No modern mine fits the criteria of the mining law, yet the Forest Service personnel still claim they have to follow the antiquated law. Yet if they were to follow the law, there would be no hardrock pit mines destroying our National Forests. The public is being scammed.
The 1872 mining states:
CHAP. CL. II — As Act to promote the Development of the mining Resources of the Untied States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all valuable mineral deposits in lands belonging to the United States, both surveyed and unsurveyed, are hereby declared to be free and open to exploration and purchase, and the lands in which they are found to occupation and purchase, by citizens of the United States and those who have declared their intention to become such, under regulations prescribed by law, and according to the local customs or rules of miners, in the several mining-districts, so far as the same are applicable and not inconsistent with the laws of the United States .
Sec.2. That mining-claims upon veins or lodes of quarts or other rock in place bearing gold, silver, cinnabar, lead, tin, copper, or other valuable deposits heretofore located, shall be governed as to length along the vein or lode by the customs, regulations, and laws in force at the date of their location. A mining-claim located after the passage of this act, whether located by one or more persons, may equal, but not exceed, one thousand five hundred feet in length along the vein or lode; but no location of a mining-claim shall be made until the discovery of the vein or lode within the limits of the claim located. No claim shall exceed more than three hundred feet on each side of the Middle of the vein at the surface, nor shall any claim be limited by any mining regulation to less then twenty five feet on each side of the middle of the vein at the surface, except where adverse rights existing at the passage of this act shall render such limitation necessary. The end-lines of each claim shall be paralleled to each other.
FORTY-SECOND CONGRESS. Sess. II Ch. 152. 1872. 96
Sec. 15. That where non-mineral land not contiguous to the vein or lode is used or occupied by the proprietor of such vein or lode for mining or milling purposes , such non-adjacent surface ground may be embraced and included in an application for a patent for such vein or lode, and the same may be patented therewith , subject to the same preliminary requirements as to survey and notice as are applicable under this act to veins or lodes : Provided, That no location hereafter made of such non-adjacent land shall exceed five acres , and payment for the same must be made at the same rate as fixed by this act for the superficies of the lode. The owner of a quartz-mill or reduction-works, not owning a mine in connection therewith, may also receive a patent for his mill-site, as provided in this section. [Successful law suit on the milling issue at Crown Jewel]
The General Mining Law of 1872, as amended (30 USC 29 and 43 CFR 3860, provides the successful mining claimant the right to patent (acquire absolute title to the land) mining claims or sites if they meet the statutory requirements. To meet this requirement, the successful claimant must:
- For mining claims, demonstrate a physical exposure of a valuable (commercial) mineral deposit (the discovery) as defined by meeting the Department’s Prudent Man Rule and Marketability Test.
- For mill sites, show proper use or occupancy for uses to support a mining operation and be located on non-mineral land.
- Have clear title to the mining claim (lode or placer) or mill site.
- Have assessment work and/or maintenance fees current and performed at least $500 worth of improvements (not labor) for each claim (not required for mill sites).
- Meet the requirements of the Department’s regulations for mineral patenting as shown in the Code of Federal Regulations at 43 CFR 3861, 3862, 3863, and 3864.
- Pay the required processing fees and purchase price for the land applied for. www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/regulations/mining_claims.html
For an example, we will use the current Augusta Resource Corp./Rosemont Copper Mine project in the Coronado National Forest near Tucson, Arizona:
1) Augusta Resource Directors and stockholders are not U. S. Citizens. (NO)
2) The mining claim size for an individual prospector is limited. (NO)
3) Land intended for milling, waste piles, slurry disposal, etc. is to be patented. (NO)
4) Patented land intended for milling, etc. should not exceed five acres per claim. The pit will use about 30 claims = 150 acres, whereas the operation is planned to use around 4,000 acres for their mill, waste piles and tailings. (NO)
In addition, the BLM website outlines statutory regulations that would nullify any permitting of the Augusta Resource Corp./Rosemont Copper Mine Mine project.
1) The company does not have a clear title to the mill site. It is required by 1872 mining law that the land be patented by purchase. (NO)
2) The company must have done assessment work and/or maintenance fees of at least $500 for the life of the claim. Therefore, these claims were null and void at the time of their purchase from ASARCO. The records that show that how/when Augusta Resource Corp./Rosemont Copper Mine (and ASARCO, the previous owner) has fulfilled this obligation on all their claims must be shown—except for 5 acres allowed for mill sites. (NO)
3) The company has not paid the required processing fees and purchase price, or done the required maintenance for the Forest Service land (not patented) of 3670 acres of USFS land they have applied for to be used as waste and tailings dumps. (NO)