New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST  QUARTER, MARCH 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 3

Dave Mack

 

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

Story, video and images by Alan Mash & John Rose

Two guys mining

Early March is a heck of a time to do underwater mining.  The water is cold, and on this particular day, the creek was running higher and faster than normal because of a rain storm just a few days before.

I wanted to experiment with this new method of underwater blow mining in California before the warmer weather gets started. So I decided to visit Happy Camp to try it out on the New 49er South Fork of Indian Creek property. This is a place which is well known for producing nice gold nuggets.  I once recovered quite a large gold nugget using a metal detector along the bank of the stream on this property.  Bedrock is very close to the surface in most places.  So you don’t have to work that hard to get down to the cracks where gold can be found.  I was doing quite well there using a suction dredge several years ago.

Before going down, I lined up Steve Jones and John Rose to come on out and join me for an adventure.  Those guys are always ready to go!  Several other New 49’er members also came along.  Since I have the most experience doing underwater video, Steve jumped right in there with the nozzle and did a lot of the mining work.  This is Steve’s second winter supporting himself from the gold that he mines along the Klamath River.  He’s a hardy guy!

Using the blow mining method is the same thing as using a blaster nozzle on a suction dredge to cut through and break up hard-packed layers and bedrock that a dredge nozzle won’t take apart.  But in this case, we were mainly using the blow nozzle to help move material out of the way and help us get down to the bedrock cracks faster.  Really, this is just a step further than raking and fanning material out of the way with your hands.

underwater blowing setup

Steve and John suggested we could take the process one step further and blow the material into a second blowing device with a hopper that can be used to direct material through a hose to a sluice box (see next section below). But since South Fork mostly has bigger gold, we decided to just use the primary blower nozzle to see what we might find by uncovering some cracks on the edge of the creek.

We were using a 6.5 HP motor, mostly running on idle, with a standard mining pump and hookah compressor to supply underwater breathing air.  You could also use a normal trash pump for underwater blow mining in shallow water. It’s pretty easy to adapt some ABS or PVC fittings to a pressure hose coming off the pump. Any motor that otherwise might be used to power a dredge or high-banker can be easily adapted to this kind of mining. My own dredge uses a Keene 1-inch high pressure hose going to a blaster nozzle tip. That provides plenty of power to push material around underwater!

John captured this video afterwards, while we explained what we were doing:

The gravel and overburden on the edge of the creek was only about a foot thick when we started. Sometimes it takes more effort to strap on divers weights when working in shallow water. We decided to tough it out without them. John explained what we were doing in the following video sequences:

Using hose

A larger 1 ½-inch blaster hose and nozzle was connected to the pump which certainly would have moved the overburden off faster.  But since that would have made the underwater filming more difficult to capture, and there was only about a foot of material to move out of the way, we decided to just use a garden hose without the blaster nozzle tip at first to help move most of the top material off. Once we got down to bedrock, we attached the narrower-tipped blaster nozzle to help take apart decomposed bedrock. We were hoping to find some gold underneath.  Here is some of the underwater action:

Gold nugget next to a quarter

We were all pleasantly surprised to discover that it is quite easy using this method of underwater blowing to gain access to shallow gold deposits.  By this, I mean shallow material.  You can use this method in deeper water with the use of hookah gear.  I’m looking forward to using this method along the banks of the extensive new mining properties The New 49’ers have acquired downstream of Happy Camp during the past few months.  I’m sure those areas have not been mined during the modern age!

Shortly after reaching bedrock, we found a beautiful Indian Creek nugget stuck in a crack in the bedrock. I’m pretty sure I saw the nugget first because I was upstream with the camera from the slight cloud Steve was stirring up with the nozzle.  For just a moment, I thought Steve was going to blow the nugget away!  But, of course, gold is too heavy for that.  Fortunately, I had the video camera on at the moment of discovery:

Guys talking on the river bank

We wanted to do more prospecting; but after getting out of the water to congratulate ourselves, we found ourselves shivering up on the bank. We had such a great time exploring this new method of mining, we finally decided to call it a day and start making plans for the next time.

There seem to be more New 49’er members around Happy Camp this year than during prior winters that I have spent down there.  It’s always a great time visiting with other members! Maybe next time I will use a wet-suit heater so I can devote more time recovering those easy nuggets.  Or better yet, spring is only about a month away!

Taking Blow Mining to the Next Level!

  Hopper without hoses View of creek

Last season, when the State of California decided to redefine “suction dredging” as “…the use of a suction system to vacuum material from a river, stream or lake for the extraction of minerals,” we immediately went to work on creating a new system which relies completely on water blowing to move streambed material to a hopper either above or below the water, and then through a hose to either a container or recovery system.

While the new system relies upon the same types of engines, pumps and underwater breathing systems we have historically used in most of our small scale mining activities, there is no suction or vacuum employed to excavate material off the bottom of the waterway.  We only use blowing, thus the new term “blow mining.”

Blow mining hopper Blow nozzle

To my knowledge, you cannot buy these blow mining hoppers as ready-made devices.  But they are not hard to fabricate at home.  We glued our prototypes together with ABS plastic materials.  We reduced the jetting down to ¾-inch tubing from the traditional 1 ½-inch pressure hose that extends from a 6.5 HP motor and pump.  As you can see from the images, we added in a garden hose and valve so we can blow material into the hopper.  You can also feed material into the hopper by hand.  Through testing, we found that a 6.5 HP Honda will supply enough power to deliver material to either a 3-inch or 4-inch recovery system (sluice box) that can float on pontoons out on the waterway.

Feeding by hand Discharge from hose

Several of our members began using these blow mining techniques late last season when the wardens started coming around to inform miners that the definition of suction dredging had been expanded to include any type of suction or vacuum mining on the bottom of the waterway.  When the wardens were informed that these prospectors were only using blowing techniques to move stream-bottom materials, the wardens went away and that was the end of it.

We will leave one of the prototypes at the office so everyone can get a look at it.  When constructing your own, I caution you to be mindful that no suction or vacuum can be used to excavate material off the bottom of the waterway.  This is largely a matter of placing the pressure jet so that it blows material through a delivery hose. It is also a matter of creating a feed hopper which is large enough that it will catch materials directed its way without creating even a fraction of suction strong enough to perform excavation on its own.  Some of our members are calling this an “underwater high-banker,” though I point out that the very same system is also effective above the water.

Here are some very helpful video sequences to demonstrate the system:

Legal Prize Winners!

This drawing was for three ounces in American Gold Eagle coins and ten ounces of Silver Eagles.  The drawing took place just before closing time in our offices in Happy Camp on 28 February.  Because she had no personal interest in the outcome, we asked Connie Rasmussen from the gift store next door to draw the tickets. In addition to our staff, there were a number of others present for the drawing.

1-ounce American Gold Eagle: Paul L Velotta

Quarter-ounce American Gold Eagles: Ray Crum, Larry Buzzell, Brian Cutler & Timothy J Gilbreth

One-tenth ounce American Gold Eagles: Lynn L Bourne, Les Martin, Philip F. Myska, Edward Murphy, Gary Standefer, Stephen Drinovsky, Chester Morris, Joe Sawyers, James A Karl & Fred Fifield.

One ounce American Silver Eagles: Jasper Bishop, Larry L Reiter, Alton Smithart, David Albrecht, Clark Morrison, Janis A Keene, Richard Stroda, Mike Keller, Phillip Sharpe & Joseph Schaberger.

I want to give a heart-felt thank you to everyone who participated in this fund-raiser. We can count this fund-raiser as another big winner for small-scale miners.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Any contributions received after the time of the drawing will automatically generate tickets for the next prize drawing which will be sponsored by The New 49’er Legal Fund. It will be for 15 more American Gold Eagles (3 ounces of gold) and 10 more American Silver Eagles (10 ounces of silver).  The next drawing will take place at the New 49’er Saturday evening potluck in Happy Camp on 5 July 2014. You do not need to be present to win.  You do not need to be a member of The New 49’ers to participate.  Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49′ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or you can do it online by clicking here: 

What We Can Do on Our Properties in California 

Members have been calling in wanting to know what we can and cannot do these days for prospecting activity on our extensive property holdings in Siskiyou County.  While I do not have a license to provide legal advice, I will follow with my own understanding of the current state of affairs.

1)      We all know that suction dredging in the active waterways is closed until we overcome the existing moratorium in California.  This is presently being challenged in two separate legal proceedings.  Let’s just keep our fingers crossed on this turning out in our favor.

2)       Surface mining (high-banking) is still alright. You can do that on your own, or you can join in on our Weekend Group Mining Projects. They are scheduled in 2014 as follows: May 31 & June 1; June 21 & 22; July 12 & 13; August 2 & 3; August 23 & 24. These events are free to all active Members, and everyone is encouraged to attend.  Please contact our office in advance to let us know you will be there: (530) 493-2012.

