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Limiting public access to mining area


Geo-George

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There is a spur road, off an established F.S. road, to the area of my placer mine.

In the interests of safety and reduce any liability on my part, I am concidering putting up a locked gate on the spur road to my mine. This spur road stops at my mine and does not provide access to other public areas. I would in no way be restricting recreational use of the F.S. road and public lands. :unsure:

This is what I have found, so far, regarding this issue.

"A claim holder does have the right to prevent others from prospecting and mining on his or her claim and also the right and duty to safely secure his or her operation from trespassers. However, the claim holder cannot prevent others from crossing his or her claim for uses recognized under the Multiple Surface Use Act of 1955 ( 30 USC 611-615 ) or engaging in the lawful recreational activities provided that they do not interfere with the claim holder's operations. ( United States v. Curtis-Nevada Mines, Inc. 415 F. Supp. 1373 [E.D. Cal. 1976]. Aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 611 F. 2nd 1277 [9th Cir. 1980])" (emphasis added)

I would like to get some input about the possible installation of the locked gate.

Granted, I'm looking for conjecture and opinions, but any arguements may be helpful when I approach my dist. ranger with the plan to install a locked gate. I have also concidered providing a key to the dist. ranger, should they need access for fire control.

Thanks in advance for any input.

George

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Sorry George, but unless you have complete ownership of the land (not just mining rights), you will not be able to erect a fence/locked gate. Without complete ownership, any law enforcement agency (FS/BLM/County Sheriff/County employees) would need complete access to that spur and the adjacent land. That means that with a locked gate there would need to be keys provided and as a non County/State/Federal employee, you would not have the authorization to hand out keys to them.

The passage means you can be there protecting your claim and you can lock up your stuff, but a locked gate just isnt allowed.

On a lighter note, perhaps a big old looking sign with skull and crossbones saying something like horrible things will happen to those that enter..... :hahaha:

Of Course if your like most of us and see a sign like that, it makes me want to go see the critter even more. :inocent:

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George,

I not very knowledgeable on laws concerning this question, but I think that it would not be allowed or illegal for you to do so.

As HPS stated I think it would have to be private property before you could do this, you do however have the right to restrict access to the immediate area of your workings/mining to insure that no one get injured which you could be libel for or affects your mining operation, i.e. fencing off or barricading the entrance to an adit, and any mining supplies/buildings/equipment, or any areas that may endanger you while mining, i.e. if others users of the area were to drive over your underground placer mine and possibly cause it to collapse.

Skip

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My major concern is any liability for which I may be held responcible if someone were injured on my site. People are so dang sue happy, I 'd hate to lose everything I own to a lame brained trespasser. I don't feel, and I don't believe that a court would either, that a mere sign of warning would be sufficient. And, as you pointed out, signs may just encourage the looky-lou. I'm thinking, "Reasonable Deterant" and my protection from any liability. :hmmmmm:

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If your within BLM, or Forest Property and I trip on your peace of cable holding up the pole, I will sue you for every holding you have.

Welcome to Our World!

:tisk-tisk::inocent:

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Hey Geo-George, great question. The gate is a bad idea. Even with the gate, which most likely is not legal, you are still not addressing the liability problem - as you see it. You must post signs, take all sensible precautions to protect your property and the public as they interact with your BLM operation. Then you must document those actions and precautions. Once that is done, you have done what any prudent person can do. Don’t put up fences. They draw problems and bad karma. Cheers! :thumbsupanim – Terry

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George

The only way you can gate a road on federal land

is with a Plan of Operations. But you have to show

a real need for a gate such as hazards to the public

or protection of valuable equipment,for gating a

mining claim.

Sometimes a district Ranger will approve a gate for

certain reasons too. If he feels that the road is not

of any real benefit to the public,or wants to limit

use in the area,sometimes they will allow a gate.

