December 2020 by Scott Harn
The Department of Interior released revised regulations pertaining to complying with the Environmental Policy Act, but these revisions pertain to special use permittees, which does not include miners.
Public Lands for the People’s Clark Pearson continues to have monthly meetings with officials via phone/video in Washington, DC, in the ongoing effort to get regulatory relief for miners. Those talks are now focused on immediate relief that can be provided by the current administration should the election results be certified in favor of Joe Biden.
Plans are also under way to coordinate with the incoming chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. We had difficulty getting current chair, Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska), to provide much-needed regulatory relief for small miners, but her term as chair will expire. We expect Senator Barrasso (R-Wyoming) will be the incoming chairman and we had several good in-person meetings with his staff prior to the COVID pandemic.
As mentioned in the Legislative and Regulatory Update , President Trump signed another Executive Order related to critical minerals on September 30. The President declared a national emergency under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergencies Act related to critical minerals and the threats imposed by relying solely on countries such as China for our critical mineral needs.
The order requires federal agencies to provide details on existing and planned efforts to jump-start critical minerals mining and production here in America and those reports are due within 60 days at the White House. Once started, this could be a difficult path to reverse by Former Vice President Joe Biden if he eventually is sworn in as the next President.
Some of our readers have wondered aloud if they will be left behind when it comes to regulatory relief related to critical minerals because they mine gold and/or silver. But the administration has made it clear that critical minerals are byproducts in many cases, so any regulatory relief must be across the board for all commodities. President Trump’s Executive Order 13817 issued in 2017, stated, “Of the 35 minerals deemed critical, 12 are byproducts. Therefore, strategies to increase the domestic supply of these commodities must necessarily consider the mining and processing of the host materials because enhanced recovery of byproducts alone may be insufficient to meet US consumption.”
We will continue to keep you updated on our joint efforts to provide regulatory relief for miners at the federal level.
In the meantime, please consider joining PLP by purchasing a yearly $50 membership, purchasing raffle tickets or by making a donation. These funds allow PLP to continue their fight for small miners, as they plan to return to Washington, DC, in early 2021.
For more information, visit: publiclandsforthepeople.org
We will be bringing the first of several bills that were requested by Congress during a previous MMAC trip and presenting maps depicting all the MMAC-assisted Mining Districts.
Toward the end of this summer, we expect another Federal Register notice will be published that deals with Forest Service mining regulations.
During discussions with other property rights advocates and members of the current administration, Karen Budd-Falen’s name was mentioned many times as a possible director for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Most of the mining opposition today is centered around the small-scale miner. These miners number in the thousands and come from every walk of life.
The miner was drywashing using a small, gas-powered drywasher for a short period of time—maybe an hour—when he was asked by a ranger to see his permit, which is not required to prospect at this small of a scale.
We spent our evening at some informal get-togethers at two private residences in the DC area, which provided the opportunity to talk with staff members from Congress, other agencies, and a few consultants working on public land issues. We found common ground with many of them, and found a strong ally in a former Congressman turned consultant who agreed that Mining Districts provide the smartest legal route...
Pearson called the trip, “The most productive so far. We are courting over a dozen potential sponsors now. We had some members call us back for additional meetings and several of these lasted over an hour.”
The Bawl Mill • Legislative and Regulatory Update • Ask The Experts - Is this prospect worth sampling? • Ask The Experts - Can you recommend resources for southeast Alaska? • Ask The Experts - Can I pay someone to research a claim for me? • Ask The Experts - Do larger detector coils see deeper nuggets? • Reading A River: Understanding Erosion and Gold • The Basics of Permitting and Bonding Your Mining Operation • Plotting and Persistence Lead to Big Gold • Using Countercurrent Material Flow to Improve Gold Recovery Efficiency • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: The First Year Is The Hardest • Mining In The El Paso Range of Southern California • Tips and Tricks: A Dredging Tip for Clearing the Tailings Pile • The Kern River • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices