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Entries for the ‘Permits & Legal’ Category

2012 Oregon State Lands Prospecting Permits

ATTENTION OREGON PLACER MINERS – Placer Mining Auntorizations are expiring!

Dear Recreational Placer Miner:

All recreational placer mining authorizations will expire January 1, 2012. It is now time to submit your year-end report for the 2011 season. Reports must be received by December 31, 2011.

After January 1, 2012, you may go online (www.statelandsonline.com) to apply for the 2012 season. Renewal of your authorization will require submission of a completed 2011 report.

You may submit the report electronically – go to www.oregonstatelands.us and click on Recreational Placer Mining Report under Current Information. For a paper form, call David McGraw at 503-986-5294.

Even if you did not do any placer mining last year, the year-end report must be filled out and submitted. Just enter your information and put “0” for the volume.

Information from the reports allows the Department of State Lands to keep the placer mining General Authorization available for your use. Every year we must report to the State Land Board the waterways where work is being done and the amount of material moved in each waterway.

Thank you!

Jo Ann Miles
Support Services Supervisor
Wetlands & Waterways Conservation Division
Oregon Department of State Lands
Ph. (503) 986-5277
e-mail: joann.b.miles@state.or.us

I filled out a report but when I filled it out it does not verify that the form was submitted.

Explosives and Mining

Story and photos by Jack W. Peters

When operating a mine, anything that reduces wear and tear on your back and equipment is a great idea.  That is why for many mining operations, large or small, blasting makes sense.  In many cases, from tunneling to moving large boulders, there is no other feasible way of doing it.  You can blast too, you just have to do it legally and do it right.

The fastest way to get your blasting done is to hire a professional to come in and do it for you.  That is a great way to learn what explosives to use and what they can do to improve the efficiency of your operation.  Explosives used correctly will be one of the best and most productive tools you can use.  Use explosives incorrectly, and your friends will be standing over your grave saying things like “too soon.”

Here are a few basics of what you need to know before you start your own blasting operation:

Explosives for Mining

A five ton boulder is fractured in a training class with 1.5 pounds of dynamite in three boreholes.

Keeping it Legal

Explosives used in the United States are regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).  After a criminal background check, an interview from an ATF Agent and a $100, you can have a Type 33 Permit that will allow you to purchase, store, transport and use explosive materials.  Larger operations may choose a Type 20 License which also allows the manufacturing of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil (ANFO).

If your mine is a commercial operation in the United States, it will also fall under the jurisdiction of Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).  Commercial mines are loosely defined as lode or placer operations that use heavy equipment to load (beyond feeding by hand), trommels, sluice boxes or rock crushers.  This means additional training and safety equipment will be required including access to mine rescue teams for underground operations.  Through an interagency agreement, MSHA Officers also represent the ATF in the field to ensure safety and compliance with the use of explosive materials.

Know your Caps and Powder

Explosive materials used in mining operations are reasonably straight forward.  Once you are issued an ATF permit or license, you will be legal to purchase commercially manufactured explosive materials from logging-mining supply stores from brands including Austin Powder and Dyno Nobel.

The first part of an explosives sequence is the blasting cap initiator.  The blasting cap detonates dynamite or other explosive materials.  Based upon the application, blasting caps will be initiated by either a fuse (pyrotechnic), electric wires powered by a blasting machine (electric), or caps connected by thin plastic tubing know as shock cord (non-el).

One of the primary explosive materials used is Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil (ANFO).  This is ammonium nitrate prills (pellets) mixed with a low percentage of diesel or fuel oil.  ANFO is commonly used because it is safe, inexpensive and its low detonation velocity is ideal for heaving rock.  It is sold pre-mixed in 50 pound bags or delivered by mixing truck for larger operations.  It is insensitive and safe to handle as it is classified as a ‘blasting agent,’ because a blasting cap will not initiate it.  ANFO requires a booster (another explosive charge) to detonate.  Boreholes filled with ANFO include a stick of dynamite or an RDX cast booster that includes a blasting cap to initiate the booster which then detonates the primary ANFO charge.

Although there are more modern and stable emulsion based explosives, after 140 years dynamite is still the low cost choice for many miners.  Dynamite is a simple wax paper roll of sawdust or diatomaceous earth used to stabilize nitroglycerin.  Sticks are sold by the weight and percentage of nitroglycerin.  Sticks come in various sizes and strengths; a common size is a half-pound stick at 60% nitroglycerin.  Another useful material is an RDX cast ‘shape charge.’  These small cone shaped charges focus energy downward to more effectively crush rock.

