Legislative and Regulatory Update
May 2004 by Staff• Comments needed for Washington’s Buckhorn Mountain
Public comments can be submitted through May 17, 2004, on Crown Resources’ Buckhorn Mountain Project located near the town of Chesaw, Washington.
Crown Resources, which originally discovered the gold deposit, acquired 100% of the development rights when Battle Mountain Gold withdrew its permit application in 2000. Battle Mountain spent almost $6 million on the project.
Battle Mountain faced opposition to its plans of an open-pit operation, previously known as the Crown Jewel Project. Crown Resources has determined the deposit can be worked successfully as an underground mine.
Crown Resources initially sought to construct a mill on the site, but has since decided to truck the ore less than fifty miles to an established mill near Republic, Washington.
Local commissioner Mary Lou Peterson expressed her support for the mine: “Since they have revised the plan to where they are going underground and are trucking the ore to Republic by a revised route that won’t disturb people where they live, there is no reason why we should not have 100 jobs in our county,” said Peterson. “Now we need people to send in good comments about why the mine should go through. We don’t want the comments to come only from the ones who try to stop everything and shut everything down. They have made a tremendous effort so this mine can go forward.”
Comments should be directed to Derek Sandison, Department of Ecology, 15 W Yakima Ave, Suite 200, Yakima, WA 98902. Comments may also be emailed to: email@example.com
Project information can be viewed online at: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/buckhornmountain/
• Rep. Gibbons goes to bat for Nevada
Representative Jim Gibbons (R-Nevada) has proposed an extra $2.3 million for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) 2005 budget to create 11 new positions to speed the review of mining claims and permits for the state of Nevada.
“Nevada is home to over half of all this nation’s mining claims, yet BLM officials in our state have inadequate funding and not enough staff to process these claims,” said Gibbons.
BLM has 120,000 mining claims pending in Nevada, and 20,000 of those were filed last year, said BLM spokeswoman Jo Simpson.
Russ Fields, president of the Nevada Mining Association in Reno, said he thinks speeding the permit process is long overdue. Mining companies have complained about delays of a decade or more.
“We’re in a situation now with gold mining, the industry is growing, there’s a lot more exploration activity, we’re looking at mines to do expansions and they can’t get started until the BLM goes through the permitting process,” Fields said.
Connie Holmes, an economist for the National Mining Association in Washington, D.C. , said permit delays threaten to drive mining companies overseas.
“We need policies that turn the US from the least attractive location for investment to the most attractive location,” she said at a congressional hearing late last month.
• More land acquisition on the way?
House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R-California) and Secretary of Interior Gale Norton have consistently stated that the amount of land under federal control is too large and should not be expanded. Despite this, several legislators continue to introduce new bills to increase land acquisitions in the name of conservation.
A new bill, sponsored by Representative George Miller (D-California) and House Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska), would cost $3.125 billion each year for 20 years to fund Land and Water Conservation Fund grants and land acquisitions, wildlife conservation grants, historic preservation and similar activities.
Legislators may try to attach the new bill to other legislation because it is doubtful that Pombo would allow the bill to pass through the House Resources Committee. The bill has not yet been officially introduced so it doesn’t have an assigned number at press time.
• IBLA rules in favor of miner
The Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) ruled the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was in error when it tried to increase the lease amount for a phosphate mine.
In Melvin E. Leslie (161 IBLA 110, March 17, 2004), BLM raised the appellant’s lease from $2,207 to $6,621 after the new lease period of 20 years began. Under BLM rules, stated IBLA Administrative Judge T. Britt Price, the appellant must be notified of the increase prior to the expiration of the old lease. Increases are allowed after the beginning of a new lease when dealing with coal, but this case did not involve coal.
Miners would not be able to adequately evaluate the cost of a particular project if BLM can increase lease amounts during the term of the lease.
Copies of IBLA decisions are free up to 50 pages, and 10 cents per page thereafter. Visit www.doi.gov and click on EFOIA or phone (703) 235-3799 to obtain a copy.
• Comment on critical habitat proposed in the Mojave Desert
The US Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to designate critical habitat for the Lane Mountain milk-vetch plant located in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, California. The critical habitat would apply to approximately 30,000 acres.
If you prospect or mine in this area, or believe you may do so in the future, you need to comment on this proposal.
The proposal is available on the Internet at: www.regulations.gov
Comments will be accepted until June 7, 2004. Public hearing requests must be received by May 21, 2004.
Comments can be mailed to Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Service, 2493 Portola Rd, Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003. Comments may also be submitted via email to FW1Lanemv@r1.fws.gov
We all continued over to another location at the top of a massive placer operation. Arriving at the draw, I showed everyone where gold had been found before and we all began detecting.
Bullion River’s high-grade gold mine at French Gulch, near Redding, California, may be in some ways the last of the Mohicans, or perhaps it is the first of the great revival, but for the near term it is probably destined to be a little bit of both.
Soaring prices for copper and molybdenum are producing record profits for mining companies and new jobs in some Arizona towns.
The plea from State Police Chief Pete Kassetas follows what authorities believe is the latest death related to the effort to uncover Forrest Fenn’s treasure.
Placers that are directly associated with lode deposits are sometimes overlooked and may have good potential for those who are willing to search for them.
There is a major change coming in the economy of the world and now is the time for prospectors and miners to grab a ticket and get on board.
The Treasure Hawk mine was operated by "Crazy Eddie" Bounsall from 1972 until 1988. He died in 1994, and I purchased the Treasure Hawk claims from his wife Betty in 1996.
The Bawl Mill • Economic Analysis on Critical Habitat for Bull Trout • Prospecting for Copper • US Mining Industry Outlook Brighter • Gold in the Chinle Formation • Gold Dredgers Rescue Threatened Fish • Gold Mine Plans Upheld in Lawsuit • DOI Computers Back Online • Picks & Pans: Nuggets by the Dozen in Alaska • Historical Mining Methods • The Elusive Mother Lode • Clarence King, Geologist • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices • Melman on Gold & Silver