3)      Since our last newsletter, the State of California has submitted an application to the Office of Administrative Law to adopt its Emergency Regulations as permanent.  This will do away with using any type of vacuum or suction to excavate material off the bottom of a waterway.  Therefore, the underwater suction gravel transfer systems we used last season will no longer be allowed until we overcome the suction dredge moratorium.

4) There is no problem with booming (motorized suction mining) 100 yards from the active waterway.  There is also a way to boom using blowing methods (see below) that should not be affected by the 100 yard rule.

Please note that all surface mining activities on New 49’er properties are governed by our internal set of Surface Mining Guidelines which are available from the office.

5)  Underwater crevicing is what most active members were doing within the waterways at the end of last season, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help move material out of the way. Most of this newsletter has focused upon this new method of moving material around by blowing, rather than sucking. Our attorney agrees this cannot be classed as “suction dredging” under the expanded definition.

The New 49er Legal Fund

The main briefs have been filed with the Third Appellate District of California in the Brandon Rinehart case. Brandon was cited a while back for operating a suction dredge in California without a permit. Brandon hired our attorney, James Buchal, to defend against the criminal citation.  Brandon’s defense was largely based upon our federal preemption argument in San Bernardino Superior Court that the State does not have the authority to prohibit suction dredging, and that their refusal to issue a permit amounted to a prohibition.  The judge in that case rejected the preemption argument on the presumption that we would appeal to the Appellate Court.

Now that the Appellate Court will consider federal preemption, we are on a fast track to get this very important issue decided.  James Buchal did a fantastic job in presenting opening and closing arguments. We encourage you guys to read them, because they are very enlightening. The State’s argument is basically that congress never meant for the State to be prevented from stopping mining on the public lands.  Anti-mining activists have also weighed in with their own arguments. So that you can more easily follow along in the progress, we have created a special page on the web site that includes all of the important briefs.

In the event that we win the federal preemption argument, our guess is that suction dredge permits will again immediately be available in California.  This, because a judge will have ruled that prospectors can dredge even if California fails to issue permits. It is impossible to predict how long it will take the Court to issue a Decision. But it is possible it could happen before this next season.  The New 49er Legal Fund is providing financial assistance to pursue the preemption argument in the Appellate Court, since that outcome is likely to resolve many of the unsettled matters in San Bernardino Superior Court.

The State of Oregon has passed a similar statewide moratorium (SB 838) on suction dredging (as California’s), except that it does not take full effect until 2016. The new law does affect the 2014 and 2015 seasons in several very important ways:

1)      They are reducing the number of suction dredging permits to 850. This is approximately down to a third of the number of permits issued during the 2013 season.  So the big question is who will get the permits?

2)  The new law only allows the operation of a suction dredge between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.

3)  Suction dredges cannot be operated within 500 feet of each other.

4)  No suction dredges may be left unattended on the waterway.  This is generally being interpreted as a requirement to remove all dredging equipment from the waterway every evening.

At the time this newsletter is being published, Oregon State Lands is not yet processing permit applications.

Fortunately, we have our federal preemption arguments to (hopefully) overcome this nonsense in Oregon.  To a large degree, the very same arguments we are using to try and overcome California’s moratorium will also apply to Oregon.   How can a State promote mining on the public lands (which is a mandate from congress) when they require a miner to remove his mining equipment from his work site every evening? Or when a miner is prohibited from operating a motor at times when anyone else is allowed to do so?

Since we are already making the federal preemption arguments in California, we will likely wait to see how the Appellate Court decides before challenging the new law in Oregon.

Lost Treasure Hunters was Scheduled to Air!

Just as we went to print with the February newsletter, I received notice from the producer that Animal Planet had scheduled the full version of Lost Treasure Hunters (5 episodes) to play, starting at 8 AM on March 6thEpisode 1 can be found here. Then, a week or so before the show was to air; I was informed that the network changed its mind once again. No explanation has been provided, so the mystery continues. Perhaps it has to do with the ancient curse of the Golconda diamonds!  Lost Treasure Hunters is a reality show that was filmed by Discovery Network about several friends and me who went on an extended expedition to India in search of one of the world’s richest diamond mines, a mine that has been lost for several hundred years.  I am not allowed to tell you if we found the mine.  But I can tell you that if you watch the show, you won’t be disappointed in what we found!

