June 2021 by Scott Harn
I had the opportunity to attend the Public Lands for the People (PLP) get together near Randsburg, California in late April/early May.
Over 100 prospectors gathered for three days of detecting, drywashing and camaraderie, along with some updates on what PLP has been doing on behalf of miners.
It was a very interesting and historical piece of property of about 140 acres offered up for use by PLP board member Bill Samarin of Mad Mining. Samarin said the property had been thoroughly tested and sampled by the US Army back during WWII for scheelite, the primary ore of tungsten, but even though gold is known to be prevalent in this area, gold content was ignored because that was not the goal at the time. Large equipment was deployed to scrape the area down to bedrock. As a result, there were countless piles of material throughout the property as the Army went through much of the area and sampled for scheelite. It was ultimately determined that the amount of scheelite present was not found in high enough concentrations to continue at the price per ton at that time.
While the Army did not test for potential gold content, that’s been the focus of Samarin’s efforts.
“There’s plenty of gold here,” said Samarin. “They just didn’t test for it. Most of it is fine gold, but there are some small nuggets.”
Samarin pointed to a large, exposed section of bedrock and stated, “You can see they (the US Army)used a really large bucket excavator. The scrapes in that rock are from the bucket’s teeth.”
While attendees attempted to recover gold using their own drywashers and detectors, Samarin set out to testing a version of the new commercial drywashing units he has developed.
Other activities for the three-day event included a small-scale Sierra Blaster demonstration, a kids’ detecting hunt, a huge pot-luck dinner. Afterwards, PLP board members provided an update about their procedures for using suction dredges for reclamation and answered a few questions from members.
The Saturday evening event ended with a raffle. Things became a bit challenging when the hot, dry weather was interrupted by 30mph winds with occasional gusts nearing 50 mph. Everyone jumped in after the raffle to help clean up before the winds could carry everything away.
This is the third trip MMAC has made to DC this year, so some of the congressional staff members are gaining a better understanding of the current problems miners face and how MMAC-assisted Mining Districts can alleviate those problems.
We have been playing defense for 100% of the game, and now we are finally playing some offense.
Things became a bit challenging when the hot, dry weather was interrupted by 30mph winds with occasional gusts nearing 50 mph.
The group spent three days helping miners with access issues, teaching them how to politely and respectfully educate federal regulators and law enforcement officers, and how to win these issues in court if necessary.
Priorities will include meeting with the EPA regarding suction gold dredging permitting and with the Forest Service regarding revisions to CFR 228A regulations related to mining and access on public lands.
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.”
Those miners present immediately recognized the benefits of becoming members of MMAC and joined up on the spot. I spent some time answering a few questions, and then the miners took over.
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