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Fool's Gold

Ten Problems with gold mining

by Project Underground

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Over 85% of gold mined today will end up as jewelry tomorrow. Gold mining is not an essential industry like the harvesting of food or even paper production. It is certainly not sustainable, nor is it just. Yet the cumulative impacts of gold mining worldwide, on local economies and ecosystems, are at least as bad as those of industrial forestry and agribusiness. With more than 66% of all new mining exploration in the hard-rock sector currently focused on gold, the problems are going to get worse for people and places around the planet. Here's why:

1. GENOCIDE

Every major gold rush has meant death and devastation for local people at the hands of fortune-seekers. California's Native American nations were decimated first by the diseases the 49ers brought with them, then by the new California state government, which put bounties on the heads of native people. Today the Galamsey of West Africa, the Igorot of the Philippines, and the Macuxi and Yanomami of the Amazon are similarly endangered. The Yanomami, for example, had little contact with the rest of Brazil until the arrival of the first garimpciros (gold miners) in the 1970s. By 1989, an estimated 40,000 miners had flocked to the area, polluting rivers and spreading malaria. Decimated by disease, the number of Yanomamis living in Brazil (many also live in Venezuela) fell from 20,000 to about 8,000 in just 20 years. In the words of Yanomami representative Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, "What we do not want are the mining companies, which destroy the forest, and the garimpciros, who bring so many diseases. These whites must respect our Yanomami land. The garimpciros bring guns, alcohol, prostitution, and destroy nature wherever they go. The machines spill oil into the rivers and kill the life existing in them and the people and animals who depend on them. For us, this is not progress."

2. WATER

Damage to water and water resources is the worst environmental consequence of gold mining. From California's Sierra Nevada in the 1850s to the lands of the Pemon in Venezuela today, people have ruined rivers by using high-pressure hoses to spray down the banks and sifting through the sediment for gold. Runoff flows downstream, destroying plant and fish life. But modern mining is even more destructive of water resources: the gold industry in Nevada - where most gold in the United States is mined - consumes more water than all the people in the state. The water table has fallen as much as 1,000 feet around some of the largest open-pit gold mines in northeastern Nevada, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. One of the mines consumes 100 million gallons per day - ac much as the city of Austin, Texac. And that's not all: Water systems around mines are contaminated by cyanide and other processing chemicals, and the acid mine drainage that runs off exposed rock.

3. WASTE ROCK

To make a simple gold wedding band, at least 2.8 tons of earth are excavated. The gold-mining industry generates an enormous amount of waste compared to its product: The 2,402 tons of gold produced in 1997 resulted in 725 million tons of waste, which was contaminated with metals, acids, and solvents, according to Worldwatch lnstitute. The standard ratio of waste production in the U.S. gold-mining industry is one to three million, meaning that for every ton of gold produced there are three million tons of waste rock. Most of the unsightly mess left behind is exposed to weathering and will ultimately leach acid and heavy metals into the local area at great ecological cost.

4. CORPORATE WELFARE

In many countries, gold-mining companies are allowed "free entry" to public lands for mineral exploitation. In the United States, it is not entirely free - but the companies only pay $5 an acre to "patent" a patch of federal land and open it to mining. Since 1872, the government has "sold" land equivalent in size to the state of Connecticut under this law. This land contained $245 billion worth of minerals! Pushed by corporate advisors, developing countries are adopting similar land policies as well. Since 1994, more than 70 countries have changed their laws to attract foreign gold-mining companies. As a result, the gold-mining industry in the global South is booming: Between 1991 and 1997, exploration investments doubled in Africa, quadrupled in the Pacific region, and expanded by six times in Latin America. Since a "pro-development" mining act was adopted in 1995 in the Philippines, over a quarter of the country's land surface has been handed over as gold mining prospects.

5. INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

In the United States - the world's second biggest gold producer - more than 70% of gold is ripped from native lands. The Western Shoshone, whose traditional domain covers most of Nevada, are the unhappy hosts to more than three dozen open-pit gold mines on their land, many at least a mile wide and a mile deep, with toxic ponds at the bottom. The U.S. government has continually denied the Western Shoshone their land and treaty rights, as it increasingly allocates Nevada's lands to multinational mining. The story repeats itself around the globe. In Ghana, in the mid-1990s, thousands of traditional farmers were evicted and replaced by World Bank-sponsored gold mining operations covering hundreds of square kilometers. It is now estimated that 50% of gold produced in the next 20 years will come from indigenous peoples' lands.

