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Last Post 25 Oct 2020 10:57 PM by  Steve Scukanec
Moving From Casual Mining to Small Mining
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Steve Scukanec
Greenhorn
Greenhorn
Posts:22



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01 Jul 2020 10:24 PM
    Hello fellow prospectors. I am starting this topic in hopes of soliciting help with our claim transitioning from casual minor to small scale mining. My partner and I own the Placer Pete claim in San Bernardino California, located on BLM property. In order for us to transition to a small-scale mining operation, we need to work through the BLM process of getting an approved plan of operation. Our particular difficulty focuses on the area of the need to conduct an environmental assessment. BLM claims which are located in the Mojave Desert are home to multiple endangered species. Specifically, in our particular case, the desert tortoise, the burrowing owl, and desert ground squirrels. While it is true, we could as “casual” minors, dig as much as we wish with shovels, the instant we decided to bring in mechanized dirt moving equipment (a 25 HP garden lawn tractor) the requirement to conduct a desert tortoise and burrowing owl survey was imposed on us. So, I am attempting to reach out to my fellow prospectors for any advice in completing this required survey. To date are attempts to find a qualified desert tortoise survey biologist for a 30ft square hole has an estimated cost of $2000. Of course, our hole would probably produce $200. The rate of return is very effective.
    Does anyone have any suggestions that could provide help us get underway? I hope to use this thread to help other prospectors with similar problems. Thank you in advance for any information you can provide.
    Leo Lorenz
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
    Posts:457



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    02 Jul 2020 01:53 AM
    Steve first off...if it was me, I would not make this any harder than it could be. Are you allowed to do the environmental survey and submit it as a report in order to comply with the requirement? If it MUST be done by an registered "survey biologist" that is one thing, but if not, do your own survey. Its easy enough to find a sample survey that a survey would be "formatted" as. And just duplicate it but use the information which pertains to your claim. I would be careful in how you speak with them, and first feel out the true requirements. After all, you can submit a very professional report of just a few pages, detailing the exact information they would be looking for. Afterall, you do not have a big operation and there is no need to reinvent the process. Try and do as much of it yourself, and after you submit it, if there is something more they need, they will explain it for you to revise. From what I understand, getting your "approved plan of operation" can be a real pain since you are in CA.
    William Hall
    Buzzard
    Buzzard
    Posts:587



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    02 Jul 2020 02:24 PM
    Steve,

    Be sure to document all conversations, including names, badge numbers, dates and times
    I have never had dealings with BLM at the level your moving to, but I have had experience with BLM where stories from different peoples dont line up on the same subject
    Not saying they are not telling the truth, but seems like agendas (hidden) may differ

    Good Luck,
    Bill
    So Much River So Little Time...Get Out There
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    03 Jul 2020 01:10 PM
    Thanks for the feedback. I knew we could get help if we just asked the great GPAA members. The BLM has to approve the survey before you start it. They have to approve the Biologist and ensure the Biologist credentials before you can even start the survey. I think this would prohibit us from doing one on our own.
    Here is some of the correspondence we have had on this subject:

    "Thanks Gentlemen, I will review the attached document and provide feedback. Please understand that the EA I sent you was an example for you to base your document on. The biological and cultural surveys found there will not apply to your project, they are very sight specific and need to authorized by our office before they (surveys) are conducted in the field. Firms/consultants conducting surveys require certain qualifications and skill sets. "

    "Gentlemen,

    Because the site is located within the Superior-Cronese Area of Critical Environmental Concern, a plan of operation is required which you have already submitted; however, because your proposal is greater than "casual-use", an environmental assessment must be completed. In order to complete the environmental assessment, surveys (to include archaeology and biological etc) must be completed. The only way to avoid this would be to stay within the parameters of the casual-use mining guidelines which I sent in an earlier email. Let me know. "


    We have both a draft Plan of operation and EA into the BLM for review and comments. We are hoping to find someone who has gotten an EA and survey completed with their claim on BLM land in the past to maybe provide some feedback on how they accomplished this.
    Thank you again for your response, please provide any other ideas you may have that can help us out.

