Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20221111

Volume 398

We will have a meeting November 4th, 2022 at the Elk Creek Enterprises saw shop located at 890 Elm Street in Baker City. The Board Meeting will begin at 6:00 PM with the general meeting following at 6:30 PM. As usual we will give away a 1 oz. silver medallion at the end of the meeting.

There is an article in this newsletter about a forest Service fire boss being arrested for recklessly starting a fire on Federally managed property that got out of control and burned private property. This reminds me of what happened to ranchers Dwight and Steve Hammond. Long story, short, Hammonds were sentenced to five years in Federal prison, for arson, after starting a backfire on their private property that burned sage brush on Federally managed ground. The trial judge that heard the case, said five years in federal prison would be an unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment for the what they had done. But Federal prosecutors appealed the case to the 9th Circuit Court. They also were the ones that charged the ranchers under the “Terrorist Statute”.
In the last couple of years there have been riots in Portland, including setting fire to the Federal Courthouse, and it wasn’t considered serious enough to sentence anyone to five years in Federal prison for arson. Why do I mention this? There are numerous examples of excessive fines and punishments, applied to loggers, miners, and ranchers for the last several decades, even when little actual environmental damage was done. The court system, and the agency regulators, have acted with a double standard when it comes to enforcing various rules and laws regarding perceived environmental damages. Unfortunately, one result has been increased costs and shortages of lumber, metals, and food. These costs will remain excessively high until balance and rational application of laws and regulations is restored and applied to the natural resource industries.

BEAR VALLEY, Ore. — The leader of a U.S. Forest Service crew conducting a prescribed burn in a remote area of Grant County was arrested on charges of reckless burning after the fire spread across a containment line onto private land on Oct. 19.

Forest Service and contract employees had been conducting burn operations throughout the day on 300 acres of the Malheur National Forest about seven miles north of Seneca.

A little before 5 p.m, a spot fire was reported on private land just across the Izee-Paulina Highway from the burn area. As the fire was burning on the Holliday family's Windy Point Ranch, Grant County Sheriff Todd McKinley arrived on the scene and took Rick Snodgrass, 39, who was acting as the burn boss on the fire crew, into custody.

Snodgrass was transported to the Grant County Jail and later released. The sheriff's office said in a brief press release that it was working with the Forest Service to identify the events that led to the fire's escape and that the incident remains under investigation.
Malheur National Forest Supervisor Craig Trulock said the escaped portion of the fire on private land was contained in about an hour, with crews remaining on the scene to mop up any hotspots or flare-ups.

“They caught it with the resources they had on scene," Trulock said. "We didn't use aviation or anything. The only additional resource we brought on was (a) dozer, and that was to really secure the edge of the spot so that they could then mop it up."

Estimates of the extent of the fire on private land vary. Trulock placed the total burned acreage on private land at 18 acres, while the sheriff's office said it was approximately 20 acres. Chad Holliday of Windy Point Ranch estimated the total area at 40 acres.

Grant County District Attorney Jim Carpenter issued a press release Oct. 20 stating that he would make a decision on whether to formally file charges after the sheriff's investigation is finished.
"This case will be evaluated once the investigation is complete, and, if appropriate, Snodgrass will formally be charged. These cases rarely have a bright line and involve a number of variables to be considered," Carpenter said.

"However, to be clear, the employer and/or position of Snodgrass will not protect him if it is determined that he acted recklessly," the district attorney added. "That the USFS was engaging in a prescribed burn may actually raise, rather than lower, the standard to which Snodgrass will be held."
Dwight and Steven Hammond, father and son, were charged as terrorists under a law enacted to fight terrorism, not rein in wayward ranchers. Most of us remember that the Hammonds started a backburn to protect their private property from an approaching wildfire. While they lit the fire on their own land, it escaped and burned 139 acres of federally managed land. Hammonds put the fire out themselves.

Prescribed fire is a tool used by BLM and Forest Service to improve wildlife habitat, increase land productivity, and control wildfire. Nevertheless, Hammonds were charged with crimes laid out in the ominous-sounding 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. This legislation was passed by Congress in the wake of the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing—at the time the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Snodgrass, like Hammonds, was engaging in starting a prescribed burn, with the difference being that Hammonds were burning their own land when the fire got away, and Snodgrass was burning Federally managed land when the fire got away.