Also on the lock thing,the Forest Service will insist

on having their own lock on the gate along with any

agency and private locks. The Forest Service uses locks

that are keyed alike ,so that any employee that needs

access has a key. They also provide keys to the Fish &

Game,State people,and local law enforcement.

I work behind locked Forest Service gates a lot,some

of those gates have 20 pounds of locks on the chains ,

including mine. Of course my reason for being behind

locked gates are covered by contracts with a POO.

Talk to the district Ranger ,they may want to limit

access to the area too,for other reasons. There is a

small drawback to gating a federal road though. Most

times you accept liability for any damage or repair,

plus a bond,and you get to see the FS quite often.

Also if you operate above casual use,you don't want

to hear what happens with that road. :whaaaa:

Then there is always the real chance that,when you

approach the ranger with the gate idea,and he finds

out you are actually working the claim. He will insist

that the road is brought to Forest Service specs for

commercial use. That is when you will learn the phrase,

We can't deny your right to mine,but we can make it so

expensive you can't afford to. Been there done that! :wacko:

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If your within BLM, or Forest Property and I trip on your peace of cable holding up the pole, I will sue you for every holding you have.

Welcome to Our World!

:tisk-tisk::inocent:

Now there's a prime example of my concern. <_<

Through someone's ignorance, just bein' outright clumsy, or maybe a little money hungry, I am at fault?

I guess a consultation with an attorney is in order. :huh:

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My budy Jim Rotta went this route through a huge legal quagmire-many MANY court hearings,lawyers fees,years of multiple tickets and fines and many MULTIPLE expensive gates and posts(a d-9 will tear out 'purt near anything) and not worth the hassle. Bottom line is the populas also has the right to egress,regress,camp,hunt,fish,atv and you will spend years and buckets a cash trying to prevent this EXCEPT on private property. Bummer is miners are usually the MUCH better steward of public lands as we spend many MANY hours and $$$ cleaning up others messes-John

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It is all up to your district manager. If you can convince him that it is needed. Here in Cali we got one on our road but it has to be made to forestry regs and they have to have there own lock on it [with yours].

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It is all up to your district manager. If you can convince him that it is needed. Here in Cali we got one on our road but it has to be made to forestry regs and they have to have there own lock on it [with yours].

Thanks

As I mentioned before, I'm going to meet with my dist. ranger regarding a few issues.

I'm still concerned about, and researching my potential liabilities, with or without the gate.

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Found this great link to mining laws, rules, and regulations! B)

http://law.justia.com/us/cfr/title43/43-2.1.1.3.73.html#PartTop

Contained there in,....

"§ 3802.4-5 Maintenance and public safety.

During all operations, the operator shall maintain his structures, equipment, and other facilities in a safe and orderly manner. Hazardous sites or conditions resulting from operations shall be marked by signs, fenced, or otherwise identified to protect the public in accordance with applicable Federal and State laws and regulations."

I'm startin' to get a feelin' I may have found something here. :brows:

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That's just great for a real mine with a

POO and bonds,but a casual use operation doesn't

qualify,for gates or fences. You have to have a real

proven mine with a Poo and show a need to qualify for

security gates and fences.

If you are digging holes big enough,or have equipment

that could pose a public hazard,you need a POO,and bonds,

plus all the permits.

The only fence that a casual prospector can use is just

a temporary fence around the perimeter of a hole with

warning signs or a cover over said hole,with flagging

and warning signs.

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If you want to fence a hole, or put up a sign that informs folks of a danger you can certainly do that on BLM or FS claims, providing the claims rep knows and agrees to it. Just call them and ask them for their help.

I have fenced holes, gated dead end roads, as well as installed signs on claims. If there are actually hazards there wil be no problems. You dont need a POO to fence old holes nor to gate a road if you have the permission of the authorities.

You can install signs that read "Danger, open mine" or things to that nature with permission too. Just remember that you are admitting to having a hazard on your claim and this opens you up for liability.