    Steve
    DON GREENO
    Panner
    Panner
    Posts:41



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    06 Jul 2020 02:11 PM
    Steve, I love your claim and i am wishing you all the best on your endeavor. However, if plans fall through on the Mining plan of operation i just want you to know that if it comes down to digging that hole by hand....you can count this prospector IN!
    i will grab my #2 shovel, a hat a jug of water and i will be there to help out. Gold or no gold i am willing to help in any way i can. Just say the word.
    it has been a pleasure prospecting and finding gold on your claim and it would be my pleasure to assist you if you need.
    Idongreeno@gmail.com

    all my best, "Miners helping Miners"
    Don Greeno
    "all for one and one for all"
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    06 Jul 2020 06:06 PM
    Thanks Don,
    You bet we will include you. You are a Placer Pete favorite! We are thinking of a friends of Placer Pete outing in the October / November time frame. I will post details here as we get closer. Thank you again.
    Steve
    Steven Pellnitz
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    06 Jul 2020 06:12 PM
    Count me in. Never been there but would love to help out.
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    06 Jul 2020 06:13 PM
    Absolutely, All are welcome. It's a pretty good claim for the casual mainer for sure. I will post details on the get together as we get a bit closer!
    Thanks
    Deven Cruson
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:1



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    07 Jul 2020 03:37 PM
    I will make the trip. Count me in.
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    07 Jul 2020 04:27 PM
    Thanks, we will post details here as we get closer. If we can't get our POO approved we can still make the dig. Thanks
    ARTHUR WAUGH
    Posts:774



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    12 Jul 2020 11:31 PM
    Steve-
    I speak here as a member of a BLM Resource Advisory Council (awaiting reappointment). Once you get into an EA (Envirionmental Assessment) you are looking at following NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act), and having to have public involvement, etc, with draft and final EA's and possible appeals of the signed document. The quickest EA usually takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to get through all the hoops. I don't even want to get into how long it takes to get public notices printed in the Federal Register to meet public notification requirements......If your lucky it's minimum 90 days. We have had RAC meetings cancelled because the notice was not printed in time.

    While some of the POO can take place alongside the EA process, BLM is probably going to wait until the EA is final to determine exactly how the operation will be required to be run, rehabilitation time frames, work time frames, etc, and determine what the reclamation bond requirements are going to be.

    Don't know how fast they are down there, but with ESA species, it won't be all that quick. I've seen POO's in the process up here for over 5 years and still not approved. I don't want to be a wet blanket, but just letting you know ahead of time the process probably won't get done in 2020, and maybe not even in 2021. Especially with this covid19 stuff really slowing things down.
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    17 Jul 2020 10:25 PM
    Thank you sir,
    We expected as much. We are working our way up the food chain to see if we can get some additional help in making this happen. Thank you for the feedback. It is very helpful.
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    02 Aug 2020 07:12 PM
    well more bad news on the mining front. Looks like our claim is on land given in a land swap with the railroad in the early 1990's. The bBLM was given the land to manage. When the land was given to BLM is included a clause of "no entry". This means no mining. We are hoping for a loop hole but we are not encouraged.
    Christopher Satkowski
    Dredger
    Dredger
    Posts:96



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    03 Aug 2020 06:10 PM
    Not sure I can add much useful.

    Have you looked through the BLM PLatts? For example in AZ some land was given to the state of Arizona in form of State trust Land and certain exceptions were retained by the BLM for surface and subsurface mining rights, so if you can find off the Platt where this is recorded, you can stake a claim on state trust land. I actually avoided a other than GPAA club claim because it was staked on state trust land, only to find out later it was in the area of this surface mining exception. Could have prospected there. Sad I didn't. This is a claim you could drive to with a 2WD vehicle I was bringing someone who could not move around very well. I have only looked at the Platts a couple of times and found rummaging through them very complicated.

