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Browsing the archives for the GOLD category.

Reversing Obama, Trump EPA reaches deal with Pebble Mine developer

Clean Water ACT - EPA, Federal gov & land grabs, GOLD


May 12, 2017


WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has settled an ongoing lawsuit with the Pebble Limited Partnership and says the company can apply for a federal permit for its proposed massive gold and copper mine in the Bristol Bay watershed.

Friday’s announcement reverses the Obama administration’s efforts to prevent progress of the world’s largest undeveloped trove of gold and copper. The settlement ends several legal battles ongoing since the EPA issued a proposed determination in 2014 that would have put the area off-limits for a federal mining permit.

Salmon fishermen, Alaska Native organizations in the Bristol Bay region and environmental groups have been fighting the proposed gold, copper and molybdenum mine for more than a decade, saying it imperils the world’s largest salmon run, a significant source of income for Alaskans. The groups said they were dismayed by the Trump administration’s decision.

Mining advocates say the gold alone is worth more than $300 billion, and that the federal government should allow the process to advance without early intervention from the EPA. Mine companies have already spent roughly $800 million on the project.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said early Friday that the agency is committed to allowing the process to move forward, but isn’t prejudging the outcome.

“We understand how much the community cares about this issue, with passionate advocates on all sides,” Pruitt said. “The agreement will not guarantee or prejudge a particular outcome, but will provide Pebble a fair process for their permit application and help steer EPA away from costly and time-consuming litigation. We are committed to listening to all voices as this process unfolds.”

The new approach promised by the Trump administration offers significant hope for the Pebble Mine purveyors, but the process ahead will take years. Depending on the timing of the permit application, federal review and public input, the ultimate decision could easily sit with a new administration if President Donald Trump is not reelected in 2020.

The Pebble Limited Partnership plans to recast its plans, focusing on a smaller mine footprint, requiring new field data and infrastructure plans. And the company needs new investors, a process which could slow plans to apply for a permit by years. Funding partners for parent-company Northern Dynasty Minerals pulled out out of the project in 2013.

Ron Thiessen, president of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., the sole current owner of the Pebble Limited Partnership, said the mine company is now planning a “smaller project design at Pebble than previously considered, and one that incorporates significant environmental safeguards.”



In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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CA Supreme Ct rules against suction dredge miners

Courts, GOLD, Mining

I am very disappointed to announce that the California Supreme Court unanimously overruled the California Third Appellate Court’s unanimous ruling in the Rinehart case.

This is not the end of the story; we are already moving ahead with our next legal remedies. We have outlined the situation in our September newsletter, which can be found here:


Being that we may not have the use of motors in our prospecting activities for a while, we devoted these past summer months to developing other ways to remain productive on our extensive properties. With that in mind, we are wondering if members would prefer that we schedule additional group projects which will provide additional exposure to other gold mining techniques, like underwater crevicing, electronic prospecting, and perhaps even underwater suction mining without the use of motors? If you are interested, my invitation for your input can be found in the newsletter.

For those of you who are not yet New 49’ers members, please consider the special half-price offer on Associate Membership that we are extending to our Internet subscribers:


If you are new to our newsletter, you can read some recent back issues here:


All the best,

Dave Mack

The New 49er’s, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039, USA

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California just passed a bill to stop all motorized mining!

GOLD, Mining

Dear Fellow Prospector,

California recently passed a new water bill (SB 637) which goes into affect this coming January. It says there will be no use of motors to excavate or process material for minerals within 100 yards of any active waterway. If allowed to stand, this reduces us down to hand sluices, gold pans, underwater crevicing (with or without hookah systems) and perhaps gravity water systems where possible.

Along with our attorney, we will be working out a strategy to challenge the new law. Since we have not been getting any meaningful relief in State court, I’ll likely be pushing for a federal challenge this time.

More about this, along with an update on all of the other legal challenges we are working on, can be found on the following page:


Here is a reminder that all these matters are costing money. We are looking towards you guys to support our ongoing legal fund-raiser. The Legal Fund will be giving away 2 ounces of gold nuggets and plenty of other goodies in less than two weeks. You can find out more right here:


Thanks for anything you guys can do to help!

