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I have not read all the documents, but here's a proposal started this year to mine lode gold inside a designated Wilderness Area. This at this point is not approved, but there is hope that exceptions can be made to policy and what it would take to accomplish it,


All this work for two 20 acre claims.

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Valid existing claims are retained when the area is designated wilderness Chris. This is not new or unusual, the claimants have a right to mine their claim, it's just a matter of negotiating the regulations. That is what you are seeing here.

The BLM can't prevent development of existing valid claims in wilderness or withdrawn areas. They can and do make it difficult and expensive sometimes. For the claims to have been retained through the wilderness study and enactment they have to have already proven there is a mineable valuable mineral deposit. These claims have already been perfected. :thumbsupanim

There are proven deposits there. 20 acres can have a lot of value with a good deposit. It will be interesting to see whether this pays off for them. Thanks for the link!

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I read something on this a couple of months ago. That article suggested that when the FCWA was designated, it was left open to mineral claims. I don't know if it's true.


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They are probably referring to the cobalt exception Jim. Here's the exception from the wilderness designation for Central Idaho:

Central Idaho Wilderness Act of 1980

(d)(l) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964
(78 Stat. 890; 16 U.S.C. 1131), including section 4(d)(3), closing wilderness areas after December 31, 1983, to the United States mining laws,
and the designation of the River of No Return Wilderness by this Act, within that portion of the wilderness depicted on a map entitled
"Special Mining Management Zone-Clear Creek", (hereinafter referred to in this section as the "Special Management Zone"), dated
June 1980, all prospecting and exploration for, and development or mining of cobalt and associated minerals shall be considered a
dominant use of such land
and shall be subject to such laws and regulations as are generally applicable to National Forest System
lands not designated as wilderness or other -special management areas, including such laws and regulations which relate to the right
of access to valid mining claims and private property.

I don't know if the claims chrisski is referring to are within that Special Management Zone. It seems they are intending to mine Gold, not Cobalt so I doubt they are mining under the exception. I'm sure somewhere in that mass of paperwork the answer will be found. These claims are right near the wilderness boundary.

Edited by clay
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As I do a little research, the the letter from the supervisor http://www.fs.usda.gov/payette/ says these claims were established in 1981, but wiki and other sources says the Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness was established in 1980. So the claim this is about was staked after Public Law 96-213 (Central Idaho Wilderness Act) was passed on July 23, 1980. It does Grandfather Mining Claims in, but does not give a date when any of these claims need to be stopped being staked. I guess there's a time period when Congress passes a law such as a wilderness act, and when you stop staking claims. It gives references of making a report to Congress within two or three years, but nothing I see specific to mining.

This law was passed when you could still patent claims.

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The cutoff for locating new claims in already existing wilderness was January 12, 1984. You will find that law in the original 1964 Wilderness Act (20 years previous). I'm sure their claim was inside that time frame or we wouldn't even be reading about a plan of operation.

Edited by clay
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Thanks Clay.

I guess it is a big Resource Protection Area. We can't go mining there now, but at some point the national interest will be enough, that we'll be able to go and get the resources, even if its for future generations, maybe even many generations from now.

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