We will need to watch the proceedings with Snodgrass. He is no more a terrorist than Hammonds, as far as I can see. But there will most likely be a double standard applied-nice Forest Service employee just made a mistake, dirty old ranchers deserve prison.

The meeting will be held at Casino Resort in Sparks, NV. Ken Anderson and Dan and Louise Johnson will be attending from EOMA.
AEMA’s Annual Meeting is the second largest and longest running annual mining convention in the U.S. The AEMA Annual Meeting hosts a strong technical program; prominent, informative speakers; timely and relevant short courses; and important networking and social opportunities with industry professionals. In addition to over 100 speakers, AEMA’s Annual Meeting also hosts over 250 exhibitors and an extensive core shack.

The United States holds the largest stockpile of gold reserves in the world by a considerable margin. In fact, the U.S. government has almost as many reserves as the next three largest gold-holding countries combined (Germany, Italy, and France). Russia rounds out the top five.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is reported to have more gold reserves than Italy but less than Germany. Governments today no longer require that all of their money be backed by gold. However, they still store huge amounts of bullion to protect against hyperinflation or another economic calamity.
Based on USGS data (Annual Mineral Yearbook since 1996), U.S. foreign reliance on the minerals necessary for our standard of living has been on a very concerning trend
• In 1995, 8 minerals were 100% reliant on foreign sources; 24 minerals were 50% or greater reliant on foreign sources.
• By 2020, 17 minerals were reliant on foreign sources; 47 minerals were 50% or greater reliant on foreign sources.
• Ever increasingly, critical, and strategic minerals so very important to national security and economic needs are from China and Russia (unfriendly?) and other areas of the world with less than optimal environmental, labor, and safety practices.
China currently produces around 90 percent of the world’s output of rare earths.
The USGS Reports in their 2019-2020 annual mineral reports:
• The US produced no chrome and Kazakhstan, South Africa and Turkey produced 76.6%.
• The US only produced 0.36% of cobalt and the Congo (Kinshasa) produced 71.4%.
• The US produced no magnesium and China produced 81.8%
• The US produced no manganese and South Africa produced 29%, China 6.8%.
• The US only produced 15.2% of molybdenum and China produced 44.8%.
• The US produced no tantalum and the Congo (Kinshasa) produced 41.1%, 0.56% China.
• The US only produced 0.64% of vanadium and China produced 54.8%.
Thus, the US depends on foreign countries, often unstable or hostile, for our factories, military, national defense, and our modern lifestyle.

Blues Intergovernmental Council (BIC) will host a series of what they call “public engagement sessions”. Baker’s meeting is scheduled for November 2, 2022 at the High School small gym from 6:00-8:00PM.

Baker County is standing firm that our County will accept no new road closures under the new Forest Plan. The BIC, without any public involvement, has decided the Wallowa-Whitman should be a closed forest and the Forest personnel will determine which roads can stay open.

The BIC is hosting the public engagement sessions to introduce the BIC members and the group’s purpose, which is to “summarize the BIC’s recommended desired conditions provided to the Forest Service, gain feedback from the public that can be carried forward to the Forest Service, and help the public understand the upcoming Forest Plan Revision process”. These are not formal comment opportunities, but public input from these sessions will supposedly help the BIC and the Forest Service understand issues and potential community impacts to inform the process as the Forest Service prepares to reinitiate plan revision.

We need to pack this meeting with Baker County citizens who are sick to death of the Forest Service trying to close our roads.
EOMA asked Christine Drazan, who is running for governor of Oregon, her position on mining. Her reply is as follows: “Mining is part of the rich cultural traditions of Eastern Oregon. But for too many Eastern Oregonians, this way of life is fading because of a stagnant and clumsy bureaucracy. A bureaucracy more interested in the execution and protection of political force than working with Oregonians to create solutions. Oregon has been blessed with a strong natural resource economy. From the gold mines of Baker County, to the rare earth minerals that are critical to our future, Eastern Oregon mining continues to be at the forefront of the growth and rich history of Eastern Oregon. As Governor, I will reset the priorities of agencies from a culture of adversary to a partner interested in finding solutions that move Oregon forward.”.

