diggingbar

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diggingbar last won the day on October 29 2015

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  1. Hello Tee, I'm wondering if we met this Summer…. say at a campground on the Trinity? If so, I was the guy that gave you that fantastic peach and showed you my custom classifier. If not, then forgive the mistaken id and tell us where you are.
  2. Here's a couple tidbits on the topic and I'll leave it there. The Forest Service tries to define what they consider to be a significant resource disturbance in their FSM. I don't believe the FSM holds any legal weight. Their definition from 36CFR 9.2 (L) (l) Significantly disturbed for purposes of mineral extraction. Land will be considered significantly disturbed for purposes of mineral extraction when there has been surface extraction of commercial amounts of a mineral, or significant amounts of overburden or spoil have been displaced due to the extraction of commercial amounts of a mineral. Extraction of commercial amounts is defined as the removal of ore from a claim in the normal course of business of extraction for processing or marketing. It does not encompass the removal of ore for purposes of testing, experimentation, examination or preproduction activities. And more from their FSM…. “FSM2817.11- Determination of significant resource disturbance. The determination of what is significant can come only a fair, reasonable, and consistent evaluation of proposed operations on a case by case basis. Significant is a site sensitive term: a particular surface resource-disturbing activity in one area, such as flat sage brush-covered ground, might not be significant, while the same operation in a high alpine meadow could be highly significant. Onsite surface-resource disturbance will come almost entirely from earthmoving activities or from site clearance. Such on site disturbance would be considered significant if natural recovery, to a condition of no higher standard than existed before the operation, would not be expected to take place within a reasonable period of time.”
  3. Clay, you did a great job covering "significant surface disturbance" in another post which I'll paste here. Please expand upon it in another thread when you have time. We all will benefit. There is no "significant surface disturbance" mining prohibition in the law so you will never find a legal definition. The USDA and the BLM use that term in their regulations to cover all the various surface acts that might require their attention - not just mining. The actual standard under the law is "undue or unnecessary degradation of the lands" and that has been defined by the Supreme Court. Quote "[a] reasonable interpretation of the word 'unnecessary' is that which is not necessary for mining. 'Undue' is that which is excessive, improper, immoderate or unwarranted." Utah v. Andrus, 486 F. Supp. 995, 1005 n.13 (D. Utah 1979) You can rely on that definition to be upheld by the courts no matter what your mining issue. The BLM and Forest Service - not so much. See my post above about illegal agendas within the surface management agencies.
  4. Sometimes, things are put into print and distributed as fact, hoping that the masses won't notice that new regulations are contrary to actual law (general mining laws, case law). I think that's what is going on with the dredging/NOI issue I posted above. Both the 14 day camping limit as well as the requirement to submit a NOI and bond in order to mine your claim with a suction dredge are completely bogus. If miners start to believe new, unlawful regulations are legitimate, then the truth gets more obscured… until it's no longer known. There is a large prospecting shop here in Az that once told me over the phone that it is only legal to use a 3" or smaller suction dredge. That is simply untrue. I guess they don't plan on selling anything larger than a 3" dredge. For some reason, it seems the USFS thinks that 3" is the acceptable limit for a suction dredge. I don't know how they may have come up with that reasoning, but clubs like the Roadrunners have agreed to that size limit for their members. I find a 3" dredge to be the bare minimum for getting any reasonable amount of suction dredge mining done. More often, it's at least a 4". If I had the water, it would be a 5" or 6". Miners in Alaska might tell you it's a 6" or 8" that makes sense to them. If I may. Simply processing more yardage per day doesn't equate to harm to the public lands or the environment. Rather, properly-sized equipment allows efficiency (fewer man hours and less fuel use overall) and one to use the best methods they have determined to be available. How many USFS or BLM employees have any mining experience at all? How would these public servants know the best method to mine your valuable mineral deposit? As claim owners, we determine the best type of equipment for the job. Mining is hard work, if not the hardest work there is. Don't let the regulatory agencies and the ill-informed make your mining needlessly more difficult than it already is. I say this realizing that in the land of the lost (Ca), miner's granted rights are violated with extreme prejudice and all common sense has been thrown out the window. They have been fighting for years to regain their right to mine using best methods available (suction dredge). Those at the front lines are being harassed and cited for their "violations". Lets hope the pending legal cases are won and finally restore the miner's right to do his job. Thanks for the question Gary! I have no idea if you are dredging in Az, but you gave me a good place for a nice rant. Happy dredging!