    Has the BLM provided documentation or even a document #, date anything to support what they're saying. I am surprised at how many historical documents have been digitized but have not been indexed in anyway that allows a search engine to "Google" it.

    The Federal Register has information. For example, one of the ones I read there recorded the BLM giving a camp to someone. I see mentions of camps but never realized these were actually private property until I saw it in the federal register.

    The AMRA helps small miners become operational when faced by insurmountable obstacles thrown at them by the BLM. Might try there Facebook page.

    If you can Private Message me know someone who helps research mining claims and I can pass his contact info, but he charges a fee. That's how he makes a living.
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    19 Aug 2020 10:52 AM
    Thank you Chris, We have been working with the BLM group to see if there is anything we can do about the no entry clause placed on the property by the railroad. It's been awhile since we have heard from the BLM on this. It doesn't look like we will be able to move forward with our plans unless there is some other solution out there that is yet discovered. Any and all suggestions are appreciated. The mining community has be a great source of information on this topic, including your response. Thank you again.
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    23 Aug 2020 10:57 PM
    Hi Everyone, as promised here is your invitation to join us for the Friends of Placer Pete outing. We have picked October 27th through November 1st. Phil and I will be out at the claim during that time to find some gold and celebrate a non-covid-19 Octoberfest. If you can make it please let us know either through this topic or through the placerpetesgoldcamp.com web site. Hope to see you all there. Steve/Phil
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    06 Oct 2020 11:42 AM
    Hope you can make it out to the claim sometime between the 27th and the November 1st. It would great to have you come on out to visit us and get some of the claims gold!
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    06 Oct 2020 11:43 AM
    Hi Don,
    Hope to see you out at the claim sometime between the 27th and Nov 1st. Stay a few days and enjoy!
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    06 Oct 2020 11:43 AM
    Hi Don,
    Hope to see you out at the claim sometime between the 27th and Nov 1st. Stay a few days and enjoy!
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    06 Oct 2020 11:44 AM
    Great Deven - Hope you can still make it out there. We would enjoy having you out there!
    Steve Scukanec
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:22



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    25 Oct 2020 10:57 PM
    Hi Everyone
    The Friends of Placer Pete's outing is being held this week in the Bartow area from Tuesday Oct. 27th to Sunday Nov 1st. We have confirmed that Kevin Hoagland Executive Director of Development at GPAA / LDMA - Host, Gold Trails television series will be attending this outing on Wednesday and Thursday to provide metal detecting lessons and help you learn how to find gold in the desert! This outing is FREE and you are welcome to join us throughout the event. You can camp if you wish but please be advised this is a dry camp area. There are multiple hotels in the area with in 30 mins of the claim if this fits your plans. Come on out and have a great time finding gold! I truly hope we can see you out there.
    Placer Pete AKA Steve and Phil Looks like great weather for the upcoming outing - hope you can all make it!

    The Claim is in Southern California
    San Bernardino County
    Near Barstow

    This is a relatively easy claim to get to. It can be reached from either Barstow or from Hinkley Ca. Easiest route is from Interstate 15 to route 58 west. Head to Hinkley. Exit 58 at Hinkley road north until it becomes a dirt road. When you reach the yellow Road Not Maintained sign along with Limited use area sign bear right (Slight "Y" in the road). Road sign is marked as BM6285 (google earth marks the road as CoRd20771). Follow road till you reach the intersection BM6285 and Fossil Bed Road. Follow signs to CG7210. Take CG7210 to CG7206 (slight left) DO NOT MISS THIS TURN - DO NOT CONTINUE ON CG7210 which heads off to the east. Take CG7206 to the claim (about .6 miles). Claim is well marked with Corner markers and discovery point. Be careful on CG7206 there are a couple of rough spots in the road. High clearance vehicle recommended but 4x4 really not required.
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