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.
If you have a bad case of gold fever like me, then it’s nice to know that you can get some of that pretty yellow metal almost any time of the year, wet or dry.
Doubters be informed, yes, there is gold in Africa—lots of gold—and all the good and bad that comes with it.
Pumps can be set up quite a distance away horizontally from the sluice, even hundreds of feet. It will work so long as there is sufficient water at the source where the pump is located. Vertical distance is more of a problem than horizontal distance; 30 to 40 feet is the maximum vertical climb for most pumps.
Because of multiple take-out points along a ditch line, the ditches themselves become a wealth of knowledge to us present-day miners.
There are both hard rock and beach sand types of titanium deposits, but the hard rock deposits need to be at least 10 percent titanium while the beach sands often are economic with only two or three percent titanium.
Rick donned a pair of fiberglass shin guards that he normally wore dredging, just in case he uncovered the rattlesnake during his digging and rock moving. I wasn’t convinced they were going to provide enough protection.
The fine art of panning heavy sands requires a measure of patience. If you enjoy panning gold, you ought to enjoy this too, once you get the hang of it.
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