The New 49er’s, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039, USA

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Dave McCracken — newest on suction dredge court case

GOLD, Lawsuits, Mining, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

June 24, 2015

As you may have already heard, Judge Ochoa denied our motion yesterday for injunctive relief to prevent the Department of Fish & Wildlife from harassing suction dredgers in California. Walt Wegner from PLP accurately summed up the situation right here:


Please allow us a little more time to consult with our attorney about our next move. I have not yet given up on saving the 2015 dredging season. No doubt, everybody was reeling in shock from yesterday’s ruling. It’s important that our strategy is decided with a clear head. We are discussing several options. I’ll sound out as soon as we decide what we will do next.

Meanwhile, I would like to remind everyone that we will be doing a legal drawing this coming Saturday evening at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp. We are giving away some fantastic prizes. You can find out more right here:


Under the circumstances of yesterday’s Ruling, our legal war chest needs replenishment. With several days remaining until the drawing, I am concerned more than ever that legal support is not flowing in as it normally does.

Therefore, as an added incentive to encourage you guys, we have reached into New 49’er gold reserves and extracted
2 ounces of beautiful gold nuggets. As long as The Legal Fund receives at least 100 more contributions between now and noon this Saturday, 27 June, these nuggets, along with more gold and silver coins, will be used as prizes in the next Legal Fund drawing which will take place on
30 October this year. Check out the new Paypal link on the page above, or you can call our office at 530 493-2012.
Here is a look at the nuggets.


As always, we very much appreciate your support of our efforts!

Dave McCracken
The New 49’er Legal Fund

The New 49er’s, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039, USA

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Fate of our 2015 gold dredging season to be decided soon!

GOLD, Lawsuits, Mining, State gov

To supporters of gold mining:

You guys might be interested to read the Reply material we just filed with the San Bernardino Court in response to the State and Karuk Opposition to our motion for an Injunction to prevent the Department of Fish & Wildlife from continuing to criminally enforce the suction dredge moratorium which has already been ruled as unconstitutional.

We worked very hard on this Reply, since it is the closest we have been to a return of hassle-free suction dredging in California during the past 6 years. You can find our Reply documents towards the bottom of this page:


Hopefully, the Court will grant an injunction during the hearing which is set to take place this coming Tuesday morning on June 23rd.
I will forward an update as soon as we know the outcome.

Here is a reminder that all this legal work is costing a fortune.
I am concerned that The New 49’er Legal Fund ongoing fund-raiser has still not generated very much interest from most of our regular supporters.

There only remains about a week before we will be giving away some incredible prizes. Our new Paypal link makes it very easy to provide us with some needed encouragement. You can find out more about the ongoing fund-raiser right here:


Thank you very much for anything you can do to support our efforts!

Dave McCracken
The New 49’er Legal Fund

The New 49er’s, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039, USA


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NEWEST !!! From New 49ers in Happy Camp. May 19, 2015

CA & OR, California Rivers, Dept. Fish & Game, GOLD, Lawsuits, Mining, Siskiyou County, State gov

Suction Dredgers Petition for Injunction to Prevent the State’s Unlawful Actions
Legal Affairs

“Motion to the Superior Court of San Bernardino to Prevent California from Enforcing its Unconstitutional Moratorium upon Suction Dredging and Return to the 2009 Regulations until they can be Updated in a Way That Does Not Break the Law.”

Update as of 19 May:

Judge Ochoa of the Superior Court of San Bernardino has now issued an Order which confirmed his earlier Ruling that California created an unconstitutional “scheme” of first enacting Section 5653 of the DFW Code which requires suction gold dredgers to obtain a permit from the State, and then enacting Section 5653.1 which prevented DFW from issuing any suction dredge permits. His Order and Ruling declared that both the State’s recently-adopted 2012 dredge regulations and the moratorium preventing the issuance of permits are unconstitutional, illegal and unenforceable.
This was a huge win for our industry!
This Ruling has prompted some people, particularly along the Klamath River in northern California, but also in other places, to resume gold dredging operations. But the Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) has continued to enforce the unconstitutional moratorium. DFW wardens initially were out on the river generally harassing dredgers about breaking the law. They have written some criminal citations. They even seized some equipment. That prompted The New 49’ers a few weeks ago to file for an immediate injunction in Siskiyou County Superior Court to force DFW to stop enforcing a moratorium that has already been found unconstitutional by the California court system. Had we got our day in court, this seemed like it would have been a slam-dunk for our side!
But the State’s attorneys scheduled an immediate hearing in front of the San Bernardino Court, requesting that our motion for an injunction be stopped in Siskiyou County because the California Judicial Council has decided that all suction dredging cases be consolidated and resolved in front of Judge Ochoa. Judge Ochoa agreed, and a hearing date for our motion for relief from DFW’s unlawful actions has been set for 23 June in San Bernardino.
Meanwhile, in an effort to get the matter resolved more quickly, several suction dredgers on the Klamath River refused to sign the promise to appear portion of the criminal citations they were being issued (unlawful dredging), opting instead to be arrested. Ultimately, one of those very courageous guys ended up in jail with The New 49’ers Legal Fund hiring James Buchal to represent him. That hearing in front of a Siskiyou County judge was to take place within 48 hours. Mr. Buchal was motioning the Court to dismiss all charges, order a return of all seized equipment, and order DFW to not bring any further dredging cases in Siskiyou County. Had we got our day in court, this also seemed like it would have been a slam-dunk for our side!
What we had not planned on was that the Siskiyou County jail is completely full of people serving time for felony convictions. Our local sheriff Lopey was objecting strenuously that in order to incarcerate a suction dredger for a rather minor misdemeanor charge, he was going to have to release a hardened criminal back onto the streets. This all caused quite a stir at the jailhouse in Yreka while all the key players were trying to figure out what to do. Ultimately, according to my limited understanding, the District Attorney decided to defer the charges (or something like that) and let the dredger out of jail with no agreement that he appear in court at some later time. Once the dredger was released, the required 48-hour hearing in front of a judge was lost. So it was kind of like being arrested and let go. What can I say; it’s California!
Therefore, as it is now, it does not look like there are any civil or expedited criminal remedies available to us in Siskiyou County to get this rogue agency off our backs.
Yes; I know there are some very important due process issues in play here. We have considered all possible options, and have decided that our best course of action is to wait it out a little longer and place our hope for a 2015 dredging season with Judge Ochoa – who knows more about our plight than any other judge in the country.
Several dredgers have signed a promise to appear (for unlawful dredging) in Siskiyou County on 9 June. I’ll be surprised if the State moves ahead with that, but we shall see.
We filed our opening salvo in San Bernardino yesterday (May 18th). The relief we are asking for is to return to the 2009 suction dredge regulations which were in affect at the time that the unconstitutional moratorium was imposed upon our industry – and stick with those until they can be updated in a way that does not break the law.
I am following with the key moving documents, the proposed Order, supporting Declarations, including several which provide an abundance of science to support our position. The links begin with a letter to the judge explaining that his decision to prevent civil relief in Siskiyou County has prevented suction dredgers from access to any timely due process to prevent the continuing unlawful conduct of DFW. You can see that we are really making our strongest effort to regain hassle-free suction dredging in California this year.


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5-4-15 info on Sugar Pine Mine problem created by BLM in Oregon

Bureau of Land Management, CORRUPTION, CRIMINAL, GOLD, Mining

Dear Congressman DeFazio:

Someone sent me the following message and You Tube Video which I find disturbing. First of all, I am a retired Multnomah County Parole and Probation Officer and have no interest in looking for precious metals. Also, I have no involvement in the Sugar Pine Mine case. However, I am interested in what goes on in our District and how government officials behave in their interaction with citizens . During my time working for the State of Oregon and Multnomah County, at times I had to deal with the general Public coming to our offices seeking information about agency activities . I always strived to get the correct information to the requesting party without delay. If I did not know the answer, I sought out someone who knew the answer. If you watch the video, you can clearly see that some government employees are not acting in good faith and are evidently stonewalling in giving the aggrieved party the requested information in a timely fashion. The question then becomes: Why?

I am personally lodging a complaint to you about this failure of government employees to perform in the legal and the proper manner . Please check on it and let me know what you find out. I have a couple of dozens fellow citizens I know who would like the answer. I could go directly to BLM management about it, but frankly I no longer trust them to tell the truth since the colossal debacle they created at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. Hopefully, they will not lie to a US Congressman.

Ronald B. Glynn
3930 Lower Wolf Creek Road
Wolf Creek, Oregon 97497

BLM Won’t Adhere to FOIA, But Gives Sugar Pine Records To 3rd Party

 Below is written by Mark Johnson, of Grants Pass, Oregon, and emailed to Liz Bowen, editor of PNP.

