Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20160325

MARCH 2016
Volume 318

Meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting will be Friday, MARCH 4, 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. Lots of good discussions on looking forward to the next season and solving problems. And, every meeting, there is a drawing for a $50 silver medallion!

Find the last page of this newsletter, fill it out and get it back to EOMA ASAP along with your membership fees. That way you will continue to be informed on what is going on with mining in the west. If we do not hear from you, you will not receive any more newsletters and your vote will not count in the March elections. The information you need to renew your membership is on the last page of this newsletter.

EOMA ELECTIONS…..2016-Chuck Chase
For those that can’t make the March meeting in person, fill out the Absentee Election Ballot and send it in before the March meeting. For your ballot to be counted, you need to have your dues paid and have signed the ballot. If you have a dual membership, both of you need to sign the ballot and both of you need to mark the ballot. Election results will be in the April newsletter.

Just about anywhere but Unity you can see signs of spring. Even here in our little mountain valley, the snow is beginning to melt. For those who want to mine in the North Fork Burnt River watershed, and have a Plan of Operation submitted and analyzed under that EIS, it’s time to start working with the Forest Service to get your bond posted and the Plan approved.

If miners need help understanding their reclamation bond amount, Jan Alexander can help you. It’s not like the old days when we had a bonding agreement with the Forest Service; today miners must put up cash. The Forest Service calculates bonds in the same way that BLM does, using the reclamation spreadsheet. It isn't rocket science-you type in the size of your excavation, the size of your ponds and process site, and if you plan to leave machinery on site, the weight is inputted. That is all there is to it. If the bond comes out higher than you want to pay, Jan can help you scale back the size of your operation to lower the bond amount.

After four months of waiting, EOMA finally got a partial response to their FOIA. I could not see how what the Forest Service sent to us in any way responds to EOMA’s request. We got 207 pages out of old Plans of Operation, almost all of which I typed years ago. None of the Plans were received by the Forest Service during the period June 24-November 13, 2015. Only the two NOIs, High Bar and Fine Gold were new to me, and they dated back to 2005 and 2011.
Thus, we know that Wade told the FOIA coordinator that he read these 207 pages during the period June 24-November 13, 2016. Obviously, this reading could not have taken much time.
Hopefully the other part of the EOMA FOIA request will shed some light on what correspondence was generated during this period of time that was so important that Pam and Jim Haney’s Plan of Operation for the Standby (a Plan that had been analyzed under the NFBR Mining EIS) had to be put on the back burner, thus, losing them the entire 2015 mining season. Wade told Haneys on June 24, 2015, “there are several Plans ahead of yours”. What we thought the FOIA might show was NFBR Plans that were ready to post bond and be approved, like the Standby Plan. Instead, the results I have gotten so far show no Plans of Operation that are even remotely recent. All the Plans that were sent by the Forest Service to EOMA are within the Powder watershed where the Forest Service is still slowly gathering information for a future EIS.
As a side note, it is sad that of all these Plans of Operation, only Ed and Jackie Bechtel’s Plan of Operation was approved. Keith Higley and John Chakaran got authorized under a one season CE, but did not find the values they were hoping for on the AC and let the claim go.
I have requested clarification from the Forest Supervisor about how these old Plans of Operation and the two old notices of intent are responsive to the EOMA FOIA request. Stay tuned, but don't hold your breath, anything the Forest Service does takes a lot of time.

MSHA TRAINING-MARCH 12, 2016-Jan Alexander
The March MSHA Annual Refresher, for miners who have already taken the new miner training class, will be held on Saturday, March 12, 2016, at the Sunridge Inn located next to the freeway. Classes begin at 8:00AM each day. The cost of these classes is $20 per person per day. Call Jan Alexander at 541-446-3413 to register, since there can be no more than 30 miners in each class. If you are a paid up member of EOMA, you will receive a discount and will only have to pay $15. So, get your membership application in now!

 MSHA NEW MINER TRAINING-APRIL 8 thru APRIL 10, 2016- Jan Alexander
There will also be a 3-day New Miner Training on Friday April 8, Saturday April 9 and Sunday April 10. Those miners who only need Annual Refresher, can take their 8 hour class on Saturday April 9, 2016. The cost of these classes is $20 per person per day. Call Jan Alexander at 541-446-3413 to register, since there can be no more than 30 miners in each class. As with the March class, if you are a paid up member of EOMA, you will only have to pay $15/day.