THE WHITE SWAN SWINDLE-excerpts from a story by B.A. Myers
The White Swan is a gold mine located about four miles in a southeasterly direction from the famous Virtue mine outside Baker City. It was located circa 1890. The White Swan was primarily an underground working composed of a vertical shaft that had been mined to a depth of over 300’, with cross-cuts stemming off from this shaft at several levels. In its initial years between 1891 and 1895, the mine was highly profitable. As an example of its richness, it was reported to have produced $10,000 over the course of one month in 1891. By 1895, the mine began to see instability in ownership and financial struggles. By April of this year, it was closed leaving some one-hundred men without a paycheck. Others attempted to re-establish the mine and resume production; however, it never again saw the success it had in its infancy.

By 1900 the mine had gone into receivership. On January 23, 1901, the holdings were sold by the Baker County Sheriff via a public sale. Letson Balliet, a pompous, flamboyant promoter presenting himself as the manager of the White Swan Mining Company, purchased the mine for $3,017.53. The public had speculated the White Swan Mining and Milling Company of Iowa, who had previously held the mine would make an attempt to regain their hold at the sale, but no such action was taken, and Balliet was the winning bidder.

Balliet sought fame, fortune, and the finer things in life. He had the one skill necessary to make these goals reality; he was phenomenal at propaganda. Instead of earnestly working the White Swan, Balliet began printing circulars selling stock for the White Swan Mining Company. The circulars were mailed all throughout the United States and offered a payment option to purchase stock in the mine starting at $1 per month. Those who bought the stock received a shiny stock certificate and a free pass to ride Balliet’s train, when there actually was no train. He sold people, rich and poor, on the opportunity of becoming a wealthy stock-holder in a prosperous gold mine.

His bravado and boastful ways would eventually draw the attention of the federal government, which would ultimately be his undoing in the gold fields of Eastern Oregon. As it turned out, Balliet had profited estimated amounts of $220,000-250,000 from selling White Swan stock. The problem with this was the White Swan was nothing more than a water filled hole in the high desert when Balliet assumed it, and he invested little to nothing back into the mine. Balliet’s legal battle would be drawn out over several years. Eventually, he was sentenced to ninety days in jail and a $300 fine. Balliet did not serve the full amount of time for which he was sentenced, nor did he pay his fines.

As for the White Swan, by 1904 Balliet had resigned any managerial role in the White Swan Mines Company, and handed remaining titles to new management. The new board held out hopes the White Swan could once again be a producing mine and amend the wrongs Balliet had carried out on its stockholders. At this time, it was reported there were some 1200 remaining stockholders, many of whom were poor. The mine would see numerous men come and go with promises of making it profitable once more. In 1907, the mine was under management of H.T. Kincaid who announced the mine would immediately reopen, but by 1909, the mine again went into receivership and was sold to D. W. French. The mine would see several more changes in ownership as well as a name change that was instated with hopes of removing the lingering stigma of Balliet’s mark.

White Swan Mines became Susan D. Mines, but the moniker never really stuck. In 1919, the mine was bonded by Horace B. Smalley and associates of Spokane, Washington, who reported the mine had remained flooded since the early 1900s. Smalley, like all the rest, was enthusiastic. He reported two sinking pumps, a ten-stamp mill, and a new compressor were on site and ready to work. The White Swan’s next entry in the history pages gives a glimmer of hope. In the 1930s a group of investors hailing from Washington State began operating the mine. In 1931, the stamp mill was running, a 100-ton ball mill was awaiting installation, a new shaft was being driven, and water was pumped from the original shaft. It was reported a fifteen-pound brick of gold, supposedly smelted on site at the White Swan, was circulated about Cashmere, Washington, where many of the investors hailed from. By 1934, the mine was employing twelve men. In 1936, the ball mill was yet to be installed, but crews were reportedly working around the clock on the shaft and management was reporting ore that showed at $47 a ton.

