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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gold miners sue Western states over ban of dredging equipment

LOS ANGELES — The General Mining Law of 1872 promised Americans who went west that whatever gold or other precious minerals they found would be theirs for the keeping — the main driver of the California Gold Rush that fueled the nation’s great westward expansion.
Almost 150 years later, gold miners in the west, who now prospect mostly as a hobby, are invoking the same law to sue states over moratoriums on the use of suction dredge mining equipment.
Driven by environmental concerns that these motorized vacuums disrupt salmon habitat and affect water quality, California banned the practice in 2009. Oregon will do the same starting Jan. 1, 2016.
Miners are suing both states, arguing that their moratoriums on suction dredges to sift through gravel for specks of gold violate the federal mining law.
“It alleges that the state lacks power to prohibit mining on federal lands,” said James Buchal, a Portland, Oregon, lawyer who represents a consortium of gold miners in the lawsuits.
Miners scored a victory in California earlier this year when lower courts ruled in their favor, sending the case to the state Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear it.
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Saturday, September 5, 2015

'Gold Rush' Season 6 premiere date and Oregonian Todd Hoffman's 'staggering' goal (video) |

'Gold Rush' Season 6 premiere date and Oregonian Todd Hoffman's 'staggering' goal (video) |

Todd Hoffman, the big-dreaming gold miner who lives in Sandy, Oregon, returns with his fellow prospectors for "Gold Rush" Season 6 on Friday, Oct. 16, at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.
The two-hour kickoff launches a new season of what Discovery says is its number-one show.
So what's coming up for Hoffman, and "Gold Rush" veterans Parker Schnabel and Tony Beets? Will they spend the season sitting around a campfire, drinking cocoa, and agreeing they'll all find more gold if they work together?
Nah. Where's the drama in that? According to Discovery, Season 6 promises "bold new challenges, new equipment and massive power shifts.  It's a battle like never before among the crews as they push to find the most gold yet."

'via Blog this'

Friday, May 8, 2015

Gold dredging situation in California is like something out of a science fiction mo

5/6/15 reposting new 49ers email dredging update:

In a surprising oral ruling on 30 April in San Bernardino, 
Judge Ochoa instructed our attorney that we could not file 
for injunctive relief in Siskiyou County to prevent California 
Department of Wildlife (DFW) wardens from enforcing the 
unconstitutional suction dredge moratorium. The judge instructed 
that our motion for injunctive relief should be decided in his 
own courtroom at 8:30 am on the 23rd of June. The good news is 
that he also suggested that he is inclined to grant us the 
relief we are asking for.

Therefore, the existing status quo has not changed. Prospectors 
believe Judge Ochoa’s Ruling allows us the right to operate our 
dredges. More dredgers are arriving in Happy Camp by the day to 
begin the 2015 season. DFW wardens warn that they will be out 
seizing dredging gear that is in violation of the unconstitutional 
moratorium. And Judge Ochoa ruled that there will be no civil 
remedy available for dredgers to stop the unlawful conduct of DFW 
wardens for another 8 weeks or so. 

But in a surprising turn of events on the first of May, California 
Fish & Wildlife (DFW) wardens arrested two suction dredgers on the 
Klamath River who had recently discovered a very substantial 
underwater gold deposit. The arrest was because they refused to 
sign the citations they were being issued. The citations were written 
for violating the unlawful moratorium and 2012 regulations, both which 
have already been struck down by Judge Ochoa in San Bernardino County. 
This case will allow our Siskiyou County Court to decide in early June 
if wardens have any authority to enforce a moratorium that has already 
been struck down as illegal.

This whole ever-evolving situation is like something out of a science 
fiction story!  You can read all about it in our video-enhanced free 
May newsletter right here:

For those of you who are not yet New 49'ers members, please
consider the special half-price offer on Associate Membership
that we are extending to our Internet subscribers:

If you are new to our newsletter, you can read some recent
back issues here:

All the best,

Dave Mack

CA Dredging UPDATE

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Reminds the Public Suction Dredge Mining Remains Unlawful in California

May 5, 2015 - In 2009, California enacted a statutory moratorium on suction dredge mining throughout the state. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds suction dredge miners the moratorium for use of motorized suction dredge equipment remains in effect. In addition, possession of any such equipment within 100 yards of any river stream or lake also remains unlawful.

Suction dredge mining is a method for vacuuming gravel from rivers, streams or lakes to sort through the sediment produced, usually through a sluice box, to recover gold or other precious metal.

Beginning in 2005 and thereafter with the moratorium taking effect in 2009, several lawsuits were filed to challenge the moratorium and the updated suction dredge regulation adopted by CDFW in 2012. Legal challenges to the regulations and the moratorium are in progress in both the San Bernardino County Superior Court and the California Supreme Court. Unless directed otherwise by the courts through a final order and consistent with CDFW obligations under the California Constitution, wildlife officers will continue to enforce the current prohibition on suction dredge mining in California.

Currently there is some misleading information provided on unofficial Internet websites suggesting the legal matters are resolved, the moratorium is no longer in effect, and miners may lawfully mine using motorized suction dredge equipment in California. This information is inaccurate. CDFW is concerned that this misinformation may lead some miners to return to operating suction dredges where they will be at risk of citation or arrest and possible forfeiture of their equipment.

When the legal procedures conclude, CDFW will notify the public of the final outcome and changes to the law, if any.

More information can be found at

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Alaska raid that left miners fuming

In August 2013, law enforcement agents -- wearing bulletproof vests, waders and side arms -- hopped on all-terrain vehicles and aircraft for a journey into the Alaskan wilderness.
The team from U.S. EPA, the Bureau of Land Management and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation was on the lookout for Clean Water Act violations at a small gold-mining outpost near the Canadian border, not far from Chicken, Alaska -- population seven in the 2010 census.
Allegations of wrongdoing in the wake of the raid soon rained on the agencies, particularly EPA. Republicans saw the enforcement as emblematic of an administration that keeps sticking its nose where it doesn't belong. And Alaskans saw it as another example of the federal government's heavy hand.
Some media reports, painting the probe as an EPA-led assault with storm troopers in full-on SWAT gear, soon took hold. Now, almost two years later, some lawmakers remain angry enough to threaten stripping the agency of its firearms.
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