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Legislative and Regulatory Update

• Comments needed
There are several proposed rules and regulations that need constructive comments by concerned miners and prospectors.

1) The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting comments until September 10, 2004, on a proposed exploration project by Fremont Gold Corp. on their valid existing claims in the Dickie Springs area in Wyoming’s Jack Morrow Hills.

The exploration project would involve 200 exploration pits of approximately 4 square feet, though some pits or trenches could be larger due to thicker alluvial material. The total area affected by the sample pits would be approximately 0.92 acres.

The project site lies within the South Pass Historic Landscape Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Most of the ACEC is open to exploration and development of locatable minerals. The ACEC designation was given to the area because of historic trails and scenic views.

Fremont Gold anticipates the sampling and reclamation phase of the project would take about 10 weeks to complete. The company states that no chemicals would be used to collect or concentrate the samples.

Written comments should be addressed to:

Attn: Dickie Springs Placer Gold
BLM-Rock Springs Field Office
280 Highway 191 North
Rock Springs, Wyoming 82901

Comments may also be faxed to (307) 352-0328, or emailed to rock_springs_wymail@blm.gov with “Dickie Springs Placer Gold Project” in the subject line.

Additional information is available by contacting Jeff Clawson at (307) 352-0323 or Teri Deakins at (307) 352-0211. Information is also available at  www.wy.blm.gov/rsfo/index.htm or go to the “Pending Rules, Regulations, Projects” section at www.icmj.com

2) The Forest Service is proposing a rule that would establish a system of roads, trails, and areas designated for motor vehicle use, and prohibit use of motor vehicles off of the designated system.

Getting to and from potential prospecting/mining areas could be severely restricted and limited to only those persons who could hike long distances from designated system roads.

Comments must be received by September 13, 2004.

Written comments can be sent to:

Proposed Rule for Designated
   Routes for Motor Vehicle Use
c/o Content Analysis Team
PO Box 221150
Salt Lake City, UT 84122-1150

You can send email comments to: trvman@fs.fed.us

Those without computer access can phone (202) 205-1216 for more information.

Visit the “Pending Rules, Regulations, Projects” section at www.icmj .com to view the proposed rule.

3) The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) proposed a rule that would require shaft and slope construction workers at coal, metal and nonmetal mines to be subjected to part 48 training requirements.

Part 48 training covers the work environment, mine conveyances, ground control plans, hazard recognition, mine gases, safe work procedures, and health and safety aspects of tasks. The training also addresses detecting and working safely around methane, tying-off properly to avoid falling, and working in clear areas to avoid being struck by overhead objects.

Part 48 is flexible and adaptable to a variety of mining conditions, processes, and operations, and requires annual updates.

Comments will be accepted until September 14, 2004.

Comments can be mailed to:

Office of Standards, Regulations,
   and Variances
1100 Wilson Blvd., Room 2350
Arlington, VA 22201-3939

Comments can be emailed to Comments@MSHA.gov with “RIN 1219-AB35” in the subject line of the message, or faxed to (202) 693-9441.

More information is available online at www.regulations.gov/freddocs/04-15842.htm or go to the “Pending Rules, Regulations, Projects” section at www.icmj.com

Those without Internet access can phone (202) 693-9440 for more information.

4) The US Fish & Wildlife Service is proposing to designate critical habitat for the California tiger salamander in portions of 20 counties in central California, encompassing 382,666 acres. This could have a negative impact on all types of land use, including mining, and deserves your constructive comments. Comments are due by October 12, 2004.

The proposed rule is available at www.regulations.gov/freddocs/04-17464.htm or go to www.icmj.com and click on the “Pending Rules, Regulations, Projects” section.

Those without Internet access can phone (916) 414-6600 for more information.

Written comments can be sent to:

Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office
2800 Cottage Way, W-2605
Sacramento, CA 95825

Email comments can be sent to fw1Central_cts_pch@fws.gov with the subject “Attn: California tiger salamander.”

• Reid goes to bat for miners
Nevada Senator Harry Reid has asked BLM to stretch out the 25 percent increase in claim and location fees over 5 years to lower the impact on miners.

Reid stated the change would allow miners to budget for the increases over time.

BLM announced in June that mining claim and location fees would be increased September 1, 2004. Claim fees are increasing from $100 to $125, and location fees from $25 to $30 per claim.

Newmont Mining said the added fees would amount to about $450,000 for their company.

BLM spokesman David Quick said his agency is reviewing the request and could not yet comment on it.
© ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal, CMJ Inc.
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