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 NEWSAG4H

- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20131120

NOVEMBER 2013 Newsletter
Volume 290

The meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting is Friday, NOVEMBER 1ST at the Baker City Hall. The building is located at 1st and Auburn Streets in Baker City. The Board meeting starts at 6:00PM, and the general meeting starts at 6:30PM.

The Eastern Oregon Mining Association, along with the Waldo Mining District, is selling tickets for the drawing on a ½ pound of gold. The big Final Drawing with a Grand Prize of 1/2 Pound of Gold will be held in the spring of 2014. The cost is $5.00 per Entry, or Six Entries for $25.00.
Need not be present to win! So, fill out the tickets in the back of the newsletter and send them in to Drawing, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814. Your money goes to help miners continue litigation on miner’s rights. Thank you for all your support..... Chuck Chase

I haven’t talked to anyone in this area who actually missed the “non-essential” Forest Service and BLM employees who had a nice two week paid vacation, (i.e. furlough)? Miners I talked to reported that during the furlough they got about the same response to e-mails, phone calls and letters that they usually get when these people are “working” (i.e. no response). The lines of communication are pretty broken between miners and agency personnel these days. Jan and I, along with Chuck and Bobbie will be attending the Northwest Mining Convention in Reno the first week in December. This is a good opportunity for miners to talk to agency personnel from all over the country, as well as an opportunity to talk to staff from the Washington DC offices. We would like to see lots of miners taking advantage of this chance to talk to agency personnel and make progress improving the regulatory atmosphere that seems to be a dark cloud over certain areas of the country as miners try to develop our needed resources. Hope to see you at the convention!

New claim filing fees have increased by $5, effective October 1, 2013. If you filed with BLM before this date, you are fine. If you filed after this date, BLM will return your check. You must then send your location notice back to BLM along with the additional monies.

After you have performed at least $100 worth of assessment for each claim you own, and recorded your proof of labor in the county where the claim is located, you must send a copy of your proof of labor to BLM along with $10/claim. The proof of labor form must be in the Portland BLM office on or before December 30, 2013.

Sen. Jackie Dingfelder, one of the leaders of the effort to shut down all placer mining in the State of Oregon and make most gold bearing streams part of the State Scenic Waterway system, will be joining Portland Mayor Charlie Hales staff. Senator Dingfelder worked diligently to get Republican Senator Fred Girod to vote with the Democrats to pass SB 838. As you know, SB 838 will shut down small-scale mining within 300 feet of streams and shut down suction dredging in Oregon if it is not modified.

In addition to her “work” as a senator, where she sponsored much environmental legislation in Salem, Dingfelder has spent the past year working as executive director of River Restoration Northwest, a nonprofit corporation that promotes river restoration efforts. She is married to Tom Gainer, who works for DEQ. Senator Dingfelder is not ruling out a future run for elected office. For now, she said shed be happy to support either state representative with ties to her district, should either be interested in her senate seat.

After the third try at redoing the pages of stipulations which are to be attached to Plans of Operation, they still are not right. Page numbers are wrong, problems with stipulations that we thought were resolved during the EOMA appeal of the NFBR EIS, still are not corrected.

Miners should make an appointment with Mike Hall to go over the list of stipulations. Don’t sign an incorrect set of stipulations; it will cause problems for you in your mining operation.

The old United States Assay office was opened when gold started arriving in Seattle from the Klondike in 1897. At that time the closest assay office was in San Francisco. To handle the large amount of gold the U.S. Mint opened an Assay Office in Seattle. It received an average of a million dollars’ worth of gold dust each month. The office handled more than $15 million worth of gold in its first fourteen months of operation. It was closed on December 31, 1914, after handling a total of 455.3 tons of gold from Alaska and the Yukon Territory, valued at $227,539,656.

Bill Ryan of DSL held a meeting in Baker City on October 17 to take input from miners on the rules DSL is writing for implementation of Oregon’s new anti-mining law, SB838. Bill described the law as “a flawed piece of legislation”. In places the law states that it only applies to streams where there are no dams and natural fish barriers, but in other places it states the law applies to all streams that are connected in any way to a main river like the Columbia. In places the law states that it apples to “motorized dredge equipment”, but then states the law applies also to “motorized equipment” (i.e. cats backhoes, generators, pumps).