6. CYANIDE

Cyanide is the chemical of choice for mining companies to extract gold from crushed ore. Very low-grade ore, with minimal residues of gold, is crushed and piled on the ground, then sprayed with a cyanide solution. No mine has ever avoided leaking cyanide into the ecosystem. In 1998, a cyanide spill on a Canadian-owned gold mine in Kyrgyzstan resulted in four deaths and the evacuation of thousands of people living downstream. At one southern Colorado mine, Summitville, taxpayers have already paid out $100 million for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to simply contain - not clean up - contamination of local rivers.

7. MERCURY

For centuries, mercury has been used to chemically separate gold from ore, leading to major public-health problems for miners and communities around mining districts. During the California Gold Rush, 7,600 tons of mercury were released into local rivers and lakes, resulting in neurological disorders and deaths amongst people exposed to this deadly toxin. More than 50% of mercury exposure today in the San Francisco Bay area is an historic legacy of the 1849 gold rush. Furthermore, millions of small-scale miners use mercury, from the Amazon - where they have invaded indigenous reservations - to the Philippines, resulting in the worst recent outbreaks of Minamata (or "Mad Hatter'.s") disease. Of 500,000 gold miners tested in Brazil, more than 30% showed mercury levels above the World Health Organization's tolerable limits.

8. DOWRY

Nearly 80% of gold is sold as jewelry, most of it in India. In 1998, the country's gold consumption added up to 815 metric tons, nearly twice that of the United States. This is not, however, a simple tale of vanity or excessive consumption. It is part of the dowry women pay for a man's hand in marriage. Activists working around the gold industry aim both to redress the abuses of mining for communities living in mineral producing areas, and to challenge the patriarchy that forces women to hold gold as their only fallback in times of scarcity. Indian women and activists fighting the dowry system are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of gold production worldwide. As long as there is pressure on Indian women to own gold, however, it can be derived from non-virgin production. Gold in the vaults of the "developed world" could feed the demand even for India's market for years to come

9. DUD INVESTMENT According to Merrill Lynch, gold is "the duddest of dud investments." Ever since the U.S. dollar went off the gold standard. gold has had no special value as a commodity, with only 280 tons going to industrial uses per year. Yet some people continue to hoard it. The price of gold has been slowly dropping and is now well below the price of its production at many modern mines, which means companies mining new or "virgin" gold are a bad investment. Even the 35,000 tons of gold bullion held in central banks have lost 30% of their value over the last decade- a huge waste of taxpayer assets. Some governments are already beginning to sell off their gold reserves. In the last five years, the Argentine, Australian, Belgian, British, Canadian, Dutch, and Swiss central banks have sold large quantities of gold, as has the International Monetary Fund. causing the price of gold to plummet.

10. ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS

Contamination and waste of water, destruction of habitat and biodiversity, industrialization of wilderness, road-building, and waste-dumping in mined areas all negatively impact the environment around gold mines. "Frontier forests" - the last remaining old growth stands - are under siege from gold exploration. Fisheries suffer from heavy siltation and toxic run-off into waterways from gold mines. Today, mines scrape away and dig up more earth than do the world's rivers through natural erosion! The impact on wildlife is hard to calculate, but between 1980 and 1990 seven thousand birds were found dead near cyanide-laced ponds at gold mines in California, Nevada, and Arizona - the tip of the iceberg of gold mine-related wildlife deaths.

Project Underground is a Berkeley-based organization that provides informational, technical, legal, and scientific support for communities facing abusive oil, gas, and mining operations. A poster version of "Fool's Gold" and other materials on the social and environmental costs of mining and oil drilling are available from Project Underground's website www.moles.org.

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Bill- I wouldn't be too concerned about it. If you look up the organization on the internet, it says the organization was disbanded in 2002, due to lack of funds. So it is old news. They just continue to have their page up. It is weird- you go to their page and it talks about removing warts and moles, combined with a bunch of 404 pages.

