October 2019 by Scott Harn
As we reported last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is attempting to force Don Smith of Idaho to obtain a Section 402 permit for suction dredge mining under the guise of the Clean Water Act. This is despite the fact that the Clean Water Act clearly states there must be the “addition” of a pollutant to trigger the need for such a permit.
Public Lands for the People (PLP) and I assisted Smith with an appeal which included a petition for rulemaking to clarify there is no addition of a pollutant with a suction gold dredge.
Anyone who has ever operated a suction dredge for gold mining is aware that there is no addition of a pollutant. In fact, a suction dredge is an extremely efficient reclamation device that removes pollutants—including heavy metals like lead and mercury—along with any gold the miner might come across, while adding nothing that wasn’t already present in the waterway.
States like California have an agreement with the EPA to handle these types of permits, but if you consent to the permit you would be labelling yourself as a polluter while agreeing to their outrageous conditions and fees. Under the language of the Clean Water Act, there should not be a requirement for a Section 402 permit nor for any similar type of permit issued by a state agency, and we are seeking clarification from the Trump Administration.
Tom Kitchar of the Waldo Mining District learned of Smith’s petition effort from PLP. With a little assistance from PLP and your editor here at the Mining Journal, Kitchar composed a well-crafted letter (shown) to support Smith’s petition for rulemaking. Kitchar also sought the support of additional mining organizations, associations, mining districts, businesses and local governments. All 28 groups listed agree that Section 402 of the Clean Water Act does not apply and no dredge miner should be asking a state or federal agency for such a permit.
We encourage your group or business to join this effort. Please contact us by phone or email and we will help you craft your letter.
The first thing a person should do is seriously consider whether they want to go mining as a hobby or a business, and the tax implications of the choice.
There are several counties around Shasta County that offer very good gold detecting. Many of these locations are old hydraulic pits. While detecting these old pits over the years I have come up with some ideas on how to go about hunting them.
The high prices for gold and silver are exciting and certainly have revolutionized the prospecting and mining scene. New interest in gold and silver mining is springing up from every corner, from individual prospectors armed with gold pans to exploration and mining companies working to set up multimillion dollar commercial operations producing hundreds of thousands of ounces per year. The idea of getting riches from rocks is one that motivates a lot of folks all over the globe. It’s an exciting time, but this excitement brings out another side...
Years later I returned with a new detector with a smaller coil and detector technology more sensitive to smaller nuggets. I found my first nugget within five minutes. I had a second five minutes after that.
“Much of the ground where Ms. Hollingshead found her diamond is made of unweathered volcanic rock. When it rains, flowing runoff often leaves loose gravel, and sometimes diamonds, on the surface in these areas.”
Ground sluicing, surfacing and scratching are a few names given to the recovery of gold in shallow areas. Where I live, the hills are dotted with small surface diggings.
When doing your initial armchair research and selecting potential areas to explore, consider all the indicators, both natural and man-made.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts - Do you have more info on Silver Peak? • Ask The Experts - Forest Service blocking claim access • Green Valley's Fine Gold Patch • Hard Rock and Placer Gold of Manhattan, Nevada • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: Powerless • Revisiting Old Haunts • How to Refine Silver—Pt II • Where to Start: Advice for the Beginning Detectorist • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices