitman are filled. One position that needs to be filled is the district ranger job, since Jeff Tomac will be leaving for the Deer Lodge National Forest in two weeks. An acting district ranger will fill the ranger position until a new ranger can be hired in two to three months.

The Forest Service is also under fire to get their NEPA documents completed in a timely manner. There will be some new CE options, but not for mining. A “fire fix” with money being held to fight wild fire, will ensure funds are not taken from other disciplines.

Chuck Chase talked about mining districts. He said seven were organized. Each had requested coordination with the Forest Service six months ago, but the Forest Service did not reply. Tom Montoya said he would look into this.

The Forest Service said they had two priorities in mining (1) to work with the miners (2) complete the Powder EIS. The Powder EIS should have a draft out in July. There was a discussion about errors in the scoping document for the Powder EIS. Jeff stated that there would be no changes. However, Jan read a portion of the scoping letter that was signed by Jeff, and in his letter, he asked the miners to make any needed changes. Jan assured him the miners would do so. It is important that miners read and understand the scoping document sent out to them. Many mistakes and changes from the submitted plans have been noted.
The last topic of discussion at the Round Table concerned the problem with the Forest Service not recognizing Limited Power of Attorneys. Ken read a letter signed by Jeff Tomac in 2012, which stated that Jeff had contacted the Forest Service Attorney’s Office, and found that designating an agent was legal. The letter outlined the process for miners to designate an agent. Ken asked, “why was the process ok in 2012 and now not ok?” Jeff said he had changed his mind about recognizing an agent. Ken read from a court case that stated power of attorneys are legally binding, and a bureaucrat could be personally sued for ignoring this legal document. Dan suggested the Forest Service work to find a solution to this problem. Tom Montoya said he would look into it.

When a miner files a Plan of Operation, an area where testing and mining will take place must be identified as the “project area”. If you have a 20 acre claim, but only 12 acres are minable, with the rest steep hillside, you might propose a 12 acre “project area”.

The “project area” is the portion of your claim that the agency specialists in hydrology, fisheries, wildlife, soil and archaeology will check over, and write reports on. Once the Plan is approved, the miner can test and mine anywhere within this area. The exception would be if there was an archaeological site that had to be protected or other sensitive area.

Within this 12 acre “project area”, a miner may propose testing during the first phase of the operation in small increments, say 20’X30’X10’. The Plan would stipulate that only one, or only two trenches would be open at a given time. The bond would be based on one or two small trenches open at a given time. The bond should be based on the area disturbed before reclamation, and not the whole project area.

When minable values are located, the miner needs to inform the Forest Service, increase the bond, and increase the size of the excavation for mining. Most small scale operations mine in ¼ or ½ acre increments, with reclamation ongoing with the mining. As with exploration, mining must take place within the project area. Again, the miner would only be bonded for the size of the mining area open at a given time, not for the entire 12 acres.

The Forest Service has led a few miners to believe their reclamation bond would have to be for the entire 12 acre “project area”. This is not true. Miners who practice ongoing reclamation can move their bond to the next excavation site without going to the Forest Service. It is only when the operation moves from exploration in small increments to mining, that the Forest Service must be notified and the bond increased, or if the project area needs to be expanded.
EOMA supports Bill Harvey for County Commissioner. As County Chair, he has worked with the surrounding counties, and has worked with BLM, establishing a good working relationship with that agency. He has also tried to work with the Forest Service, however, this has been a difficult task. Bill meets regularly with them, explaining how their Forest Plan must meet the goals of the Baker County Natural Resources Plan. He has invoked coordination on many forest projects. Right now, the Forest Service is trying to close the East Eagle Creek County road, remove the bridge, and prevent mining access, along with access by the recreating public. Bill is working to ensure this does not happen. Reelect Bill. He is good for Baker County.

If you are thinking of locating a new claim, or quit-claiming to another miner, the fee for recording one page will go from $41 to $81. The additional $40 is collected by the county and sent to the state to support the Housing Alliance Tax. Annual assessment work Proof of Labor forms are exempt from the increased fees.
If you have information or interesting articles about mining items to share in the newsletter send them to Ken Alexander, alxk@ortelco.net, Chuck Chase CHASE3285@msn.com or Jan Alexander alx@ortelco.net . Be sure to indicate the source of information you send.

There is no gold nugget in the pan in the 2018 medallions. Since NWTM is out of business, we are looking at our options for finding an affordable mint to make next year’s medallions.
The medallions 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. Also, we will have them for you to buy at our EOMA meetings.

Eastern Oregon Mining Association now has a Facebook page. For those of you who use Facebook, check it out. For those of you who don't, it may be time to learn!
Sign in, and come learn, add your suggestions, and get to know other miners.

The Oregon Mining Association is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting mining and the mineral industry in Oregon. The corporation is supported by donations. Please send what you can to save mining in Oregon to Oregon Mining Association, P.O. Box 23213, Tigard, OR 97281-They have both a website and facebook page: http://oregonmining.org/



For Sale
1. Multi Quip 3/8 yard cement mixer Model MC-94P with Honda 8 hp motor. It has a polyurethane drum and is on a single axel for easy towing. It is an ex Home Depot rental unit. Asking $1,500.00. Call Jack at 208-284-5882 (Boise)

2. Syntron Magnetic Vibrator Model V-50-01. This is a fairly husky unit that bolts on to bine, chutes where material being fed does not flow smoothly. I used it to move material out of bins and chutes. It is single phase and draws 4.5 amps.

3. Krebs Hydrocyclones, 1 Model D4 and 1 Model D6, which I used to thicken my fine tailings. I have specs and installation instructions from Krebs. Asking $250.00 each. Call Jack at 208-284-5882 (Boise)

4. Portable 2 inch Water pump with 3.5hp Honda gas engine. $100.00. Call Jack at 208-284-5882 (Boise)

5. Sample Splitters, one with 22 slots, 3/4 inch wide, @ $150.00; and one with 12 slots, 5/8 inch wide, @$100.00.

6. Transformer,480/240/120 volt, 3phase or single phase. $150.00. Call Jack at 208-284-5882 (Boise)

7. S+S Controls Heavy Duty Motor Starter, 3 phase, 480 /220 volt. Rated for motor horsepower up to 55 horse. $350.00. Call Jack at 208-284-5882 (Boise)

8. Wilden 1 1/2 inch Chemical Solution Polyethylene Pump Model M4/Pt/Tf/Tf/Pt s/n 364361. New condition, never used. Air driven. $500.00. Call Jack at 208-284-5882 (Boise)

9. Portable Hopper-Feeder, 20 yard capacity with 30” variable speed discharge conveyor belt, built on heavy duty sled. Will straddle an 8 foot wide lowboy deck for transport. See at Double “W” Baker City. Call 541-523-6000 ask for Kevin or Call Jack at 208-284-5882 (Boise)

10. Onan 75kw Generator, older but with very low hours. Recently installed updated exciter circuit. $6,500.00. Call Jack at 208-284-5882 (Boise).

Looking for someone mechanically inclined to learn and run a hard rock gold mill. One may be available for scrap price. Time to pass on the technology and know-how. Need a younger working partner and gold ore to run. Dr. Thom: tseal@unr.edu

Ed Hardt is selling his placer mining equipment. Ed's trommel is 20 feet long, 5 feet in diameter, gear driven, positive drive. It will process up to 100 yards a day, will not slip or spin out. Also one three inch pump, a two inch pump, two and three inch flat hose, and a generator. Call 541-377-9209 or email Ed at twohardts@hotmail.com. Price for all is $15,000.

5 unpatented placer claims (160 acres) located on Elk Creek near Baker City.
Sale includes all equipment (2 excavators, dump truck, trommel, pumps, generators, etc).
Site was featured on the cover of ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal (August 2014).
Approved Plan of Operation with US Forest Service in place and can be transferred (expires 2021)
DEQ process permit goes with the sale of the claims. For price, pictures and details, call Don Enright, 509-860-1145 or email:  donaldenright25@gmail.com

4 unpatented placer claims (Simpson is 80 acres, Lucky claims total 60 acres) located in the Whitney Mining District on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. These claims have approved Plans of Operation and I have posted the bonds for mining. The DEQ process permit goes with the sale. Access roads are good, but the claims are somewhat remote. Call Dave at 810-523-7313.

This claim is located on McCully Creek on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest just west of the town of Sumpter. Good access, off-channel water is available for processing. DEQ process permit goes with the sale of the claim. Plan of Operation is scheduled to be approved for 2019 work. Call Charles Stewart at 541-910-5435 for more information.

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 call at (831) 479-1500 to get your subscription started today.