There is a big "mine closure and reclamation program" going on all over the west and there is a big push to fence and fill open shafts that may pose a problem to the public. If this is the case just call the FS or BLM and ask them about it. I have been allowed to close a road that led nowhere (it was not used for access across public land), and fence 2 holes on a claim for safety reasons...No POO or other permits. Just the permission from the claims adjudicator person.

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I haven't heard anyone mention insurance.

I would think that the prospecting clubs would have to carry something.

It appears to me that a "bond" only insures that you won't destroy the terrain.

Does any one here carry any insurance against public liability?

Ya see, my issue is not so much whether I can put up a gate or fence, I'm trying to protect myself from liabilities. :(

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Bedrock Bob

The fence thing is pretty much the same as I

told George. Except you made a huge error about

fencing an old existing shaft,filling in one or

fencing any existing hazard.

If you remember when the two little girls drove

their 4 wheeler into the mine shaft at Chloride AZ,

then you can recall some facts.

Jim Smaller ,several other people and I spent days

trying to deal with the BLM about fencing or filling

old workings. We offered to fence or fill dangerous

workings for free. We even had the State mine inspector

helping us in our effort.

Their answer was not what anyone would ever expect. It

was a big waste of time on our part.

Their position is,if you fence or use any part of an

old workings on your claim,then you become liable for

any accidents or damage caused,and can be held liable

for any reclamation or law suits.

Their position on the offer to fill or fence old mines

was even worse. The BLM or Forest Service can't be liable

for injury to a person or persons doing this service as

volunteers. The local district Ranger or BLM agency can

not approve the act of filling in any existing mine.This

is handled by a list ,and all closures are regulated by

the State and Federal government,with permits for the

individual closure. All you can do is submit a dangerous

workings to the State or Feds for closure.

This is what they said about fencing an old mine. They

will not be liable for any accidents that result from

someone passing through,under or over a fence installed

by a private party or parties. They told us unless we

were prepared to accept all future liabilities ,don't

even think about it.

Most of the members here know that what I have stated

is fact.

I also told George that there may be a slim chance

that a District Ranger may agree to gating a road if it

suits their agenda. But there is a real danger that just

bringing up the subject ,could back fire on him big time.

The big problem there is most Rangers would rather kiss

a skunk than help a small miner,or prospector. Keep it

small,keep it simple,and don't invite the ranger to the

party unless you are prepared to go by the book,and have

a thick check book.

George My advice to you is,if there is something on that

claim ,as a result of your activities that worries you

about liability. Run don't walk to a good general liability

insurance agent. That is your only real way to deal with

the liability involved. Any operator on federal land is

liable for any damage or injury to any person or property

caused by his actions or negligence period.

If there is a hazard or hazards that existed before you

got the claim,and you haven't altered or made use of them

you are not liable for them. They are still Forest Service

property and they are liable until you use or alter them.

Just so you know I contract and do business on Federal

land and have for over 40 years. Forest roads are a large

part of my business. I just sold a road grader that had

several thousand hours on it,99 percent of it was from

maintaining Forest Service roads,for logging,drilling and

mining companies.Building,closing,and maintaining Forest

Service and BLM roads ,and the regulations concerning them

is part of my business. Right now the road thing is a real

issue on FS managed land,and can get real complicated.

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" Any operator on federal land is

liable for any damage or injury to any person or property

caused by his actions or negligence period."

That's just what I thought, and why I'm concerned.

Yes, I am working a mine that was present when I opened my claim.

"Run don't walk to a good general liability

insurance agent."

I'm on it!

I'll call an agent today.

Many thanks to all for the replies. :wubu:

George

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Bedrock Bob

The fence thing is pretty much the same as I

told George. Except you made a huge error about

fencing an old existing shaft,filling in one or

fencing any existing hazard.

If you remember when the two little girls drove

their 4 wheeler into the mine shaft at Chloride AZ,

then you can recall some facts.