  5. I have no expertise on MSHA. Hopefully, someone that does will reply. However, if you look into the Act that created MSHA, you might get your answers. Look at: The Federal Mine Safety and Helath Act of 1977. It was amended in 2006. MINES SUBJECT TO ACT SEC. 4. Each coal or other mine, the products of which enter commerce, or the operations or products of which affect commerce, and each operator of such mine, and every miner in such mine shall be subject to the provisions of this Act. (30 U.S.C. 803) Enacted December 30, 1969, P.L. 91–173, sec. 4, 83 Stat. 744; amended November 9, 1977, P.L. 95–164, title I, sec. 102©, 91 Stat. 1291. Definitions “commerce” means trade, traffic, commerce, transportation, or communication among the several States, or between a place in a State and any place outside thereof, or within the District of Columbia or a possession of the United States, or between points in the same State but through a point outside thereof; Does it sound like this applies to you?
  6. I would politely ask the forest ranger (or whomever you're dealing with) to please show you where the 30 day regulation exists and the authority behind it. From there, try to figure out how you will show that it doesn't/shouldn't apply in your case. Perhaps due to remoteness or health issues, it is impractical to be ferrying heavy equipment back and forth due to this arbitrary regulation. Their regulations are not allowed to cause an undue burden on the miner or cause a hindrance to mining. Their regulations are supposed to be designed to "prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands". How is storing mining equipment applicable to this mandate? USA vs. Shumway may be relevant. The judge ruled "… the Forest Service may regulate use of National Forest lands by holders of unpatented mining claims… but only to the extent that the regulations are "reasonable" and do not impermissibly encroach on legitimate use incident to mining and mill site claims." Do you find this regulation to be reasonable? The Forest Service Manual is supposed to give USFS employees some direction on their regulations. FSM 2810 is their chapter dealing with the mining laws. Look at... FSM 2814.24 Provide Reasonable Alternatives Forest officers should provide bona fide prospectors and miners reasonable alternative access routes, exploration methods, special use permits, and operating plan provisions in order that they may carry out necessary mineral associated activities without violation of laws and regulations. Although I don't agree that you legally need to obtain a "special use permit" to have your mining equipment on your claim beyond a 30 day limit, that may be one approach you might consider. As long as you are working your claim on a continual basis, the storage of your mining equipment should qualify as legitimate use incident to mining. Just some ideas. Not legal advice by any means. I have no qualifications to offer any.
  7. The BLM also forwarded their actual CFR 3809 regulations. Here is the definition of casual use that I was familiar with. Are they simply trying to fool people in order to get them to apply for a NOI and submit a financial guarantee? That whole process would likely keep many small-scale miners from using a suction dredge. Here's another paste... §3809.5 How does BLM define certain terms used in this subpart? As used in this subpart, the term: Casual use means activities ordi- narily resulting in no or negligible dis- turbance of the public lands or re- sources. For example— (1) Casual use generally includes the collection of geochemical, rock, soil, or mineral specimens using hand tools; hand panning; or non-motorized sluic- ing. It may include use of small port- able suction dredges. It also generally includes use of metal detectors, gold spears and other battery-operated de- vices for sensing the presence of min- erals, and hand and battery-operated drywashers. Operators may use motor- ized vehicles for casual use activities provided the use is consistent with the regulations governing such use (part 8340 of this title), off-road vehicle use designations contained in BLM land- use plans, and the terms of temporary closures ordered by BLM.
