For the past couple years we’ve been harping on miners to locate the original bylaws for their Mining Districts and get them organized if they are in disarray. That’s because Mining Districts are federally recognized entities with the power and authority to create their own regulations and to seek coordination status with local, state and federal agencies.
This power was written into the 1872 Mining Law, which specifically states:
“...and according to the local customs or rules of miners in the several mining districts...”
If you need more proof that having an organized Mining District can help you, look no further than the recently proposed Methow Headwaters Withdrawal in north-central Washington State.
The Slate Creek Mining District in Washington State is a traditional Mining District that was in disarray. The Minerals and Mining Advisory Council, Public Lands for the People, along with us here at the Mining Journal, provided guidance to help them put things back in order.
The Slate Creek Mining District was originally established in 1894 in Whatcom County, Washington. They were able to locate the original bylaws and we published a Public Notice on their behalf. Thirty-two concerned claimholders arrived at the first meeting to get re-established. A new board was elected and we assisted them with properly notifying federal agencies.
Along came the recently proposed “Methow Headwaters Protection Act of 2016” by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). The Slate Creek Mining District was not consulted regarding this proposal, so the government had no choice but to leave the Slate Creek Mining District out of the proposed withdrawal.
If you are tired of getting withdrawals and closures forced down your throat, get your traditional Mining District organized. We published step-by-step instructions again in our June 2016 issue. The ball is in your court.
The Senator’s office was very receptive to the small miner’s plight and was unaware of the dire problems created by the over-regulation of small-scale mining from so many different fronts. It was pointed out that S 145 may help the large mining companies a little, but falls woefully short in addressing the needs of small operators who make up 85% of domestic mines.