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST  QUARTER, FEBRUARY 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 2

Dave Mack

 

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

Story, video and images by John Rose

Gold Nuggets

Long time prospector, Scott Hanson, and I recently got together just after we discovered that The New 49’ers have acquired yet another new claim downriver from Happy Camp. Scott suggested that we invest a couple of days sampling the new claim (K-22A) along with a few other places where members have been doing pretty well this winter.

On that note, I will say that it seems like we have more members actively prospecting this winter than during the past few years. There are a lot of friendly faces around Happy Camp!

River View Creek sign

Scott and I first stopped at the Club’s newest claim (more on that below). It is called the “Doolittle Rapids.” This is because the upstream boundary is about where Doolittle creek enters the Klamath River.  There is a magnificent set of rapids in the Klamath River just downstream. It’s really more like a small waterfall in a big river.

Our hike down to the river was a little steep, but we managed it alright. I expect that some increased traffic will make the old trail better. Once we got down to the bottom, the amount of exposed bedrock visible on both sides of the river was almost overwhelming. By this, I mean there were so many sampling options that it was difficult to decide where to start.  This is another claim that will keep our members busy for many years to come!

Nice view Waterfall

Scott finally decided upon a likely spot to find gold and started sampling while I took a few videos and paused to relax on an outcropping of bedrock by the rapids and take in the very dramatic river scenery. Frankly, I was taken aback by the peacefulness from just being there. I live along the Klamath River. So sometimes I forget to slow down and appreciate the surroundings. This was one of those times when I remembered that this is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. There was an osprey flying the river, hunting for lunch. What a view!

Sample gold

Scott finished his first test pan from surface material alongside the river and found about 30 small pieces of nice shiny gold.  That was enough to get me up and helping! We tested at four different places along the claim. All the pans of surface material contained the same amount of gold.  We only brought along a scoop for digging on this first trip, and the larger rocks were preventing us from reaching bedrock in the deeper bedrock traps. So we will return on another day with a crow bar and some crevicing tools.

Next we went down to the new Ukonom Gold Claim (K25AA). This is the new claim that was released in last month’s newsletter.  I showed Scott a newly-discovered trail down to the river that is on the upriver end of the claim. Last month’s story was about a prospecting trip we did on the lower end, maybe a mile downstream.  We did several test pans at the bottom of this new trail and found even more gold and larger flakes.  The Ukonom claim, much like Doolittle Rapids, is close to the river and is mostly about crevicing and breaking open the bedrock.  There are a couple of creeks there that enter the river from the south side.  I suspect they are the source of some of the gold we were finding, because the gold was chunkier then what we normally find.

Total gold

Talking about crevicing, the Klamath River has now been running about 3,000 cubic feet per second slower than the seasonal average for over a month.  Absent any huge storms in March or April, I am predicting we are going to have access to a lot more of the gold deposits that are normally underwater on the edge of the river.  This could be really good for this new method of blowing that some members were using late last season to help clear out submerged cracks in the bedrock. The office and Rich Krimm have been receiving phone calls from members asking about the increased opportunities for working bedrock now that it appears there is going to be some very low water this season due to the lack of rain.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

I am aware of a member who had recently brought some incredible gold into the office (image at the beginning of this story).  I mean breathtaking! It turns out that he recovered the gold from cracking open bedrock at our K-23A claim at Wingate. A lot of our members have recovered plenty of gold at Wingate. But this was the first batch of big gold I had seen. So on the following day, Scott and I decided it would be good adventure to go down and look for ourselves.  We took a pry bar and my vack machine down there; dug up a few places; and we actually recovered a couple of nuggets.  We are definitely going back there to find their big brothers!

All in all it was a fun two days of sampling and both of us were impressed by the amount of gold we recovered.  Lack of rain, for the most part, has made this a pretty good winter for prospecting.

Another New Claim on the Klamath River! 

Main image River View

K-22A Doolittle Rapids – is another extension of a very long stretch of contiguous river claims available to members which now extend over 8 miles to our Richardson Bedrock property a short distance upstream from Happy Camp.  The lower boundary is located at Highway 96 mile marker 35.5. This new claim is mostly canyon property where few prospectors have been before. Some primitive paths and trails are present to gain access, mostly up towards Doolittle Creek.