My guess is yours and my hitting that site may have been the first time in years anyone has gone there.

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It is not the organization or Website, it is the sentiment of the words that you should be alarmed by. The green meanies are teaching this to you kids and grandkids. It is unfortunate, that most unsophisticated hobbyists are content to give their money to organizations like PLP, who just drop our money back into a corrupt system.

For years I have been preaching Education and Public Outreach/Relations as a focus, funded by American Mining companies. We need to explain that, without mining, we would have no civilization. That mining is a not just a right, it is a necessity and our heritage. We need to spend our money winning hearts and minds, EDUCATING Grade school kids and getting them involved. This fight will take decades people. It started in the 1970's - Remember Earth Day?

If you think you can protect your right to gold prospect by giving your money to ANY organization that FOCUSES on Lawsuits, and FIGHTING Washington, then you deserve the results you are bound to get… ZIP!

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It is not the organization or Website, it is the sentiment of the words that you should be alarmed by. The green meanies are teaching this to you kids and grandkids. It is unfortunate, that most unsophisticated hobbyists are content to give their money to organizations like PLP, who just drop our money back into a corrupt system.

For years I have been preaching Education and Public Outreach/Relations as a focus, funded by American Mining companies. We need to explain that, without mining, we would have no civilization. That mining is a not just a right, it is a necessity and our heritage. We need to spend our money winning hearts and minds, EDUCATING Grade school kids and getting them involved. This fight will take decades people. It started in the 1970's - Remember Earth Day?

If you think you can protect your right to gold prospect by giving your money to ANY organization that FOCUSES on Lawsuits, and FIGHTING Washington, then you deserve the results you are bound to get… ZIP!

I agree with much of what you say Terry and the very attitude displayed in that article is what we are dealing with from a huge number of fronts including the very system educating our kids, but the attack must be directed at both fronts to be successful period wether I need to donate, partisipate, or.....

Giving up trying to work within and change a corrupt system will only result in regulating us out of exixtance while the kids are then educated about what was not what needs to be preserved.

Where all the venom comes from from many here tword those actually standing up to do something for our own benifit comes from eludes me ?....?

If there is a better way or you think the ones trying are doing it wrong then we need to come up with a plan, funding, and crew and get it going, if not then we need to start somewhere and that is getting involved with those trying to do something and if you don't like their ideas add some of your own.

We as an industry tagged and under attack, but spend more time bitching about how others are trying to make changes without offering and real solution while the powers that work against us move steadily ahead in their efforts.

Why not try to focus on what is being done well along with the things that could be improived upon and use this forum to relay that very message instead of blasting those trying to support us?

I agree fully that a non-profit needs to be able to fully disclose their spending and also agree more openness is needed, but first we have to be willing to listen and discuss instead of critisisim without offering a fix.

This forum is FREE and the PLP does not have to spend money to join (not sure why they thought that) and help fix the relationship they have with the very same public they are serving, us the miners and yes some debate may get heated, but without us ALL getting involved and putting aside differences we are screwed my friends.

But I also feel if the PLP and those running it are not willing to partisipate here and elsewhere to get their message out and purpose defined to those supporting them then their support will slowly wain and we will be back to square one.

LETS GET IT TOGETHER PEOPLE!

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Bill as I noted on the other forum, when I tried to post without paying, it wouldn't let me. So I am sure that both Jerry and I, separately felt that this was a pay only site. I would review how you word the admission requirements. I am somewhat dislexic, so that may be my excuse, and I am not sure how Jerry read it, but we both read it the same. I think in my case. the misunderstanding was caused by as soon as you register, you are given a membership form with different member paying member options. When I saw it, I was a bit taken aback, but I joined anyway. He probably flinched and thought as I did that it was pay only.

As far as this topic is concerned, this is one of the main reasons Western Mining Alliance was formed. Just about all the media out there is negative to the Prospectors/Miners. What we would like to see is a compilation of pro-prospecting/mining on our website- no matter where they were originally posted- there needs to be some source for OUR SIDE OF THE STORY. Currently we have a few really good articles written by our Vice President, Eric Maksymyk- but ideally, we'd like to see submissions from everyone who has something to say.