Misfortune once again took the White Swan when in 1937 mine superintendent, Mel C. Butler, fell to his death. He had last been seen on the ladder at the 200-foot level, but was found deceased in the pooled water of the shaft some twenty feet below. The mine closed in December of 1937 with intentions to reopen in the spring, but little else is reported about it. During the time “The White Swan Gold, Inc.” ran the mine in the 1930s, it had invested $175,000 in rehabilitating the mine and produced only $30,000 in gold.
There are no longer men toiling in the shaft, or citizens investing in stock scams. But, if you know where to look, Swan Mine and its sensational story can still be found amongst the sagebrush.


It’s on the Southfork of Canyon Creek, a tributary of Josephine creek on the Illinois river Real bad 4x4 high clearance road for 7 miles to trailhead, another ¾ mile moderate walk up to downstream end of claim. Stream runs through claim end to end approximately 2000 ft. $6,500. Call 541-787-0046 for more details and directions.

These claims are in the Greenhorn Mining District, adjacent to the Parkerville and the Bonanza patented properties. Geiser Bowl- 60 acres, PW #1- 80 acres, PW #6 -100 acres, Black Beauty- 100 acres, Blue Mt Channel #3-100 acres, Carranza-80 acres, Dottie Two-80 acres, Mart Jones-60 acres, Wizzer-80-acres.

Contact LaRayn Rose for list prices, and of course, any reasonable offer will be considered especially for multiple claim purchases. (503) 317-6914

Two metal detectors for sale: Gold Bug II detector, Fisher Double Box detector, $1,000 for both.
Call Chuck at 541-310-8510.

Two water pumps with belt driven clutch system (heavy duty) driven by a 2-cylinder Wisconsin gas engine for $250.

Also, a 5" intake 7" discharge Fairbanks and Morse high pressure pump. Driven by a 30 HP 3 phase electric motor for $450. Call Ken Anderson at 541-523-2521 or 541-519- 9497

This drum is 42” long with an 18 inch diameter with a 5HP B&S motor. An electric motor drives a shaker. There is a 2” 5 HP pump. The sluice box is 7’ long. The unit was custom built by Larry Merriilay, has rubber tires and is towable. Call Earl Graham at 541-805-8206 if interested. Pictures are available.

I would like to rent/lease/lease with option to buy property that may be productive for metal detecting and mining. Especially areas with tailings like the Powder River near Sumpter, or other local areas. Thanks, Johnny West. Email: jwestboise@gmail.com
I’m looking for a placer or lode claim in NE Oregon. Looking for a pick and shovel or small equipment deposits. The placer claim doesn’t have to have much water, but a little would be nice. Pay cash or gold up to $5,000. Call Sam at 541-787-0046.

I need a jaw crusher or small hammer mill. Please call Pete at 541-910-9712.

Gold Specimens and Gold nuggets, mostly from Oregon mines. Fair prices paid. Also selling Gold nugget jewelry, specimens, nuggets and more. For an interesting and informative experience explore www.northernnevadagold.com . Call Robert 775-455-6470.

ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal is your monthly source for news, legislation, how-to articles and more. Josh and Sherrie Lynn Reinke are the new owners of the Mining Journal, same great publication! A full year (12 issues) is still only $29.95; or get a print and an online subscription for just $33.95, 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.

AMS is selling assay supplies, screens, chemicals and labware! Call for a quote and mention this ad for 10% off! Assay supplies, concentrators, impact mills, technical books (for the beginner to the advanced mill man), & more! Call for our free catalog or visit us online! Check out our website for information on Wave tables.

We have relocated to Plains, Montana. Please call 406.826.9330 to place the order. This way our staff can have it pulled and ready for pick up. Otherwise, we can always ship your order! sales@actionmining.com • www.actionmining.com

EOMA is a member of American Exploration & Mining Association, and many of our members are also individual members. AEMA members reside in 44 states, 7 Canadian provinces and 11 countries and are actively involved in prospecting, exploring, mining, and reclamation closure activities across North America & the world. This association keeps miners up on what is happening in the mining industry. To stay up to date on mining issues, you can become a member of AEMA by going to their website at https://www.miningamerica.org/