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Anyone want to wager a guess how many comments were submitted to the BLM on the INCREASED PLACER CLAIM FEES


elder-miner

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The best thing to happen to miners could come on November 6th. I would be interested in hearing your ideas about the AMF increases.

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I know I'm probably in the ultra-minority here, but so far I think it's the best thing to happen for the small scale miner in years.

I am a small miner with more than 10 association placer claims.

I worked 40 years to accumulate both industrial mineral deposits & placer gold claims.

This unfounded bogus regulation cost me many thousands of dollars on very short notice.

Pay it (700% increase) or lose it... is not a fair regulation on such short notice.

Try to cover a cement grade limestone or sheet rock gyspum grade deposit a mile wide, with a single placer claim.

IT CANNOT BE DONE

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Besides various placer gold claims, I hold either directly or indirectly association placer claims over locatable industrial minerals deposits of bentonite, building stone, clay, diatomite, gypsum, limestone, rare earths, silica sand, perlite, pumice & vermiculite, all with significant authoritatively documented indicated, inferred, measured or demonstrated commercial reserves.

Several of which are situated in CA & are designated as MRZ-2a zoned.

http://www.conservat.../ClassDesig.pdf

http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/mcs/

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Jason is correct. There are countless companies with the resources to start profitable mines that are hemmed in or unable to operate because "paper filers" contol the land. These are mostly large companies that are into holding mineral land as a cheap reource and never intend to mine it. They offer to lease their claims at insane rates to those who DO intend to mine, therefore taking any chance of profit.

Most acreage that is held these days are held by folks who never intend to mine it. Most mining companies who have the resources to exploit the minerals spend tons of money just paying off the middle man who controls the people's resources yet have no intention of ever exploiting them.

And then there is the guy that fancies himself a "gold miner" that has hundreds of acres of claims and goes out once or twice a year to piddle. Him and his buddies can control thousands of acres of mineral property for a pittance and no real exploration or testing will ever be done. Hillsboro is like this. A handfull of guys with placer claims they hardly ever visit are keeping a mine form developing that could offer many jobs for the next ten years.

So it is not all bad. If a fellow is actively mining that much acreage the claims fees are just a minor cost of doing business. If he is just sitting on the paper he is whining about how much the new filing fees cost. He is doing nothing but controlling the people's resources and not letting them be realized.

How many individuals have hundreds of acres of placer claims yet are finding it tough to afford a detector to work a small tailings pile? Plenty of them! It is about time to open some of that land for folks who ARE interested in mining and DO have the resources. And large companies who do this are simply waiting for the Chinese to buy it up or lease it to someone for more than they could make by digging on it.

Where the large corporations or paper filers hold land is where no work is being done at all. Where hundreds of acres of placer ground are found you will see nothing but weekenders out there with their drywashers. The current laws allow the land to be piddled away or held for the future but do very little to promote active and diligent mining and exploration TODAY.

This is for metals deposits. As far as salable and leasable minerals is concerned there is a land office business right now. If a guy is whining about the cost of the filing fee for a dimensioned stone deposit, gypsum deposit or a pumice deposit that has been deemed claimable then he needs to either get rid of it and let someone else mine it or lease it out and stop crying about the pittance it costs for claim fees. After all, if it is a profitable venture then make some profit and stop sitting on the resources of America. We need that work and material to help rebuild this country!

Any gold deposit that cant be worked at a profit at today's prices is just being held because it is cheap to do that. If you cant mine a claim at a profit at $1500 an ounce then it has no commercial value and is therefore not claimable. If you are not actively working your claim and producing wealth from that claim then you should be forced to pay a little more or let it go to someone who can mine it.

If you want to hold a few claims for recreational purposes then there should be no big impact from the changes...After all you are laying claim to the people's wealth for your own weekend peasure and NOT for the intent of the Mining Act of 1872 which is commercial development of America's resources.

Gold is valuable! If you are holding gold property and worrying about a couple thousand bucks the minerals you control must be darn near worthless! Either that or your intentions are something besides mining the gold in the first place.

No parking on the dance floor.

Just my two cents.

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I do not agree with the fee increases myself. I see no reason the BLM should receive these outrageous fees. They in no way earn them.

The intent of the filing requirement found in the 1976 FLPMA that went into effect in 1980 was to take the "burden" of researching county filings off the BLM and put the notification requirement on the claimant rather than the BLM.