If I were to request articles, I'd like to see the following topics:

Living the Prospector/ Miner Lifestyle

What I have found while dredging the rivers

Garbage recovered

Pro mining mercury studies

An expose on the whole DSEIR process in CA (and the apparent widespread use of opinon rather than science)

An expose on the flawed science used to come up with the conclusions at Humbug Creek (and public humuliation of the scientists involved)

An expose on the process of peer review of the BS study at Humbug Creek (and public humuliation of those scientists too)

Flawed Science in regards to the whole environmentalist attacks on mining & prospecting

Pro-dredging fish studies

How dredging can improve a waterway

Fish LOVE dredgers

Dredgers clean rivers daily, enviromentalists wait for a single day each year and promote the hell out of it

No one is cleaning the rivers except the dredgers

Historical articles explaining the lore of mining

Soon, WMA will start a series on a talk-shoe program interviewing scientists, engineers, pro- mining environmentalists, miners, prospectors, historians, book authors, etc to promote the positive aspects of our industry. It's a long time coming.

In short, not one single entity has taken on the aspect of providing the Prospectors/Miners point of view on a National Scale. Time has come for push back.

If you are a burgenoning writer and would like to tackle these or any other topics dear to your heart and would like to see it published in a public database, we would be proud to offer that public exposure to you. Write to your heart's content and submit your articles to us and we will proudly post them on our site with your attributes.

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Many years ago I told a prospecting club that we all and by meaning all I mean all organizations, Prospectors, Miners, Back Country Horsemen, Trout Unlimited, ATV Clubs, Hunting Clubs, Loggers, Land Grazing Organizations, all have to unite as one front. If not, we all lose. I believe the prospectors and miners are the weakest link in the chain and as soon as we are gone, then the next weakest link will be attacked.

We are all users of public lands and can't afford to be bickering or fighting among ourselves.

Allen

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Bill- I think you are doing a dis-service to yourself by removing the pay process- just make sure at the beginning of the registration process, it is plainly stated that the forums are FREE if a person cannot afford to pay, but you would appreciate some sort of payment if someone can afford.

As a salesperson, the first thing you learn is you have to ASK FOR THE SALE. And if your registration process neglects this, your funding may radically drop. So I would leave the page there, but in big letters before anyone types in their name, state that a person doesn't have to pay if they don't want to.

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Bill- I think you are doing a dis-service to yourself by removing the pay process- just make sure at the beginning of the registration process, it is plainly stated that the forums are FREE if a person cannot afford to pay, but you would appreciate some sort of payment if someone can afford.

As a salesperson, the first thing you learn is you have to ASK FOR THE SALE. And if your registration process neglects this, your funding may radically drop. So I would leave the page there, but in big letters before anyone types in their name, state that a person doesn't have to pay if they don't want to.

Thanks Rick, I'll look into that. It is still available now, but only after registration and if folks like the forum and want to help support it great! All money we collect goes to paying the fee for our upgraded server package we had to change to when we just got to large for previous system.

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Many years ago I told a prospecting club that we all and by meaning all I mean all organizations, Prospectors, Miners, Back Country Horsemen, Trout Unlimited, ATV Clubs, Hunting Clubs, Loggers, Land Grazing Organizations, all have to unite as one front. If not, we all lose. I believe the prospectors and miners are the weakest link in the chain and as soon as we are gone, then the next weakest link will be attacked. We are all users of public lands and can't afford to be bickering or fighting among ourselves. Allen

Very well put. This is the only way. Our fight has been compared to David and Goliath. If we unite around recreation users of Public Lands rather than as "Miners" we can prevail.

The write up that Bill posted at the start of this thread is based on truth but does not represent the prospector or small miner. No one can deny that there have been problems with large mining operations in the past. We bear that cross willingly it seems by turning to large mining to be our voice and holding up the Mining Act as a defense. We should be allying with the recreationalist/small miner and distance ourselves from the negative image of strip mines and leach piles. We are analogous to the hunter or fisherman or horseman in our direct impact to the land. We should enjoy the same respect when rules and regulations are created and enforced.

A prospector is to big mining as the deer hunter is to the slaughter of the buffalo. If we dont get real and start comparing and contrasting how the recreationalist differs from the Cliftom/Morenci pit then we are going to lose our right to our hobby. Let the large mining operations fend for themselves. We are a part of "multiple use" and "minimal impact" but our voice is that of big mining and corporate greed. We can support big mining of course but we need to fight our own fight as individuals and recreationalists that have a right to enjoy their HOBBY.

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One thing to consider.... It is much easier to lobby against a "hobby" and have it regulated out of existence than to lobby against an industry and get the same results when it gets down to brass tacks from what I have seen in the past and that is the basis for me thinking involvement of all the mining industry is important. I think teaching the public about mining and why it is important easier than trying to sway to public opinion when ever they like or dislike something I guess.....

Like it or not to this same public will simply go after the weakest link first then to the next and so on. Guess I just have trouble bowing to public opinion because it is what got us where we are now.....

Though in reality is is what it is all about anyway one way or another, getting millions of people that dislike us or misunderstand us to work with us.... um..... swaying public opinion.

So in all my wisdom I have really said nothing super useful I suppose, but I did vent some frustration at the absurdity of it all. I wish I was able to see a real workable solution on the horizon, but it looks very bleak.

I will have to support those with more wisdom in such matters and :fl:

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It is very difficult to make a law restricting a hobby that has minimal impact on public land unless you can connect them with a larger issue. Almost impossible. There would be no support for restricting metal detecting or small scale drywashing. But a crusade to battle "Mining"? Now that should bring in the donations!

For some reason we visualize all supporters of environmental issues to be radical environmentalists. They are not. But the radical environmentalist is the face we have come to see when we think of these issues. And corporate despoilers of the earth and wannabe Davey Crocketts is what "they" see. We each play our roles very well.

The miners and prospectors have rights under the mining act that is a fight all by itself. Laws are laws and there are very good issues on BOTH sides of that fight. But that should not ever preclude the individual from going out on his public land and being able to recover placer gold or collect rocks, hunt, fish, ride a horse, birdwatch, or hug trees.

Groups that align themselves with responsible use rather than old political battles seem to move forward faster. 4WD clubs and ATV'ers work with the enviro groups and the BLM and pitch in with cleanups, etc.etc. When they are on opposite sides of the table there is respect and common ground there. And the Horsemen may ante up on behalf of the ATV'ers if a couple of the bigger organizations work out some logical trail ettiquette. Even skiers and snowboarders cooperate on certain issues as do boaters and jet skiers.

Historical re-enacters have access to sites that are off limits to anyone. The Santa Fe Botanical Society manages the old gold mines in the Ortiz mountains as a park and botanical preserve for everyone. It shoulda been a group of smart prospectors that sidestepped the fight and offered a creative solution to the problems that existed. Like a mining museum and a spot to find a few colors for everyone. But they fought to keep the right to "Mine" and now it is a flower garden. Do you see a pattern developing?

The NRA represents ALL gun users. Not just hunters, not just collectors, not just target shooters. ALL users of guns. There shuld be a powerful organization that represents ALL users of public land. There are HUGE organizations that champion environmental issues. How else could we counter that? Waving the contitution and the Mining Act in their face with a cheap lawyer ain't cuttin' it.

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That indeed makes good since Bob, organizing to protect use of public land will bring in tons of support from all public land users, campers, prospectors, horsemen, fishermen, prospectors, etc.

If we are but one on a list of concerned organizations concerned about losing the use of public land only without signaling out any one group we are much stronger.....

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The orgazational structure of the Sierra Club is perfect. It allows for localized involvement, cross communication between smaller organizations that support them, and a support base that includes many groups that would be conflicting with each other if they werent fighting toward a comon cause (synergy multiplies effect). If every prospector's group came together as one and provided a business structure, and then invited all legitimate, non professional land users to support them I believe it would gel. If you could garner support and advice from existing groups such as the NRA or the Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation, Etc.Etc. and got it going it would take on life of its own as (if) leaders emerged.