Stick of Dynamite

One half pound stick of dynamite with blasting cap

RDX Rock Crusher

RDX ‘Rock Crusher’ shape charge with blasting cap

pneumatic drill

A student and I run a pneumatic drill at an Oregon gold mine.

dynamite sticks

One-pound dynamite sticks loaded into boreholes cutting a tunnel in a Colorado gold mine.

Pneumatic Drills

For explosives to work, the material needs to be loaded in the rock.  Small operations use hand-held vertical or horizontal pneumatic drills about the size of a jack hammer.  These air drills are powered by a portable air compressor and can easily cut a 1.5 inch borehole horizontally or a 3 inch borehole vertically.  Boreholes are packed with up to two-thirds explosive material and the rest backfilled (stemmed), with dirt and gravel to compress and focus the explosive energy into the rock.

Keeping Explosives Safe and Secure

Using explosives is an awesome responsibility.  If you use them correctly, no problems, but a mistake can kill you.  Security is also a big issue as there is no shortage of bad guys who would like to relieve them from you.

Explosive materials are stored in steel, wood lined secured and locked boxes called magazines.  Two magazines are required, one for blasting caps and one for powder.  There is a ‘Table of Distances’ chart from the ATF that will help you place magazines at a safe distance from occupied buildings and roadways based on the poundage of materials stored.  Magazines need to be carefully inventoried and inspected at least every seven days, so no storing explosive materials over the winter or at non-occupied mining sites.

Used correctly, explosives will get you to your pay-streak quickly, just take the responsibility to use them correctly, safely and legally.

Jack W. Peters is a long time gold mining enthusiast and the director of the Northwest Explosives Academy out of Springfield, Oregon.  Email: nwexplosives@yahoo.com

Useful links

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives  (ATF)


Blaster’s Tool and Supply, resource for tools, equipment and storage magazines


Mine Safety and Health Administration  (MSHA)


Northwest Explosives Academy, explosives and blasting training school in Oregon


Tannerite Explosives

Type 2 storage magazine courtesy of Tannerite Explosives

Photos by Michael Fuller

What If You Choose Not To Get A 700 Permit?

First I will say, since it is my legal obligation, I won’t tell anyone NOT to get the permit from DEQ.  But there are plenty of us that will not be purchasing the fraudulent 700 permit that tries to impose illegal restrictions and impose an illegal fee for something that is already written in stone-hard law. The law is heavily on the side of miners.

So what do you do if you are asked by an agent for a 700 permit and you don’t have one?

Here is a great response from Kerby Jackson on the Oregon Gold Hunter Forums:

“Well, if you choose not to go the permit route (your choice), I would inform them of/or ask the following if ever confronted:

1. What permit? The Oregon Supreme Court deemed the 700 PM permit illegal back in December. Are you asking me for an illegal permit in defiance of a state Supreme court’s decision? (Carry and present a copy of the court decision) I think you had better get an attorney to inform you about the legal penalties of ignoring a court decision.

2. Put your authority and jurisdiction pertaining to mining in writing and sign it, along with your employee ID # for my legal representation. (They have NO jurisdiction and authority over mining with the exception of the Dept. of Interior (ie. BLM) who have authority to insure that an orderly fashion of claim filing is maintained).

3. Are you SURE I am doing something wrong? Do you know that it’s a crime in the State of Oregon to interfere with a legal mining operation? I would sure hate to be you if you’re wrong. I think you had better get an attorney.

4. The 1866 and 1872 Mining Acts say that the “Public Domain is free and open to prospecting”. Are you defying an Act of Congress? I think you had better get an attorney.

About threats to seize gear:

1. See #3 above. If you are not certain I am doing something wrong and you so much as tamper with my gear, you can be prosecuted for Mineral Trespass, which is a crime in the State of Oregon. I would sure hate to see you go to jail just because you aren’t very sure of the law. I think you had better get an attorney.

2. Here in Josephine County, it’s a crime for ANY government employee (regardless of their jurisdiction) to deny you your right to due process and it is the obligation of the County Commisioners to prosecute the employee. Question: Do you have a warrant? If you have no warrant and you seize my property, you are denying me my right to due process and that is a crime in this county. I think you had better get an attorney.