Congress allowed the BLM to collect a fee that covered their expenses in administering that program.

This was a boon to the BLM. Previously they had been required to discover the status of mineral claims by researching filings at the County Recorders office before taking any action on the public lands. They often skipped that step and were constantly being sued (and losing) for damaging or obstructing mineral claims. They complained bitterly to Congress about this "unfair" state of affairs for years. With the new informational filing requirement, passed by Congress in 1976, if there was no annual informational filing received the BLM could legally ignore the claimants rights - no more lawsuits.

Congress initially approved a fee of $15 to cover the BLM's expenses. By 1993 that fee had increased to $100. In 2004 it was increased to $125. Each increase was based on the CPI (Consumer Price Index) as Congress intended. Remember that all these fees were in addition to the FLPMA mandate that the burden of establishing mining claim currency was shifted to the claimant rather than the BLM. We are now doing what was the BLM's job AND we are paying them "fees" for the pleasure of doing their job.

The CPI has been redefined so we will not feel as if we are getting poorer. We no longer experience rising prices as far as the government is concerned. So what if the price of food has tripled in the last 7 years? You can buy more computer processor cycles for the same money so according to the government what you had to pay extra for food was offset by that new computer purchase. As a result the CPI has not been rising. The BLM couldn't raise their fees because according to their bosses it costs just the same to process those papers as it did before.

What is a greedy agency to do? Find some anti-mining idiots in the Congress and push their buttons! There are lots of idiots in Congress so they didn't have to look far. Luckily for the BLM the vast majority of those idiots have two skills that keep them in office. They are dishonest as the day is long and they have a firm belief that they are a gift to mankind.

Stick your bogus fee demands in a veterans funding bill where no other Congressional idiot would dare to object and Voila! You've got new "fees" with no basis in the original intent of getting the BLM out of the courts or the intent to cover the costs of administration. A whole new world of "free" money specifically reserved for our favorite agency.

I do like the effect of the new fees on the claims mongers and claims sitters. Bedrock Bob made several valid points. I do not like social engineering through fees and taxes. Simple socialism really doesn't sit well with me even when it is to my advantage. Charging fees to control peoples behavior doesn't fit into a free society. Those sort of trade offs is how we got in this situation to begin with in my opinion. If Congress had simply mandated the BLM do those County Recorder searches before they made plans we wouldn't have filings and fees with the BLM in the first place. It was a very socialist thing to make miners do the job of the government land managers to begin with.

As far as big mining companies "sitting" on claims I fail to see how these new fees have ANY effect on them. Corporations can hold no more than 20 acres per placer claim in their name. Most of the mining companies file blocks of lode claims to cover their deposits. The fees for neither of these have changed. Mining companies dodged the CPI increase and are now exempted from the new fees increase. It's staus quo for the big boys. This is aimed entirely at the individual placer miner in association with other individual placer miners.

For my purposes the new fee increase is a bonus. Both my prospecting and my business will benefit from more land open to prospecting and claiming. Even so I don't see anything "fair" about it.

To address the original post in this thread, I don't see what good objecting to the fee increase itself is going to do. The BLM had no choice but to implement the law passed by Congress. The BLM didn't make these fees up, they were mandated by Congress. I do object to the timing and some of the specifics of how that law was interpreted but the fee itself isn't going to change by making comments.

Rather than make comments to an agency bound by the law passed by Congress perhaps you might consider electing someone who will put the interests of individual miners above their own greed? There is a lot of attention being paid to "choosing" a President. Presidents do not write or pass these or any other laws. Congress does. You can actually vote for Congress critters and elect them if you will. The President is selected by a group of electors, and ultimately by Congress - not by popular vote. If you don't want to see more stupid fees that punish individual miners please elect non-idiots to make the laws. Commenting to the BLM or casting a vote for a President can not have any effect on the laws passed by an arrogant and inattentive Congress.

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A well thought out opinion. A great read.

Yes, it will mean that more acreage will be available to those who actually intend to mine and others will be re-assessing the strategy of holding vast amounts of claims "just because I can". If they are not working and profiting from their claims they will feel pressure to release them or pay extra. If they are actually working a profitable venture the fees are a pittance and of no real economic concern. There is certainly an issue of principle though.