Jim Smaller ,several other people and I spent days

trying to deal with the BLM about fencing or filling

old workings. We offered to fence or fill dangerous

workings for free. We even had the State mine inspector

helping us in our effort.

Their answer was not what anyone would ever expect. It

was a big waste of time on our part.

Their position is,if you fence or use any part of an

old workings on your claim,then you become liable for

any accidents or damage caused,and can be held liable

for any reclamation or law suits.

Their position on the offer to fill or fence old mines

was even worse. The BLM or Forest Service can't be liable

for injury to a person or persons doing this service as

volunteers. The local district Ranger or BLM agency can

not approve the act of filling in any existing mine.This

is handled by a list ,and all closures are regulated by

the State and Federal government,with permits for the

individual closure. All you can do is submit a dangerous

workings to the State or Feds for closure.

This is what they said about fencing an old mine. They

will not be liable for any accidents that result from

someone passing through,under or over a fence installed

by a private party or parties. They told us unless we

were prepared to accept all future liabilities ,don't

even think about it.

Most of the members here know that what I have stated

is fact.

I also told George that there may be a slim chance

that a District Ranger may agree to gating a road if it

suits their agenda. But there is a real danger that just

bringing up the subject ,could back fire on him big time.

The big problem there is most Rangers would rather kiss

a skunk than help a small miner,or prospector. Keep it

small,keep it simple,and don't invite the ranger to the

party unless you are prepared to go by the book,and have

a thick check book.

George My advice to you is,if there is something on that

claim ,as a result of your activities that worries you

about liability. Run don't walk to a good general liability

insurance agent. That is your only real way to deal with

the liability involved. Any operator on federal land is

liable for any damage or injury to any person or property

caused by his actions or negligence period.

If there is a hazard or hazards that existed before you

got the claim,and you haven't altered or made use of them

you are not liable for them. They are still Forest Service

property and they are liable until you use or alter them.

Just so you know I contract and do business on Federal

land and have for over 40 years. Forest roads are a large

part of my business. I just sold a road grader that had

several thousand hours on it,99 percent of it was from

maintaining Forest Service roads,for logging,drilling and

mining companies.Building,closing,and maintaining Forest

Service and BLM roads ,and the regulations concerning them

is part of my business. Right now the road thing is a real

issue on FS managed land,and can get real complicated.

That is not the way it works in this district. The feds have hired Schlumburger to close any hole they think is a hazard. My good friend (Embree Hale) had his silver mine filled completely by the feds against his wishes just last year. The Ingersol MIne is no longer! The "Bridal Chamber" at Lake Valley was filled with compacted tires and foam. In the last five years the feds have contracted for filing almost all of the Torpedo/Benett/Stevenson chain as well as dozens of old holes at PA. The BLM has told me straight up as a claim owner if I do not attempt to mitigate existing hazards that I am liable for them.

I will post the link to the mine closure program. Right now there are many contracts for this and there are more solicitations for bid.. What you were willing to do for free a while ago they are paying to do right now.

The fence is a liability only if is not built to federal highway specs. That was the sticker on my fence. It had to be built to spec and inspected. That way it could not be called an attractive nuisance if someone leaned over and it collapsed.

You can not insure against negligence. Any suit brought against a claim holder for an attractive nuisance, failed fence, or most of the liability a claim holder without an operation would have would be negligence. An insurance man will sell you a policy, but that policy would not help you with 90% of all accidents due to an old hole etc. on your claim.

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Here is a link to the "fact sheet" for the BLM Abandoned Mines Lands program and a cut and paste paragraph that sums it all up pretty well.

Bob

http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/Abandoned_Mine_Lands/frequently_asked_questions.print.html

What are some of the ways BLM addresses hazards at abandoned mine sites?