Doolittle Rapids topo

Here it is on Google Earth

PROSPECTS: The claims upstream have produced rich gold deposits from top to bottom, with members recovering many, many ounces over the years. A lot of suction dredging was done upstream of the canyon several years ago.  There has also been some productive dredging activity in and around the lower end of the canyon. There is exposed and shallow bedrock on both sides of the river, creating completely unexplored above and below water crevicing opportunities. For the most part, this long stretch of river has not been prospected or mined, and the prospects for finding high-grade gold are exceptional. 

What We Can Do on Our Properties in California 

Members have been calling in wanting to know what we can and cannot do these days for prospecting activity on our extensive property holdings in Siskiyou County.  While I do not have a license to provide legal advice, I will follow with my own understanding of the current state of affairs.

1) We all know that suction dredging in the active waterways is closed until we overcome the existing moratorium in California.  This is presently being challenged in two separate legal proceedings.  Let’s just keep our fingers crossed on this turning out in our favor.

2) Surface mining (high-banking) is still alright. You can do that on your own, or you can join in on our Weekend Group Mining Projects. They are scheduled in 2014 as follows: May 31 & June 1; June 21 & 22; July 12 & 13; August 2 & 3; August 23 & 24. These events are free to all active Members, and everyone is encouraged to attend.  Please contact our office in advance to let us know you will be there: (530) 493-2012.

3) The jury is out on the legality of underwater gravel transfer in Siskiyou County. This is because my own understanding is that a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) remains in affect preventing the Department of Fish & Wildlife from enforcing the Emergency Regulations which put a stop to underwater gravel transfer mining last summer. Since that litigation was transferred to San Bernardino, the TRO kind of remains in legal limbo. My guess is the wardens would frown on the practice. The Club would likely help defend against a citation, though.

On that note, I believe the Emergency Regulations will expire once and for all on the 1st of July.

4) There is no problem with booming (motorized suction mining) 100 yards or more from the active waterway. Doing suction gravel transfer closer than 100 yards, in Siskiyou County, remains in the same legal limbo outlined in the paragraph above. You might or might not get cited if the wardens even take an interest. There has not been much interest so far.

5)  Underwater crevicing is what most active members were doing within the waterways at the end of last season, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a small jet of water to help move material out of the way. I was planning to focus the February newsletter on this method of “underwater blow mining,” but the flu that is going around has prevented us from doing the underwater demonstrations on video. You will see something in the March newsletter.

But just to give you something to think about, it is quite easy to rig a blowing hose and blow-nozzle from a small pump to facilitate the excavation of hard-pack on the bottom of a stream, or push small amounts of material out of the way.  There is even a way to push (blow) material through a hose to a recovery system without using any suction system on the bottom.

Miners helping miners!

Here is a short thank you video from the Ward Brothers to all of you guys who support The New 49’er Legal Fund:

The nature of legal sometimes requires that we remain completely silent on issues we get involved with. That’s why this is the first you guys have even heard of this. Some things you will never hear about.

We know you have faith that we are doing our best to support small-scale miners, because you have continued to stand behind our efforts. Thank you for that!

Legal Update 

The main briefs have been filed with the Third Appellate District of California in the Brandon Rinehart case. Many of you will recall that Brandon was cited last year for operating a suction dredge in California without a permit. With financial assistance from PLP and others, Brandon hired our attorney, James Buchal, to defend against the criminal citation.  Brandon’s defense was largely based upon our federal preemption argument in San Bernardino Superior Court that the State does not have the authority to prohibit suction dredging, and that their refusal to issue a permit amounted to a prohibition.  The judge in that case rejected the preemption argument on the presumption that we would appeal to the Appellate Court.

Now that the Appellate Court will consider federal preemption, we are on a fast track to get this very important issue decided.  James Buchal did a fantastic job in presenting opening and closing arguments. I encourage you guys to read them, because they are very enlightening. The State’s argument is basically that congress never meant for the State to be prevented from stopping mining on the public lands.  Anti-mining activists have also weighed in with their own arguments. So that you can more easily follow along in the progress, we have created a special page on our web site that includes all of the important briefs.

In the event that we win the federal preemption argument, my guess is that suction dredge permits will again immediately be available in California.  This, because a judge will have ruled that we can dredge even if California fails to issue permits. It is impossible to predict how long it will take the Court to issue a Decision. But it is possible it could happen before this next season.  We are providing financial assistance to pursue the preemption argument in the Appellate Court, since that outcome is likely to resolve many of the unsettled matters in San Bernardino Superior Court.

