Prospecting & Detecting
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.
Buyer Beware! Counterfeit Metal Detectors
When I was recently in West Africa, I got to see and play with my first, phony, Chinese knock-off metal detector.
Refractory Gold Processing
After your excitement peaks when you first receive the high gold assay from the vein you just exposed, you ponder how you will extract and sell your gold. You will need to develop a flow sheet for your process to optimize your recovery and minimize your costs and permit requirements.
Just One More Time
We chose this particular area because an old channel had run here at one point and had been heavily worked on top of a mountain hilltop. Erosion patterns cut deeply on each side, leaving the channel exposed. The erosion cut sharply, dropping into ravines far below.
Finding Gold with a VLF Detector—Part III
The higher the sensitivity setting, the louder and sharper the signal from a gold nugget or other metal target.
A Lesson In Underwater Sniping
Of course, I know a bit about crevicing, but Steve seems to really have a knack for it, and I’m all about continual learning. I can always learn a few tricks from the pros.
A Few Pointers About Cracks and Crevices
Because these crevices catch and hold gold so well, it's worthwhile to learn how they form, which ones are good for catching gold and which ones are not.
Detecting: Getting Away From The Heat And Into The Gold
Within a very few minutes, I had my first nice sounding target. It turned out to be a nice earring-size gold piece that was about a half a gram.
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
Legislative and Regulatory Update • MSHA Moves Ahead on Silica RFI But Leaves All Options Open • Traders At JPMorgan Chase Indicted For Rigging Metal Prices