Rep. Bentz said, "It is great to be able to bring this radio show, and its many interesting guests, to the listeners in Eastern Oregon. My predecessor, Rep. Tom Butler, started the show more than 15 years ago in an effort to keep Eastern Oregon better informed about the workings of state government. We have been extremely fortunate to have the excellent help of Dale Jefferies, all these years, making it possible to continue and expand the show into markets such as Baker City and La Grande. The guests we have on the show want to be heard in Eastern Oregon, and the addition of these two stations will help enormously in accomplishing that purpose".
To listen, tune in to the following local stations to hear Rep. Bentz's radio show:
KORV-93.5FM in Lakeview KBKR-1490 AM in Baker City/La Grande
Saturday's at 12:00pm (PST) Thursday's at 12:20pm (PST)

 KSRV-1380AM in Ontario KLBM-1450 AM in Baker City/La Grande
Sunday's at 7:00am (MST) Saturday's at 12:00pm (PST)

Under the 36CFR 228 regulations, the Forest Service has 15 days to respond to an NOI and let the miner know if a Plan of Operation will be required. Also under the regulations, the authorized officer is required to “promptly receipt” a plan of operation. The Forest Service has not been doing this. In addition, the Forest Service has 30 days to review a Plan of Operation and respond back to the miner. This also has not been done.

Write down the date you submit NOIs or Plans to the Forest Service. If they do not reply within the required timeframes, call the District Ranger and ask for a written response.
US Forest Service
On the National Forest, a Plan of Operation is required for any operation that may cause "significant surface resource disturbance". The Forest Service publication, Mining in the National Forests, contains the question: When is an operating plan necessary? "A plan of operations is required from anyone whose proposed operations under the 1872 Mining Law would cause "significant disturbance of the surface resources". At 36CFR228.4 (2) the regulations talk about several situations when a Plan of Operation is not required. iii states that no Plan of Operation is required "for operations which will not involve the use of mechanized earthmoving equipment such as bull dozers or backhoes and will not involve the cutting of trees".

Under 36CFR228.4 (a)The District Ranger makes the decision when he receives a Notice of Intent whether a Plan of Operation is required. "If the District Ranger determines that such operations will likely cause significant disturbance of surface resources, the operator shall submit a proposed plan of Operation to the District Ranger". There is no size of operation that triggers the requirement for a Plan of Operation on the National Forest. Bottom line on the Forest, if there is mechanized equipment proposed for use, and if trees will be cut, a Plan of Operation is required.

A couple of questions were asked at the last meeting and we have received a response. The questions answered were:
1. Ability of Secretary of the Interior do designate over 5,000 acre withdrawal? 
The Secretary of the Interior can indeed designate withdrawals of over 5,000 acres on their own for up to 90 days.  But according to FLPMA (Federal Land Policy Management Act) Section 204 the Secretary must notify Congress and Congress must respond within 30 days and issue resolution within another 60 days saying no to negate withdrawal.  If Congress doesn't act within these time frames (total 90 days), then the withdrawal remains in effect for the length of the proposed withdrawal up to 20 years. (I haven’t heard that Congress acted to say no on the 10 million acre withdrawal.-editor)
2. Does sage grouse disturbance cap apply to locatable minerals? 
The 3% disturbance cap does not apply to locatable mineral development.  The amount of disturbance created by locatable mineral development does go into the amount of disturbance, but is not a threshold that would stop a locatable project from occurring.  This does not apply to saleable or leasable mineral operations which would be subject to the 3% cap.

EOMA has been working with Rich Angstrom and Dave Hunnicutt to modify SB1530, which in its present form requires all small scale miners to be regulated under expensive DOGAMI permits. There is mis-information in Salem that there were only 46 small scale operators who used mechanized equipment in Oregon. Just in our local area, there are hundreds of miners using mechanized equipment who will be affected, with hundreds more affected throughout the state.
The cost of a DOGAMI permit is $1750, with an annual renewal fee of $850. However, associated costs, like hiring a registered land surveyor and licensed engineer, make the DOGAMI permit out of reach for the small scale upland mine operator. With just a few weeks left in the session, we need the amendment exempting federal mining operations to pass.

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 one of our member miners who is building a trommel. Sign in, and come learn, add your suggestions, and get to know other miners.

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.

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 new 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.

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

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

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