I think this is specifically targeted at the fellows who are paying $125 each for 100 acre association placers and putting every cousin and in-law's name down as co-locators. I bet more acreage is held in this cockamamy way than are legitimatelly claimed. It is just a way for a guy to hold more acreage than the law allows for. And the folks that are so worried about it are probably guys who have claimed 8, 100 acre association claims and have listed every name and address in their high school yearbook as partners. Then they get a "small miner" exemption every year to boot.

They get in the game for less than a half ounce of gold and that is probably more than most of these guys ever dig up. Most of them are offering you a 20 acre piece of their little nightmare for $10,000. They spend a lot more time as a wannabe promoter than they do prospector in most cases.

Now if a guy wants to do this he is at least going to have to pay for every darn claim individually. At least that is the way my demented mind is seeing it.

With that being said I don't support the manipulation by the government either. There are better, more "capitalist" ways of going about it. But we arent discussing any of those here. I don't support fee increases per se, but I do see the logic behind them and cant deny that they will in some ways be beneficial.

I like you style Clay. Good form!

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I would love to hold a claim up on Wiks Gulch.

Like ya said some just hold em and do nothing but use them as a Status Symbol or not.

Man I would be working what was there the best of my abilities and money.

Hell most holders there live in town and just down hill from the goods.

No Excuse to not get out there and try.

Some of those claims would take nothing but bare bones equipment and effort to make pay.

Hell you could get away without Permits of any kind if you did it right.

A garden Tractor and Blade or scoop drag could move most of what you needed..

Cover your work as you move along and that would be done.

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Clay

Very good post,and I couldn't agree more! Big mining companies are the only group

that actually do pay for every claim that they hold,by law. They pay the fees on each

20 acre claim every year.

It is a myth that claims held by private citizens will stop development by mining companies

too.. Most mining companies would rather lease,buy,or pay a royalty,for known claim

than to spend time and money looking for their own. Most major mines were located by

independent prospectors,and sold to mining companies including the Bingham Canyon

mine. Kennecott,or Rio Tinto did not discover that property.

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I would love to hold a claim up on Wiks Gulch.

Like ya said some just hold em and do nothing but use them as a Status Symbol or not.

Man I would be working what was there the best of my abilities and money.

Hell most holders there live in town and just down hill from the goods.

No Excuse to not get out there and try.

Some of those claims would take nothing but bare bones equipment and effort to make pay.

Hell you could get away without Permits of any kind if you did it right.

A garden Tractor and Blade or scoop drag could move most of what you needed..

Cover your work as you move along and that would be done.

Today in the Wicks a man can make $200 a day legally, with a drywasher. That is if he is strong and can run 4-6 yards a day. There are about 500-600 ares in the whole drainage that are actually mineable. I had about 300 of them for 20 years.

The State, not the BLM is the problem. That $10,000 ransom to get started is the killer. Even at todays prices it is a hell of an outlay. It makes a sure thing a gamble.

You would not be able to use a tractor at all. No machinery or you would get into a whole different circle of red tape. I figured it all out on paper a million times. You CAN make money but just wages. Not much more. The fees, permits and diesel fuel eat you up quick. And that is on really nice ground too.

Staying small with no fees and making a stake FIRST and then gradually building a mine is the best way. And yes, a guy can do it. I mined for years and sold my gold at $250 an ounce! I made it back then only because I was young and as strong as an ox. At today's prices the work does not have to be so hard. I just don't want to shovel sixteen hours a day in the desert sun for $250 a day. I can make more laying a stone fireplace and carving a mantle piece in some movie star's house up in the mountains. So for me it just dont pay.

I let the claims go but the gold is still right where I left it. They guy just uses those claims as an attraction for his private business. He has never done anything but piddle and nobody is ever going to systematically test and find that gold. And no weekender is going to get anywhere near the bottom of those deep natural pockets. So the gold is as safe as in the bank vault. Safer, cause Uncle Sam does not know about it either.

If you want to work the Wicks then DO IT. Just ask the claim holder and you can dig a hole right where I tell you and I guarantee you will recover 3-4 ounces in the first two weeks. I will make it happen for you if you want to do it. And I will pay you $1000 if you just want to go and dig the hole for me, by hand, in the spot I tell you. Just dig. I will run the gravel. You hit bedrock about 4 feet down and clean off a 4 foot circle and I will hand you a check.