It is either that or try to fight Goliath with a rag and a couple of black rocks. It would allow the higher level fights to be fought at that level by the stronger organization and the "hobby specific" issues to be more effectively fought by organizations like PLP, and WMA at a grass roots level in their geographic area.

The pissed off people are out there and the numbers are growing. They are being herded this way and that and they are not organized. Unless they get organized they are slave to whatever organization there is. The enviros are organized and strong and work together. We are not and will not and we are weak. In my opinion that is the problem in a nutshell.

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Bill and Bob

I am inclined to agree with you people in numbers are power, the NRA has a lot of clout

they are even responsible for some of our gun leglislation here we all use the same public

land 4 byers,quaders,hunters,campers,hikers and on and on we need to police ourselves

Leave it cleaner than when we went there leave no one a reason to lobby against us..

I have seen places in AZ. on the side of roadways just littered with spent shotgun hulls..

What kind of message does that send? We as hobby miners,metal detectorists leave

a miniscule amout of enviro damage..

Rodd

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If the groups that existed right now got together and agreed on a simple common vision you could get the collective power of thousands focused in one spot. If the group could come up with a mission statement that did not include any divisive language that would distance themselves from anyone they would gain power fast.

Politics and wedge issues are designed to divide. If a group of land users could just put down the politics and division for this one specific "working group" and form a union at a higher level (again, like the Sierra Club did with environmental issues) it would be powerful. There is PLP, there is WMA, there is GPAA, there are hundreds of organized prospecting clubs in various cities across the west that already have structure and leadership. We already have enough support for a common front right there.

We also have a pantload of other interests. Prospectors are more likelly to be in a bow hunting club or an ATV group than a prospecting club. With a well written mission statement it could appeal to everyone. Then after the numbers of afilliated groups increase we get the attention of the politicians as a powerful group that could influence the vote of the average Joe by representing them in ways that politicians do not (read N.R.A.).

It does not take a genius to see that we need to be our own champions and to do that we need to come together under SOME flag. But we have to break the current paradigm and not push people away because they may not share our political values or our specific agenda. We have been trained to be warlike and not accrete into powerful groups. It frightens our masters when we do that so they have given us hollow political views to keep us divided. If we stop fighting amongst ourselves and form a unified front then we are much more powerful than our overlords.

Who knows the players in the PLP, WMA, GPAA, and the various groups here? Who can speak to them all without picking open wounds or dredging up old conflicts?

Are the members of Nuggetshooter behind an effort to unite all land users as a common front? Even the birdwatchers and the fags on wheels and the pot smoking naked women that hike with the Sierra club? The overarching legal and constitutional issues are the same for all of us, are they not?

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Bob-

Three "nobody" suction dredgers started WMA, because it was apparent that no other organization was taking the position of becoming an advocate for the small miner/goldseeker. The 3 of us wrote numerous letters to the DFG and I took it upon myself to set up google alerts for any mention of: SB670, AB120, Suction dredging, etc on the internet so I could respond to any articles via the comments sections. What I immediately discovered was our opposition had (at least) weekly articles going out in all forms of media commenting on how "everyone knows suction dredging is bad for the environment" as the first paragraph of the article, and yet there was NO PUSHBACK by any organization that acted as a representative for the small miner/prospector. So we decided that since no one else was going to do it, we had to, since we were somewhat organized and we worked well together, and our industry had NO advocate. Our industry is pretty diverse, and since we are primarly suction dredgers, that is where we are focusing our energies. There are other aspects of gold mining and prospecting we haven't focused on, because we are not experienced enough to act as advocates; but that doesn't mean we don't want to go there.... we just need the experts on those aspects to step up to help us develop those aspects of the big picture.

Our plan was to create a website that advocated the positive aspects of the search for gold. We are asking everyone to contribute articles, commentary, videos, so we can show those who come to our website, that we are the miners who DON"T destroy our environment. We are the miners/prospectors who interact with the outdoor environment in an intimate way.

So we created WMA. Not that we needed anything else to do.....actually I throughly enjoy spending my spare time prospecting.... As you may know, all three of us are employed already (two of us are self employed in our own businesses which have NOTHING to do with mining, and the 3rd one is a sales manager for a medium sized services company). So we were taking this on in our spare time (which now equals zero spare time) and this project offering none of us any economic benefit for our added efforts as we work in unrelated fields. So, needless to say, I would much rather be out prospecting, like what most of you guys are doing in YOUR spare time.

