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.
I hope this case inspires some of you. It shows that miners can and do succeed when they are persistent and well-prepared, even when representing themselves against state and federal attorneys in a court of law.
October 2016 There are some miners who are under the impression that an organized Mining District will immediately get the regulatory agencies off their backs so they can start digging or dredging again.
September 2016 We definitely got their undivided attention with our presentations. As a direct result of our presentations, the Desert Advisory Council recommended a Memorandum of Understanding be put together between the council and the Rand Mining District. This MOU was recently completed.