The only other mineable placer in the entire district is held by George Lotspeitch. Patents and claims. He just leased it out and a company is working the placer as going to try and start the big open pit back up. I can't get you on that property anymore but I could get you on any property controlled by the locals there in Hillsboro. I know 'em all. And over on the Snake, Bonanza and Big Low there is nuggety placer to play with. darn nice detecting for big ol' pieces of float too. But just barely wages at $1500 an ounce. No fortunes.

So Hillsboro is your oyster Homefire. Just bring a shovel.

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Clay

Very good post,and I couldn't agree more! Big mining companies are the only group

that actually do pay for every claim that they hold,by law. They pay the fees on each

20 acre claim every year.

It is a myth that claims held by private citizens will stop development by mining companies

too.. Most mining companies would rather lease,buy,or pay a royalty,for known claim

than to spend time and money looking for their own. Most major mines were located by

independent prospectors,and sold to mining companies including the Bingham Canyon

mine. Kennecott,or Rio Tinto did not discover that property.

Man we must be on the same groove lately Sawmill. we seem to be in agreement lately. I'm calling it a wonderful thing!

Private citizens certainly wont stop a big mining company. And I am not saying that it is wrong for a smart guy that recognizes a paying deposit of minerals to capitalize on that. But that is just the way the game is played...get in between the mining company and the minerals to be mined.

We arent speaking of a gold placer with hardworking individuals gravity seperating gravel or small scale ming hard rock. These folks just want a sweet spot to dig. But the larger picture is the rest of the minerals.

Most metals mining today involves big companies blocking out everything they can over known reserves and playing a waiting game while doing very little else. They wait until it is profitable. If an individual held property within these reserves he could be in a good position. A lot of guys are trying to get there.

Prior to these rules an individual would have been able to hold a lot more ground for his dollar. So this sort of game is where the new rules might change the landscape a bit.

A prospector looking for gold could possibly be a miner too if he found a paying deposit. A prospector looking for pitchblende is never going to be a miner. He is just claiming minerals that could only be exploited by others. This regulation makes his game more expensive and more difficult. The individual is definitely at a disadvantage. I am not really taking one side or the other but I am just offering that for discussion.

Is it ethical and with the intention of the mining act to claim minerals as a speculator only? With no chance of ever having the resources to handle, test, or develop a deposit? Is it the right of an American to claim for his individual posession, minerals found on everyone's property, if he has no reasonable chance of ever developing them? If we look at how mining has changed and the minerals involved there are some serious questions on both sides of the issue. It is really not black and white. And this change seems to be squarely aimed in that direction.

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I own two claims and it doesn`t really effect me.....yet

The reason i got these claims is so I have a spot to go without anybody giving me trouble. Theres good gold there but spotty.

I am a weekend prospector because unfortunately I have to work for a living and not retired :D

Not everyone wants to do this for a living...its recreation for me and two claims give me two different spots to go depending on the weather.

Also like Bedrock Bob said.... In California there is just no way there gunna let me down there with a dozer and rip the land apart.

It also sucks if lets say you own more than 10 claims in Cali, pays these crazy fees and in the end they say....by the way you cant dredge those claims until further notice...2016 maybe? So in Arizona it doesnt matter as much but here were getting screwed already.

Jerry

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Sometimes you have to hold an industrial mineral deposit decades before the economics are right to bring it into production. Most non-metallic industrial minerals have no economic substitutes. That fact mandates viable deposits will produce, at some future date.

Distance to market is a critical factor with any low bulk per ton value non-metallic industrial minerals. Consequently, freight rates to your major market area is often a deciding factor. Rule of thumb is a + $0.50 cent per ton - per mile freight rate. For example, imagine 3 deposits all of similar grade & volume situated like this.

iz51zl.jpg

Deposit #1 is the closest to the market, thus has the least expensive freight rate to the market place. Given that fact, it has a competitive advantage over other similar deposits further from the market. Deposit # 2 & 3 cannot compete with deposit # 1, because of those freight rates.

When Deposit # 1 deletes & exhausts it’s reserves. Deposit # 2 becomes economically viable for development and production. Simply because it is the next closest available to the marketplace.

If you own the next closest deposit, sometimes you have to wait a decade, 15, 20 or more years for your deposit to become economically viable, for that very reason. Generally, the investment is astute, and wait is well worthwhile. As the owners of the deposit currently supplying the market are generally major companies that have the expertise and funds to put your deposit in production. They will usually approach you offering a buy-out or lease - royalty offer.