This whole thing is like falling down a big rabbit hole. I had no idea what I was going to find as we created the organization and through research, I delved deeper into this. Apparently the organizations which are against us aren't about saving the environment, as it appears to be much more nefarious. Not one bit of this has to do with saving the environment and has everything to do with making fat salaries paid by donations and the taxpayer- and these organizations are responsible for decimating the economies of rural America. But I digress.

And if you look at the way the State of California did the EIR, it is the most slopply produced document you would ever expect- especially an EIR supposedly based on science. If you take the time to carefully read the EIR, it is a pretty obvious railroad job. In the 2000 page document there are over 1500 instances of conditional verbs (could,would, should, presumably) and less than a handful of verbs like: proven, has been proven. It reads more like an anti-dredging opinion piece, rather than a scientific document.

WMA is trying to look at things from a big picture view- most the organizations having to do with small mining have a pretty myopic view of things. The miners aren't the only ones who are being singled out, as it is also happening to everyone who has real property in the rural areas of all states. Everyone is being crushed by over-regulation and environmental group lawsuits. So, I guess that is the good news, since we can start to reach out to all those other groups and offer to support each other.

All the other mining groups are soley focused on mining laws. We are focued on organizing a grass roots movement, and I think we see the bigger picture. Rather than trying to change everything by the judicial means, we hope to motivate all the real property owners who are our volunteer members to mobilize THEMSELVES to become citizen lobbyists. The opposition organizations have lots of money, and we have lots of VOTES- which are much more valuable to our representatives than money. We just need to utilize the power we have.

PLP and 49'ers are fighting the mining laws. And I know that the 1872 mining law puts our use of the land higher than anyone else's, but someone forgot to tell the State of California that particular message. And while the PLP and 49'ers are battling that issue out in the courts and no decision has been reached, we still have to live by the regulations which are created. WMA is looking at those regulations which are supported by the new EIR. If we win or lose on the mining laws, all of us may lose because the flawed science which was used to create the regulations will be utilized by the state as GOD's word. So although we will maintain our right to mine or prospect, it will probably cost us a small fortune through added fees to utilize our properties or we will be limited to using a gold pan and a thimble to fill it with. After all, hydraulic mining wasn't outlawed, it was just regulated out of existence. So SOMEONE has to do SOMETHING about the regulations.

So, when you choose to support an organization, you need to decide if you want someone else to do your fight or if you want to be in the fight to protect YOUR rights. In our organization, you volunteer to help us out and you have the satisfaction of DOING SOMETHING- YOURSELF to turn this whole nightmare around. In our organization, you feel good about what you are contributing - at any level- and you are working with a bunch of other motivated people who want to see some positive change and it is empowering. Before I started this organization, I had difficulty with public speaking, and I am now comfortably moving past that and meeting lots of great people.

WMA is going to make our best efforts to organize the miners, but I will be honest with you; I am no marytr. If it ends up that I am the only one standing up and fighting for for everyone else's stake in this- I have no plans on devoting the rest of my life volunteering, fighting for YOUR rights (life is too short to fight for people who won't fight for themeselves) . Either you join me and help us fight for OUR rights, or I will blend back into the background and go about my other business. My gold mining profits were my part time job bringing in a bit of extra money, and if it doesn't work out that no one wants to help me fight for maintaining my part time job, that is ok, I will just quit it and do something else where I can make easier money, working a lot less hours. Running WMA, we make ZERO money, as what little we have made has gone to paying for gas while driving around to different miners meetings. I don't have the time to waste on a lost cause. Either we all join together to fight or we roll over and take what the state decides what is good for us.

In the next month is a clinch time for us. We may have a tight schedule and may have a lot to do. More than a handful of people can do for sure. We currently have maybe 15 new volunteers, but we need many more. In the near future I will be putting out a request for man/woman power and I hope you will consider joining the battle.

If you find it in your heart to help out, we need lots of help. Contact us and let us know what you want to do.

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