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Miner's News

08/19/2011
Beach Mining Returns to Washington State
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Following literally years of work by Washington miner Bruce Beatty, with support from Harley Edwards, the Resources Coalition, Washington Prospectors & Miners Association, Bedrock Prospectors and others, beach mining is finally returning to Washington State in September 2012.

Bruce spent countless hours in meetings with legislators and commissions over the past several years, eventually getting approval for a limited pilot project in early 2009. Meetings continued, and hands-on demonstrations were conducted with legislators and members of the Parks Commission.

Finally, on August 11, 2011, the Parks Commission voted to allow the return of beach mining. It will take 30 days for the changes to take effect.

Below you will find the text of the new regulations.

Congratulations to all those who have worked hard on this endeavor.

     Scott Harn
     Editor/Publisher

NEW SECTION
WAC 352-37-340   Small-scale beach prospecting and placer mining.   (1) Small-scale beach prospecting and placer mining is allowed year-round in the seashore conservation area, except within fifty feet on either side of designated ocean beach access roads.

  (2) The director may close specific areas to beach prospecting or placer mining when deemed necessary for wildlife protection or public safety.

  (3) Only hand-held mineral prospecting tools and the following mineral prospecting equipment may be used in the seashore conservation area:

     (a) Pans;

     (b) Spiral wheels;

     (c) Sluices, concentrators, rocker boxes, and high-bankers with riffle areas totaling ten square feet or less, including ganged equipment;

     (d) Suction dredges that have suction intake nozzles with inside diameters that should be five inches or less, but shall be no greater than five and one-quarter inches to account for manufacturing tolerances and possible deformation of the nozzle. The inside diameter of the dredge hose attached to the nozzle may be no greater than one inch larger than the suction intake nozzle size;

     (e) Power sluice/suction dredge combinations that have riffle areas totaling ten square feet or less, including ganged equipment, suction intake nozzles with inside diameters that should be five inches or less, but shall be no greater than five and one-quarter inches to account for manufacturing tolerances and possible deformation of the nozzle, and pump intake hoses with inside diameters of four inches or less. The inside diameter of the dredge hose attached to the suction intake nozzle may be no greater than one inch larger than the suction intake nozzle size; and

     (f) High-bankers and power sluices that have riffle areas totaling ten square feet or less, including ganged equipment, and pump intake hoses with inside diameters of four inches or less.

  (4) Upon request, other mineral prospecting equipment may be considered by the commission on a pilot basis.

  (5) All trenches, depressions, or holes created in the beach during mining activities must be back-filled before working another excavation site.

  (6) Setting up or using mining equipment or conducting mining activities in a manner and/or location that subjects people, personal property, or park resources to injury or damage or impedes traffic on the driveable portion of the beach is prohibited.

  (7) A person may possess or transport up to ten gallons of concentrate per day.

  (8) Any violation of this section is an infraction under chapter 7.84 RCW.

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