Either way, you generally get a ton of cash in a buy-out, or some money up front & a very long term income royalty stream over the life of your deposit.

The additional costs mandated by the recent 700% increase in annual BLM maintenance fees makes holding viable deposits that will eventually produce almost impossible for the average person who owns them today.

My intent, was to leave these to my children & grandchildren. Hoping, they would have a leg-up in the world.

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elder-miner

I understand and agree with your thinking,been there done that. There is a million

reasons for someone to stake and hang on to several claims,and all valid reasons.

You need elbow room ,and a reserve to even talk to a mining company about mining

an area.

Supply and demand,market fluctuations,location,water supply,permits,working capitol,

locating ,and proving up,a deposit,all can take years before a mine can be developed.

I don't have much use for paper hangers,and the fee increase did make it tough for them,but

that should not have been allowed from the start. The increase did hurt lots of legitimate claim

holders,and that is not right.

One thing that people need to remember is this is not the 1800's and you can't just jump on

a claim and start mining. Due to regulations,permits,and finances,it can take several years to

just explore a claim ,and determine if it is worth the effort to start a mine.Then it can take several

more just to start production. I have a good friend that now has a successful gold operation,but

he could write a book about all the years that he struggled to hang on to his claims.

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My thinking is if you have a Workable claim Work it with what you have and can.

Sitting on it for Ten Years while you could have Hand Worked it with availible funds.

Not leaveing behind money you can't go back to over time. It can't be had again.

Hell if you Need to, hire some road kill and set them up on a schedule of work.

Work Not Completed Not Paid.

Put them on Camp with a Goal and Like BB says Dig the Hole to Bed Rock, 6ft at the bottom.

If they get there it's going to cost you $1000.00 in pay and a bit off food and A camper of sorts.

If you Really think it's there, Hit it.

$1000,00 sound sorta good about this time Bob.

I need to talk to you E- Mail.

I think I embarrested one of the New Owners by posting here.

Not So Sure I want to work his grounds.

Is that the Tree with the Bones?

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When it comes to placer gold deposits. Today, it often takes decades, if not a lifetime to find workable pay dirt ground you can actually permit and mine. When I say “workable” ground, I don’t mean on a one man “hobby” scale, with a hand-shovel fed dry washer, high banker or in stream or river with a gas powered suction dredge. Hobby scale mining is generally easy and quick to permit. If any permitting is required at all? Permitting any placer mining on unpatented mining claims today with heavy earth moving equipment is a whole different scenario, and often takes years to permit.

Old timers had several advantages over modern day small scale miners. First, prospecting/mining was their DAY JOB, not so with modern day small scale miners. If they had an adequate “grubstake” that would last through the good weather season gave them the TIME on the ground to prospect every nook & cranny in their local.

Gold rush era placer miners were generally smart, tough as nails and mined everything they could, with whatever means they had available. With only rare exception did the leave any rich placer ground they found un-mined. If they found “pay dirt” they were not hobbled with any environmental restraints. They could just MINE IT, without any bureaucratic regulatory interference. How they mined it depended on the type of deposit, available water & whatever labor, tools and materials they had available to work with.

Most often they only left potential pay dirt behind because they either lacked water, modern earth moving equipment or technology to mine whatever they left. Anyone who has done any serious place prospecting today knows that is fact, as in any mineralized area, you will often find historical remnants of prospecting and mining attempts scattered everywhere dating from the gold rush to present day.

To find a relatively large yardage deposit of placer pay dirt today, is a truly rare situation. Next, assuming permitting is not impossible because of some environmental issues, critical habitat restriction or land status withdrawal. Permitting can be a lengthy expensive exacerbating process, up to and including reclamation bonding requirements.

So, lets say you find a large yardage of placer pay dirt and have a valid placer claim over it. Then get through the maze of permitting and bonding regulatory paperwork hurdles. The next hurdle is the expense of getting the right equipment together, getting the equipment on site, getting everything set up to mine, constructing turbid water effluent control measures (settling ponds), then actually mining it.

All combined, that is about as rare as you having ten straight face & ace cards (blackjack) being dealt to you in a row at a casino blackjack table, or a roulette table hitting the same number you have a stack of chips on 10 times in a row, or winning a mega-million dollar lottery. Those are LONG ODDS. But, anyone who by their personal nature is a patient tenacious lifelong serious prospector, will take.

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