BLM addresses physical safety hazards associated with abandoned mine sites by:

• Posting warning signs and fencing off access to dangerous areas;

• Closing horizontal opening (adits) to keep people out. Where bats are present, BLM uses bat gates that allow them to use the adit for habitat;

• Closing vertical openings (shafts) either by filling them, or by covering them with little roofs (cupolas); and/or

• Removing and properly disposing hazards such as mining and milling equipment, oil and chemical drums, and other debris.

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Bedrock Bob

Most liability law suits are caused by someones

negligent actions. The insurance companies are the

ones that get to pay any damages in nearly every case.

Contracts to close mines is how it works everywhere.

The mines that get closed are on a federal list for

closure and the contractor doesn't get to just run around

picking mines to close. These workings have to be checked

by the EPA,Fish and Wildlife,and several other agencies

to be approved for closure. There is a heck of a lot more

to it than most people imagine.

They closed several old coal mines here a couple years ago.

It took years to get the OK for closure,and permits to

close them. It took two years just to get the bat people

to decide which one to close or which one to gate.

Like I said the same is true for fences.All work has to

be done to federal specs,by the feds or legal contractors,

qualified and accepted to do the work.They will not accept

or approve a fence built by a private individual,even if it

is free.

Also None of the roads with locked gates I have worked

behind on Forest land were private gates to protect a

private interest. All were installed by the Forest Service

for protection of wildlife or resources. Yes Bob this

includes New Mexico too. As a matter of fact it is illegal

to even leave a machine sitting in a spur road without

having a route around it on a timber sale.Even the temp

spur roads that we build have to be open to the public

until final closure of the sale.

On some jobs there is several million dollars worth of

equipment,and lots of hazards .We are only allowed to have

a watchman and no gates or fences.

Oh yeah, our job's are fully covered by a general liability

policy in a staggering amount,plus a special timber policy.

All our trucks carry a two million dollar liability policy

too. The person that is at fault gets to pay for damages,

most times it is a negligent action that causes the fault,

hence insurance. Being drunk while driving is about as

negligent as it gets. The company that insured the drunk

that hit my Son darn sure payed for his negligence. :twocents:

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Whatever Sawmill. We both know the rules and have worked with them for too many years to sit here and split hairs. Of course we are both right to some extent, and neither of us are really wrong.

The fact reamins that the BLM oversees all activities and whether or not they really allowed me to fence that hole and shut that road is irrelevant to all but me. Nothing can be done without their approval and if you cant seem to get any cooperation from them and I seem to be able to work with the rules it does not say a darn thign about the rules as much as it says about our individual approach to te situation.

Lots of fenced holes out there. Lots of mines filled both by contractors and claimants. How it got done may have been a "big mistake" in your book, and the fact that the government would not pay for your injuries while fencing a hole may have been an issue for you, but not so much for me. My motivation was safety and to reduce my liability. I got aproval and did it with no hassles and no injuries and now the hazard has been mitigated. My negligence, which is uninsurable, will never come into play and I feel that I have done the right thing both for me and the general public who visit the area.

My claims rep is John Bessey in the Las Cruces office. I realize that it makes no difference to you because you are vested in being right all the time, but I suggest you give him a call and see how the BLM in New Mexico handles this situation. Sure there are legal issues and requirements, but fencing holes for safety is a no brainer that happens all over the state every day.

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I spoke with an insurance agent today.

Each individual that has interest in a claim is "generally" covered by their home owner's insurance. One would need to check with their insurance company to verify this, as policies do differ.

I'm expecting more calls from the agent regarding this issue.

As I find out more, I'll pass it along.

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I'm right in there with the loggin' aspect.

Used ta was one!

My Dad was a Woods Boss for a lumber company.

I used to cruise timber with him and later worked in the woods.

"You", in general, are told right out the gate, that you have to

carry insurance. I have yet to meet a miner/claim owner that was so informed.

So, I guess I don't have to, but I'm goin' to.

If I gotta loose everything, it sure as'ell ain't gonna be from somebody

fallin' in a hole. <_<

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