The State of Oregon has passed a similar statewide moratorium (SB 838) on suction dredging (as California’s), except that it does not take full effect until 2016. The new law does affect the 2014 and 2015 seasons in several very important ways:

1)      They are reducing the number of suction dredging permits to 850. This is approximately down to a third of the number of permits issued during the 2013 season.  So the big question is who will get the permits?

2)  The new law only allows the operation of a suction dredge between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.

3)  Suction dredges cannot be operated within 500 feet of each other.

4)  No suction dredges may be left unattended on the waterway.  This is generally being interpreted as a requirement to remove all dredging equipment from the waterway every evening.

At the time we are publishing this newsletter, the State of Oregon has yet to issue final regulations how they will administer these changes, and Oregon State Lands is not yet processing permit applications.

Fortunately, we have our federal preemption arguments to (hopefully) overcome this nonsense in Oregon.  To a large degree, the very same arguments we are using to try and overcome California’s moratorium will also apply to Oregon.   How can a State promote mining on the public lands (which is a mandate from congress) when they require a miner to remove his mining equipment from his work site every evening? Or when a miner is prohibited from operating a motor at times when anyone else is allowed to do so?

Since we are already making the federal preemption arguments in California, we will likely wait to see how the Appellate Court decides before challenging the new law in Oregon.

Last Chance to Win Gold & Silver! 

Gold and Silver Eagles

As most of you know, we mostly generate money to pay lawyers through our New 49′er Legal Fund-raisers.  The ongoing fund-raiser will give away 25 prizes in all: The Grand Prize is a 1-ounce American Gold Eagle. There are four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles. There are ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles. And there are ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc.).

This drawing will take place at our offices in Happy Camp on 28 February 2014. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win.  There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49′ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online by clicking here.

The drawing is only two weeks away and hardly anyone has joined in so far.  So your chances of winning are pretty good!  

Thanks for whatever you can do to support our defensive efforts!

Lost Treasure Hunters Scheduled to Air!

Just as we are going to print with this newsletter, I have received notice from the producer that Animal Planet has scheduled the full version of Lost Treasure Hunters (5 episodes) to play, starting at 8 AM on March 6thEpisode 1 can be found here. I don’t know the times for each time zone.  You might consult your local listings.  I wanted to let you know, since it is unlikely there will be another newsletter before March 6th.  Lost Treasure Hunters is a reality show that was filmed by Discovery Network about several friends and me who went on an extended expedition to India in search of one of the world’s richest diamond mines, a mine that has been lost for several hundred years.  I am not allowed to tell you if we found the mine.  But I can tell you that if you watch the show, you won’t be disappointed in what we found!

It would be good if you guys spread the word around so we can get the ratings up.  This, because I have been talking to the network about doing a second season in the Philippines where we have located a Spanish galleon!!  Television networks are more receptive to new projects when past ones have had good ratings.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST  QUARTER, JANUARY 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 1

Dave Mack

 

 

By Dave McCracken

 

 

 

Story, images and video segments by John Rose

Gold K-25AA  Gold Claim view

It was a nice sunny day for late December, so we decided to go down to the Club’s new claim at K25AA and check out how the bedrock is producing alongside the Klamath River.  I knew there was going to be gold. This is because I had looked in on a couple of guys that were prospecting down there last winter.  Those guys were bringing gold into the office to sell for groceries and other supplies.  One of the guys devoted all of last winter there, even during all of bad weather and deep snow.  People just don’t do it with that level of enthusiasm unless they are getting positive results.

There were four of us on this prospecting trip.  I was pleased to have veteran prospector and winter miner, Steve Jones along for the adventure. Mary Delco and Robbie Collum from Elk Creek Campground also wanted to come along.

I had previously seen that the trail down to the river from the parking area up by the road was kind of steep in a few places. So we brought along a long length of hand rope. That is now tied off permanently to help some of us older folks with access.  Haa — this was mainly for me!  As you can see from some of the videos, it’s not that the trail is very bad. Still, the rope will prove helpful when packing gear down there. I found it useful for getting back up the hill.

Extensive bedrock Taking surface sample

When we reached the bottom, the sun had not yet dried out the rocks. Some were still covered with ice.  It slowed us down a bit. This is all part of winter prospecting.

The dramatic scenery down on the river struck each of us like we had been transported into a lost world. At the same time, as we reached bottom, we realized how extensive the amount of exposed bedrock is on this new property. This place is a gold panning dream come true! Vack mining machines are going to hit a home run out of the park!  Check it out in this video:

The area was so extensive, after looking around a bit; we just chose a few random places and began digging some sample holes.  The first pan was from right off the surface. We were pleasantly surprised to recover about 15 small pieces of gold. This was much better than what we normally find in other places.