Rick Barclay has sent fourteen FOIA requests to BLM for the records to his Sugar Pine Mine. Despite the fact that BLM won’t meet their obligations under the Freedom of Information Act and have sent Barclay very little material to date, the Oregon State BLM Office recently sent a 3rd Party over 370 pages of the mine’s records.

So why are BLM giving uninvolved parties records to the Sugar Pine, but yet are stonewalling Barclay and violating federal laws to provide information under the Congressionally mandated Freedom of Information Act?

Inquiring minds want to know.

The following video is specific to the 14 FOIAs filed by Sugar Pine mine owners — Video was posted on 5-1-15


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Support of Sugar Pine Mine vs BLM in Galice, Oregon

Bureau of Land Management, Constitution, CORRUPTION, CRIMINAL, Federal gov & land grabs, GOLD, Mining, Property rights, PROTESTS

▶ KMED – Joseph Rice – at BLM in Medford, Oregon – YouTube


“This is my pursuit of happiness”

– George Backes, hard rock miner

Why is BLM not following the Constitutional Right to Due Process?

For 143 years, assessments have been submitted to BLM to keep claim active.

(Looks like BLM is “lying”. Hum, are we surprised! — Editor Liz Bowen)

Oathkeepers calmly demand BLM give the miners their day in court under the Constitution.

BLM has demanded miners remove their equipment from the Sugar Pine claim by April 25, 2015.

A calm, peaceful protest rally was held at the Medford, Oregon BLM headquarters on April 23, 2015. BLM closed their office for the day.  BLM employees did not show up for work on April 23, 2015.

Media fuels the flames with misinformation !!!




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BREAKING NEWS: Gold Miners, BLM clash over mining claim in Oregon

Bureau of Land Management, GOLD, Mining


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

By Brad Jones

and Paul Louly

A dispute over the Sugar Pine mining claim near Grants Pass, Ore, has led to a standoff between gold miners and the Bureau of Land Management.

Initial reports of an armed standoff are overblown according to sources within the mining community. However, about a dozen members of a group called Oath Keepers, which consists mainly of law enforcement officials sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution have arrived at the site.

Meanwhile, BLM officials are urging a peaceful, administrative solution to the dispute.

The Shasta Lantern reported April 12 that BLM officials accompanied by Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel issued a cease and desist order to the mining claim owners on March 18, which stated that the miners have until April 25 to shut down mining operations and comply with the order.


“The order has given the miners until April 25 to remove all equipment, buildings and supplies from the mine. It has been reported local BLM officials have threatened to burn the buildings down if they are not removed by the date,” Shasta Lantern reporter Red Smith writes.

According to information posted on the Sugar Pine Mine website, “The Sugar Pine Mine was the first hardrock mine discovered in the State of Oregon and is located on the North Fork of Galice Creek. It was discovered in 1858 by Cassidy, Simms and White, but gained notoriety after the mine was obtained by George and Dan Green in 1876. One of the Green Brothers served as county sheriff of Josephine County and a State Representative. Up until 1900, the Sugar Pine was the most productive hardrock gold mine in Southern Oregon.”


The miners claim that the current title to the Sugar Pine Mine, the oldest active mining claim in Oregon, originated on Feb. 9, 1876.

“It was originally recorded as entry #196 on page 134 of the Mining Record of the Galice Creek Mining District, which is currently housed in the vault of the County Clerk of Josephine County. It was later transcribed into official Mining Records of Josephine County, in Volume #3, page 76. It has been continuously owned since,” the website states.

According to the claim owners, the mine has an unbroken chain of title that dates back about 140 years.  Under federal law, mining claims that have chains of title that predate July 23, 1955 have surface rights, unless the owner relinquished them, or conveyed them back to the government, as outlined in the 1955 Surface Resources Act, also known as the Multiple Use Act. (30 USC 612).

“In November, 1969, BLM was required to obtain a right of way easement across the Sugar Pine Mine, because the agency does not have any surface management authority.” the website states. The site also refers to to Volume #17, page 461 in the Josephine County Mining Conveyance Records.

“BLM claim that they actually control the surface of the Sugar Pine Mine, despite the fact that they have refused to produce a single legal document to prove their surface rights authority when sent a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request,” the site states.

The miners claim that the title to the Sugar Pine Mine predates the formation of the BLM by more than 70 years and the formation of U.S. Forest Service by nearly 30 years.