DSL must rewrite their rules, which only apply to the beds and banks of ESH and bull trout streams. The changes they must address because of the law are (2) motorized dredge equipment must be operated at least 500 feet from other motorized dredge equipment, unless DEQ determines that another distance is appropriate to protect water quality (b) the motorized equipment must not be left unattended within the wetted perimeter of any waters of the state (c) the motorized equipment may be operated only between the hours of 9:00AM-5:00PM. It gets more confusing to the miners (and the State Police responsible for enforcement) when you read the law, and how it affects motorized equipment outside the beds and banks if you are mining within the 100 yards of the ordinary high water line. The law states that miners are subject to the three provisions if their mining “results in the removal or disturbance of streamside vegetation in a manner that may impact water quality”.

Since miners that mine off-channel are already prohibited from impacting water quality by the Clean Water Act, and are required to have settling ponds and other mitigations to protect water quality, one has to assume miners should not be disturbing “streamside vegetation in a manner that may impact water quality”. DSL is not concerned with this aspect of the law, since they administer only the beds and banks of streams up to the ordinary high water line.

Miners who have DOGAMI permits are exempted from the three prohibitions, but few small scale operators meet the criteria for a DOGAMI permit. Miners who choose to mine during the next two years must do everything within their power to protect water quality. All miners must have DEQ WPCF permits for their settling ponds, so there is no risk of discharge. Miners must think outside the box, creating artificial barriers of washed rock between their operation and the stream, or creating barriers of certified weed free straw bales or placing piles of brush between their operations and streams to control erosion unless they work behind a continuous barrier of old rock tailings that would protect the stream from sediment if there was an “event” such as a violent thunderstorm. It would seem that the 41 operations in the North Fork Burnt River that are currently being approved for mining could not possibly impact water quality if the miners mine according to their plans of operation. The North Fork Burnt River EIS and SEIS have hundreds of pages analyzing these plans and adds pages of mitigations to every miner’ operating plan. The SEIS concludes that with these mitigation measures, water quality will be protected.

Their proposal as it stands right now:
(1) Applications will be received between January 1 and February 28 of each year.
(2) Proposed Criteria for awarding points:
(3) Priority will be given to those who have held DSL or DEQ permits or authorizations for motorized mining below the ordinary high water mark, for the longest period of time since 2008, before January 1, 2014.
(4) The number of years the person has held a federal mining claim or patent since 2006.
(5) If there are more applications with the same number of points for the items listed above, than there are authorizations to distribute, the Department will use a random selection process.
(6) If less than 850 eligible applications are received between January 1 and February 28, applications received after February 28 will be awarded permits on a first come first served basis.

WHAT HAPPENS IN 2014 and 2015?
Miners who want to dredge must go on line and fill out the DSL application and submit between Jan 1 and February 28. This is a requirement for dredging in all streams, with or without salmon, steelhead and bull trout, except for a few waterways in the Klamath Basin and near Burns.

850 permits will be issued. Miners must also apply for DEQ suction dredge permits.

Miners who receive a permit from DSL and DEQ must maintain 500’ between dredges, must not leave dredges unattended in the waterway and must only dredge between the hours of 9:00AM-5:00PM.

Miners who work off channel must have WPCF permits from DEQ and be able to demonstrate that their operations are designed to protect water quality.

A task force consisting of DEQ, DSL, Parks and Recreation, DOGAMI, State Police, Federal agencies, environmentalists, Tribes and affected stakeholders (miners) will be appointed to study the effects of mining within the beds and banks of waterways and to study the effects of the removal of streamside vegetation.

If the task Force is successful, the moratorium will be avoided.

If not, the moratorium on dredging and working within 300 feet of streams goes into effect, however, the area where the moratorium applies is different than the 2014-2015 area. Under the moratorium, the prohibition applies only to stream reaches above the lowest spawning beds where salmon, steelhead and bull trout or their habitat is located. Unlike the area described for 2014-2015, the moratorium exempts areas where a naturally occurring or lawfully placed physical barrier to fish passage, such as a dam, exists.