Digging deeper Good gold

We were recovering about 20-30 pieces per pan as we dug deeper.  Pretty soon, we started following a crack on bedrock that was only about a foot down into the material.

I fired up my vack machine to clean the bottom out the best I could in damp material. Then Steve panned that out.  The result was really impressive. There were about 30-40 pieces with a couple of pickers and lots of fines.  Wow; the gold comes easy on this claim!

We could see that the two prospectors who were in there last winter devoted most of their effort further away from the river from where we were prospecting. It looked like they were mostly breaking apart the bedrock.  We didn’t have any pry bars with us on this prospecting trip. Now that we see what they were doing, we will plan another trip down there with some bars.

Altogether, we were there for about three hours. That included setting up the rope on the trail and our hike down to the river and back up, again.  All the others made it back to the top ahead of me, with Mary and Steve the first to the top.  I nicknamed both of them as Billy Goat and Nanny Goat.

Breaking bedrock Final gold

We ran around ten random test pans in all. Some turned up more gold than others, but every pan had gold.  There were pickers, flakes and a lot of fines.  There was a quite a bit of black sand. So we brought our concentrates back to my campsite to finalize the clean-up.  After drying it out, the gold weighed in at half a gram.  That is really good for ten random pans from different areas of the claim.

All in all, this was a great first prospecting adventure on this new property, the first of many more to come!  The gold looks very promising.  My video and images don’t even begin to capture how beautiful and peaceful it is down there.

After note: Steve went back down there on the following day and recovered even more gold!

Extensive New Mining Property Downstream From Happy Camp 
K-25AA Topo

Click Map for larger view

K-25AA – UKONOM GOLD CLAIM – Located about 16 miles downstream of Happy Camp on the Klamath River, this property takes up 1.4 miles of a mostly remote portion of the Klamath River. It is upstream into the lower portion of the Independence canyon that begins up on our K-25 property. It butts up to our K-25A property downstream at the mouth of Ukonom Creek.

Highway Pull-off Parking

The upper end of the property is landlocked by private property.  Please respect the private property signs on the access roads towards the upper end of the property.  The lower end of this property butts up to our K-25A, then to K-25AB, and then to K-25B, allowing us a continuous length of 4.7 miles.

Here is K-25AA on Google Earth.
Here is K-25AA through K-25B on Google Earth.

PROSPECTS: There are signs of historical mining activity up the hillside, and even across on the north side of Highway 96. The panning, crevicing and vack mining opportunities in the exposed bedrock on the bottom end of the property (where the trail leads) provide some of the best small-scale gold recovery you will find anywhere along our extensive properties.  We are assuming there is more of the same along the 1.4 mile stretch of river further upstream.  We will need to find the old prospecting trails that will certainly lead into those areas.  There will unquestionably be extraordinary opportunities for high-grade gold deposits within the active waterway.

This new property has already been added to our Claims Guide; our signs have been posted; and it is open to members whenever you are ready to venture down there.

Legal Update 

We have some exciting plans on the table about how we will keep underwater mining going in California for the upcoming season.  Please stay tuned for more details in next month’s newsletter.

Meanwhile, the main briefs have been filed with the Third Appellate District of California in the Brandon Rinehart case. Many of you will recall that Brandon was cited last year for operating a suction dredge in California without a permit. With financial assistance from PLP and others, Brandon hired our attorney, James Buchal, to defend against the criminal citation.  Brandon’s defense was largely based upon our federal preemption argument in San Bernardino Superior Court. We do not believe that the State has the authority to prohibit the only effective method of mining submerged streambeds on our federal mining claims. Our position is that their refusal to issue a permit amounts to an outright prohibition.  The judge in that case rejected the preemption argument on the presumption that we would appeal to the Appellate Court.

Now that the Appellate Court will consider federal preemption, we are on a fast track to get this very important issue decided.  James Buchal did a fantastic job in presenting opening and closing arguments. I encourage you guys to read them, because they are very enlightening. The State basically argues that congress never intended for the State to be prevented from stopping mining on the public lands. I suggest if we were able to get these arguments properly in front of a federal judge (tried and failed), we would have overcome California’s moratorium several years ago.