  8. Typical mission creep? Blatant misrepresentation of their own regulations? Anyone else see this? The BLM forwarded this to me recently, along with several other publications, because I told them I would like to possibly start the process of obtaining a NOI to use a backhoe to excavate pay dirt on one of my claims. I have been dredging in Az off and on for about 15 years and I always understood that it fell under casual use. This new publication states otherwise.
  9. The BLM apparently now thinks that dredging in AZ requires a notice of intent and a bond. Below is a paste from their 2014 publication entitled... Operator Information for Casual Use, Notice and Plan Level Operations and for Providing a Financial Guarantee as Required by 43 CFR 3809 PROCESSING CASUAL USE ACTIVITES The BLM does not process applications for Casual Use activities under 43 CFR 3809 and you are not required to contact BLM before beginning Casual Use activities. You are however required to have a working knowledge of all applicable laws and regulations pertaining to mining in Arizona before you begin your Casual Use activities. A simple example of a Casual Use activity common in Arizona is the operation of prospecting or rock collecting using a metal detector and/or other hand tools while camping on public lands. You cannot engage in suction dredging at a casual use level on BLM administered lands in Arizona. Suction dredging can only be done pursuant to a Notice or Plan, filed under 43CFR 3809. Any camping must be in compliance with all camping regulations and you must not occupy the public lands for more than 14 days in any 90 day period within a radius of 25 miles of your initially occupied site.
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  11. Good article. There is a wide discrepancy between profitability using TCC vs AISC. There was a big push a few years back for gold producers to un-wind their hedging to the gold price. That was during the great bull run. I bet a lot of the producers wish they had done some hedging on this multi-year decline.
  12. Mining bonanza grade ore is the ultimate. It would be nice if they made specimens available to collectors and museums.
  13. Reno, Are you talking about mining claim speculation and promotion? That is one aspect of mining claims that some are able to make big money on. The low on PM prices may be in, but there could still be a little further downside for a final, defeating blow. Picking up good mining claims to work on a small-scale at this time makes sense to me. The ridiculous dredging ban in Ca (headed for Or and Wa) has caused small-scale miners to drop claims. This seems to have brought down the price of mining claims in Ca. and opened up some ground for locating. I'm holding onto my claims as I intend to mine the mineral deposits they contain.
  14. Thanks Eric. I have thought about that option. It would be the cheapest, but I would like about double that capacity. I guess I should have started a new thread as I'm looking for suggestions on both the excavator and small wash plant.
  15. Hey experienced placer miners. Looking for your 2 cents. I have a small placer project I could possibly do next Spring. I have a narrow gulch placer that has 2,000-plus yards of virgin gravels. Yes, small potatoes. I have excavated by hand and dredged about 100 yards of it. Values look good enough to buy a used backhoe or excavator and step up the volume. So, I have the usual questions of "buy or rent" the excavator and "how to process the gravels". I'm thinking a small, used backhoe like a CAT 416 for under $20k, but I could possibly get away with just a mini excavator. Backhoe has the benefit of being able to maintain roads. Mini excavator is probably much better on fuel and if one is just digging and feeding in the same spot, then you wouldn't need a loader bucket. I can rent a CAT 420 backhoe locally for about $2,500 a month, although that's bigger than I'd need. Any brands and models you would suggest??? The water situation isn't ideal. I only have seasonal and somewhat unpredictable water flow. I'm not drilling a well. An excavator can dig a deep enough hole to capture enough water to make things work. Also, I can have a water truck come deliver 2,000 gallons if I need it. I like the "mini" trommel by Heckler Fab for its portability. Yes, it's small. I think it would work for one or two guys trying to mine and process 30 yards per day. That's the level of production I am thinking of starting with. Values recovered from just 30 yards per day should cover expenses and pay wages. The other option is to excavate and pre-screen the material and then dredge it with a 5" or 6" dry-land dredge. I know this sounds unconventional, but I have a lot more dredging experience than I do with wash plants. Dredging would likely be more labor, but could be done with less expense and moving parts. Your ideas and suggestions are welcome.