How to Comment: 
You may comment on the proposed DSL rules by sending written comments to:

Tiana Teeters, Rules Coordinator
DIV 89 Rulemaking
Oregon Department of State Lands
775 Summer Street NE, Suite 100
Salem, Oregon 97301-1279

Or via email: PlacerMining.rulemaking@dsl.state.or.us​

We all call it the “small miner waiver”, but whatever you call it, this part of the law that allows small scale operators to locate and do assessment on ten or fewer claims instead of paying fees is very important to the industry. According to Laura Skaer of Northwest Mining Association, there are some at BLM who definitely want to go to an all fee system. Laura thinks there is support in the House Natural Resources committee for reducing the number of association placer claims that can be held with assessment.

Those miners who own more than ten claims, pay $140 for each 20 acre portion of their association placer claims. BLM thought, when they changed the law last year, that they would greatly increase their income. However, BLM did not anticipate that small miners would rearrange their claim holdings to take advantage of the small miner waiver for up to ten association placer claims. The amount of claim fees actually went down.

Northwest Mining Association will change its name to American Exploration & Mining Association effective at the close of this year’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in Reno, Nevada.

The reason for the name change is that mining interests are not just confined to the Northwest. In fact, the association currently has more members in the 3 western states of Nevada, Colorado and Utah combined than in all of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and British Columbia. These seven states and one province account for 75 percent of membership, with more than 60 percent of membership being outside the traditional northwest.

These 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 2012 medallions. These medallions are currently selling for $50 dollars apiece plus $5.00 shipping and handling and insurance. These prices are subject to change. You can order a 2013 medallion 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 Bobbie at 541-523-3285. Be sure to specify whether you want a 2012 or 2013 medallion.
On a trip back to Louisiana to visit with Bobbie’s kid sister Shirley and her husband Terry, we, among other things, decided to visit the famous Arkansas Diamond Mine. It interrupted Terry’s deer hunting for a few days, but that is another story.

We took their fifth wheel camper and left Bernice, Louisiana and headed for the Crater of Diamonds State Park, near Murfreesboro, Arkansas with high expectations of finding a 3 carrot diamond. We had called ahead and reserved a RV spot to stay overnight just in case the girls struck it rich. We arrived there a little before noon, but it was near 3:00 pm before we finally got settled in.

We registered at the desk and paid our required per person fee to hunt for diamonds in the now State Park. We rented shovels and screens and walked through the visuals and looked and the diamond and rock specimens they had on display in the lobby. Before entering the 37 acre diamond field we listened to a Park Ranger give a demonstration on how to look for and find diamonds. How hard can this be-they found three yesterday didn’t they?

With high hopes we walked down the road that bisected the mine. It looked like they had taken some sort of a V- Plow and windrowed dirt and gravel in rows leaving narrow walk ways between rows. There must have been a hundred or so people pawing over the muddy ground, with more coming all the time. I took a look around, the knuckle dragger that I am, and did a little computing. Hmmm, one hundred or so out here now, probably one thousand or more a day and they only found three diamonds yesterday your odds start getting kind of dismal. The geology was my main interest anyway, and if you found a diamond that was a bonus.

The geology of a diamond field is a type of kimberlitic rock that resembles diorite intrusive. In Africa they refer to it as the “blue ground”. The main difference in the two rock species is, the diorite resembles granite, except there is a lot more black magnetite and other dark minerals in it than granite. Kimberlite, although it looks like diorite, has large crystals of quartz, jasper, and semi-precious stones along with, you guessed it, diamonds. Being the rock hound that Bobbie and I are, we couldn’t pass up a pretty specimen to bring home and throw it in with the other ten tons of rocks that we have displayed around the house.

To make a long story short, only Terry, Bobbies Brother-in-law, found what he thought was a possible diamond. Back in the lobby, Terry had a Park Ranger Geologist look at all of his specimens. After much looking under a microscope, the Geologist confirmed that Terry wasn’t one of the lucky few. It was an interesting trip, but if any of you decide to take in the Arkansas Diamond Mine, do it right after a rain. It washes away the dirt exposing the diamonds. Only one other tip, wear rubber boots, that is the stickiest clay, except for over around Herford, where you start getting into a bentonite rich clay.