You could take this on and on and on if you know even very basic mining law – which they themselves do not know. Therefore, it is important that you understand all that you can.

Obviously, if you get a real @%#hole, he is just going to nail you (as happened to Cliff Tracy) simply because he is on a power trip, but 99% of agency people get very edgy when they begin to realize that you do not fit the stereotype of a “dumb miner” and that maybe, just maybe, there is a risk that they might be putting themselves on the line.”  ~Kerby Jackson

Know Your Rights

First let’s start at the beginning. It all starts with a little ol’ document called the United States Constitution. In the Sixth Article of the Constitution it states:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

This basically means this…

The states’ constitutions and laws should not conflict with the laws of the federal constitution and that in case of a conflict, state judges are legally bound to honor the federal laws and constitution over those of any state.

Federal law trumps State Law, including the State of Oregon.

The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution reads like this:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

For our sake let’s remove the word immunities from the above passage. I am sure it is important, but I am trying to get at something. Let’s now take another look at it.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

We have already established that federal law is the supreme law of the land and that State judges have to honor federal law over State laws. Privileges are grants given from the federal government, usually in the form of laws, such as the Bill of Rights, but equally important is the Federal Mining Act of 1872.  See some of those laws HERE. This was a previously written piece submitted by Old Gold Miner.


Environmental groups are hell bent on repealing our rights and are right now trying to find a way to repeal the Mining Act of 1872. There main complaint that minerals taken from federal land is untaxable. However, this part of the liberties that our forefathers gave to us. It is hard work to find and extract minerals. Living wages are hard to find in this field. Yet the environmentalist like to conjure up an image of a fat cat sitting back behind a desk racking in millions of tax free dollars. That’s a joke! When in reality they just want the masses to donate to their “so called” non profit organizations. Anybody who knows anything, knows that these organizations have  their ways to profit.

They also claim that hundreds of thousands of mines need to be cleaned up and will cost the government billions of dollars to CLEAN. These so called hundreds of thousands of mines include placer claims (surface mining) where prospectors would take dirt, run it through a pan or sluice box (Long Tom), and return that dirt and rocks to the ground. So in other words they are saying that they want to clean the dirt and make it cleaner? In the end you still have “just dirt”.

Countless scientific studies have been done (as to the impact of sluicing, highbanking and suction gold dredging), but environmental groups still want to spread lies and evil propaganda to feed their own pockets and money making schemes under the guise of “non-profit.” Evil politicians making shady deals behind closed doors with these radical anti-American groups; try to bend the law and try enforce unlawful permits and unlawful regulations under the guise of a State government that has no lawful say in the matter.

Mining is the first step of American Industry, productivity and economic stability. In case, you haven’t seen the unemployment numbers, we could use some productivity in the State of Oregon.

Remember Federal Law supersedes State Law!

Including unlawful fraudulent permits fee’s and forms!

If federal law grants a privilege, no State shall make nor enforce a law to abridge or deny your privileges!

Don’t be fooled and know your rights!

Oregon Suction Dredge Update

From Tom Kitchar of the Waldo Mining District

Dear Friends,

Oregon DEQ is currently rewriting the 700-PM Suction Dredge Mining Permit for
Oregon. They expect to release the Final Draft for public comment on April 22,
2010. There will be a 35 day comment period, three public meetings (Pendleton,
Portland, and Medford), and they plan to have the new permit approved and adopted by
the end of June, 2010.

Below please find attached (click to open):

1. 700PM GP PREDraft (proposed permit)

2. BMP CrossRef (comparison between present permit and proposed)


Note that a meeting was held at DEQ Portland on April 13, 2010, to discuss this
proposed terrible permit. At that meeting, approx. 60 or so miners attended from
all over Oregon (plus greenies, and other interested parties). Google “Oregon DEQ”,
and then look for instream mining permits, and somewhere you should find a link to a
recording of that meeting, plus other info on the new permit.

At the meeting, DEQ was not prepared to answer any real questions. Oregon miners
are getting screwed!!!!!!

Currently, we are trying to arrange a consultation meeting (as required by law)
between miners and DEQ. This meeting will hopefully be held in Salem, OR, sometime
after April 22. Space may be limited, so we are looking for representatives from
mining orgs to attend this meeting. If you are interested, please contact me and
let me know.

Tom Kitchar
Waldo Mining District

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