“BLM have also refused our requests to produce certain documents pertaining to the Sugar Pine Mine that are public records. To date, we have sent 14 FOIA requests to three BLM offices in the State of Oregon. Despite the fact that they are required by federal law to produce those records, BLM has not complied [with] those laws. They have not fulfilled their obligation, under federal law regarding any of our FOIA requests,” the site states.

BLM Public Affairs Specialist Jim Whittington said in an interview that the BLM has a letter that refutes that the Sugar Pine mining claim owners actually have surface rights.

“In this case, there was a pre-1955 claim, and in the 1960s they went back and gave folks option of either writing a letter to BLM to maintain surface rights, or if they didn’t respond meant you gave surface rights back,” Whittington said.

The BLM claims that a previous owner of the claim initially sent in a letter stating that he wanted to retain surface rights and then later sent the BLM another letter that relinquished his surface rights, Whittington said.

“So, that withdrawal in 1961 essentially gave the surface rights back to BLM. There was some negotiation, and he sent in a letter saying, ‘OK I withdraw my letter saying that I want to keep them,’ and so rights went back to BLM.”

Whittington alleged that the miners had violated regulations related to surface rights on the mining claim.

“Inspection of the area in January found they were in non-compliance, particularly with some surface rights stuff. [We] sent them a couple letters and we’re waiting to hear back from them with whether they’re going to appeal or take some other course of action, all of which are administrative in nature, Whittington said.

The two letters of non-compliance were intended to start dialogue between the miners and the BLM, Whittington said.

“The idea is to open up some communication … not to be heavy handed,” Whittington said. “What we’re saying is,‘Relax a little bit, stop your operations until we get everything in line with whatever process you want to pursue.’ ”

Despite the miners accusations that “BLM officials threatened to burn the buildings down,” as reported in the Shasta Lantern, Whittington said that forceful removal is not an option.

 “Not even a consideration,” said Whittington,explaining that the BLM has taken routine action with an administrative path for resolution.

While the BLM has burned surface areas for reclamation in the past after a court has decided the fate of a mining operation. The BLM will “burn it because it’s more expensive to tear it down and haul it all out,” Whittington said.

In cases where people are non-responsive and don’t communicate with the BLM, the matter will go to court and the court will decide what happens, but the situation at the Sugar Pine mining claim is “not anywhere close to that,” Whittington said.

Whittington said he does not have any details to offer about the miners’ FOIA requests.

George Backes of Grants Pass, Ore., one of the two claim owners on the title, did not return emails as of 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 15.

The Galice Mining District also did not return emails and phone calls. However, a Facebook post by Galice Mining District Chief Executive Officer stated, “On our way to the Sugar Pine Mine at Galice Oregon.”

Ron Gibson of the Jefferson Mining District in Oregon also did not return calls and emails.

Check back for further updates.

Brad Jones is the Managing Editor/Communications Director and Paul Louly, is the Web Manager for the Gold Prospectors Association of America and the Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association. Please send feedback to content@goldprospectors.org.

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News from New 49ers in Happy Camp about gold durdge mining

GOLD, Mining

Since the San Bernardino Superior Court ruled that California’s gold dredge permitting moratorium is unconstitutional, making their existing regulatory “scheme” unenforceable as a matter of law, we are not going to prohibit suction dredging on our mining properties.

According to its web site, The California Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) appears to be taking the position that the agency does not accept the Court’s ruling; although since the ruling, they have not issued citations to any active suction dredgers as far as we know. We do have active suction dredgers right out in plain sight on the Klamath River, with more excited prospectors arriving every day.

With the Moratorium and 2012 dredge regulations invalidated by the Court, it is difficult to assess which, if any, state regulations remain in effect, though federal rules and regulations do apply.

Since unregulated suction dredge activity is unacceptable on New 49’er properties, we are hereby adopting Emergency Rules concerning suction dredging for the duration of this period of uncertainty. We have carefully crafted these Rules from the DFW suction dredge regulations which applied to our properties during the 2009 season when the illegal moratorium was imposed. They have been modified slightly in consideration of concerns voiced during the San Bernardino legal proceedings, along with the ongoing drought situation in California.

You can read the whole video-enhanced explanation and find the Emergency Rules in our April newsletter here:


For those of you who are not yet New 49’ers members, please consider the special half-price offer on Associate Membership that we are extending to our Internet subscribers:


If you are new to our newsletter, you can read some recent back issues here:


All the best,

Dave Mack

The New 49er’s, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039, USA

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