EOMA Board members met with DEQ personnel on October 24, 2013, concerning the new suction dredge permit which will replace the one that expires at the end of 2014. According to DEQ, there will be only a few changes to the permit, which will still be issued as an NPDES permit. There is much confusion due to SB838 which mandates permit stipulations for ESH streams that will not be reflected in DEQ’s permit. Miners will be required to comply with both permits. There will only be 850 permits issued by DSL, but DEQ will issue as many permits as are applied for. DSL permits are not transferable, so the miner who has one of the DSL 850 permits and breaks a leg, cannot transfer his permit to someone who has a DEQ permit but didn’t get a DSL permit. The whole thing is pretty crazy.

DEQ is accepting comments on their permit revision. One problem area where DEQ has had a lot of comments involves fuel storage. Idaho’s permit states fuel will be stored 100 feet from the edge of the water, Oregon’s permit says 25 feet. One Hundred feet would put our gas cans on top of the mountain in many areas where streams are small and hillsides are steep. Theft of gas could be a big problem. There was also discussion about requiring an anti-spill nozzle on gas cans, and requiring secondary containment to be certain there was no fuel spilled. DEQ is also looking at changing record keeping requirements, so that records are not just held for three years, but instead are submitted to DEQ. Both DSL and DEQ are looking at requiring dredges to have ID numbers, just like boats have.

While the new DEQ permit will not prohibit dredging on water quality impaired streams listed for sediment, toxics and turbidity, SB838 will have the task force studying whether prohibition should take place. DEQ stated that they are working on Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for all streams in Oregon. Because of budget cuts, the process has been slowed, but they are progressing. This is the way that streams can be delisted. EOMA members talked about streams such as the North Fork Burnt River, which is a naturally “flashy” waterway with clay soils. This system moves sediment every year, and this is natural for the watershed. Soil movement over time is what created the Whitney Valley. DEQ stated that they would take these natural factors into consideration when they established TMDLs for this watershed.

The question was asked of DEQ, why they could not simply extend the current 700PM permit, instead of reissuing it. Our lawsuit will probably be considered “moot” when the new permit is issued. DEQ stated that if they extended the old permit while our lawsuit was ongoing, no new permits could be issued. They stated that they had looked at the whole picture and decided it would be best for mining if a new permit was issued. They stated that if EOMA prevailed in their case, DEQ could easily change the permit.

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.

Save that ultrafine gold with this high gravity separator. It runs on 12volt, only weighs 45 pounds, is easy to set up and run, and can run all day long without a clean up. This is a must see, and sells for only $1304. E-mail Ted at tedcraghead@gmail.com. See Video on UTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAP5CMdIjFs
Or come on down and take a look at 10415 HWY 95, Payette, ID 83661.

Trencherman Backhoe, all hydraulic, and towable behind a 4 wheeler or pickup.
New cost was $5,900.00, asking $4,000.00, in excellent shape.
5hp Briggs & Stratton generator, Coleman Powermate 2500 series, Like new $2,500.00
225 shop welder series range $150.00. Harold Anderson   541-562-5966

A set of EOMA one-ounce silver medallions dated 1988 through 2011, plus one “In Gold We Trust 75th Anniversary 1907 – 1982” one ounce silver medallion and one proof coin of the same. The 25-coin set is contained in a hand made solid wood folding display box with spaces for an additional 17 coins. Price, $1,000 firm. Call 541-524-9386 or 541-403-0043.

The Goldfield Prospector is a portable, heavy duty wash plant designed for the recovery of placer gold to be used for sampling, small-scale production, or clean-up of larger processing plants.  The Prospector lists new for $8,500 (www.goldfieldint.com/prospector.aspx).  This particular machine has been rebuilt/modified.  Price, $2,000 or OBO. Call 541-524-9386 or 541-403-0043.

Placer Mine, 59 Acre upper gravel bar placer claim near the Burnt River in Oregon, best offer in writing with deposit by Oct 31st, 2013. There is 1/8 + mile diggings and fresh tailings. Four plus shafts, water nearby, borders previous mining district and patented ground -    with possible equipment options.  Contact: Craig at 406-579-5291, or Leave Message.

I am always looking for new sources of quality gold nuggets and specimens.  I market to collectors and can generally pay more than refiners for nice nuggets.  Contact Matt at (208) 867-2594 or e-mail: goldrush@goldrushnuggets.com I travel through Baker City frequently.