Just in the last week, the Karuk Tribe and our extremist environmental adversaries have filed an Application with the Third Appellate Court to submit a friend of the court brief in support of the State’s position. It is filled with the same old lies and misrepresentations they have been using for quite some time. Having said that, my guess is that the arguments pose compelling challenges to uninformed people who are trying to understand the issues. The brief provides a good review of what we are up against.

And then, just in the last few days, Pacific Legal Foundation, which is a substantial conservative player in the legal arena, has submitted a brief on behalf of Brandon in the Third Appellate District of California! It is clear that there will be serious ramifications as a result of the Decision in this case!

In the event that we win the federal preemption argument, my guess is that suction dredge permits will again immediately be available in California.  This, because the Appellate in California will have ruled that we can dredge if California fails to issue permits. We can only hope for a Decision before this next season.  We are also providing financial assistance to pursue the preemption argument in the Appellate Court since that outcome is likely to resolve many of the unsettled matters in San Bernardino Superior Court.

The State of Oregon has passed a similar statewide moratorium (SB 838) on suction dredging, except that it does not take full effect until 2016. The new law does affect the 2014 and 2015 seasons in several very important ways:

1)      They are reducing the number of suction dredging permits to 850. This is approximately down to a third of the number of permits issued during the 2013 season.  The big question at the moment is who will get the permits?  Our members have substantial dredging opportunities in Oregon!

2)  The new law only allows the operation of a suction dredge between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.

3)  Suction dredges cannot be operated within 500 feet of each other.

4)  No suction dredges may be left unattended on the waterway.  This is generally being interpreted as a requirement to remove all dredging equipment from the waterway every evening.

At the time we are publishing this newsletter, the State of Oregon has yet to issue final regulations how they will administer these changes. Although I was just informed this morning that they are now accepting permit applications.

To a large degree, our very same arguments to overcome California’s moratorium will also apply in Oregon.   How can a State promote mining (which is the mandate from congress) when they require a miner to remove his mining equipment from his work site every day? Or when a miner is prohibited from operating a motor at times when anyone else in the world is allowed to do so?

We Are Giving Away Gold & Silver! 

Gold and Silver Eagles

As most of you know, we mostly generate money to pay for legal defense through our New 49′er Legal Fund-raisers.  The ongoing fund-raiser will give away 25 prizes in all: The Grand Prize is a 1-ounce American Gold Eagle. There are four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles. There are ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles. And there are ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc).

This drawing will take place at our offices in Happy Camp on 28 February 2014. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win.  There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49′ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online by clicking Here. 

Weekend Project Schedule for 2014

Our best high-banking opportunities remain along our extensive properties on the Klamath River in northern California.  Therefore, our Weekend Group Mining Projects will take place during 2014 near our headquarters in Happy Camp.  They are scheduled as follows: May 31 & June 1; June 21 & 22; July 12 & 13; August 2 & 3; August 23 & 24. These events are free to all active Members, and everyone is encouraged to attend.  Please contact our office in advance to let us know you will be there: (530) 493-2012.

All of the 2014 events are expected to happen on or near our famous Mega-Hole property at K-15A. There is plenty of free camping for members on this property, where it is just a walk to where we will be working. There are also private accommodations in Happy Camp, which is only about 12 miles away.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH  QUARTER, NOVEMBER 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER 10

Dave Mack

 

 

By Dave McCracken

 

 

 

tickets Drawing 11-2013

This drawing was for three ounces of mostly nugget gold which Rich Krimm and I mined together along the bottom of the Klamath River during the 2013 season.  The drawing took place just before closing time in our offices in Happy Camp on 8 November.  Because she had no personal interest in the outcome, we asked Connie Rasmussen from the gift store next door to draw the tickets. In addition to our staff, eight people were present for the drawing. One of them turned out to be a prize winner. Here are the winners:

One ounce of gold: Guy Congdon

Quarter-ounce of gold:  Michael Crihfield, Steve Sharp, Scott Atkison & James Barbour

One pennyweight of gold:  Jeff Hight, Frederrick Sanders, Donald Flickinger,
Jason Andrews, Michael O’Connell, Mark Bottcher, Ronald Sawyer, David Hook, James Rogan, Bernard O’connell, Bill Wright, Sandy Drake, Jayson Nelson, Les Martin, John Evans, Robert Sonnenburg, Larry Reiter, Gene F Oliver, Gerard Welch & Scott Atkison.

Here is some video that was captured during the drawing:

I want to give a heart-felt thank you to everyone who participated in this fund-raiser. I was really biting my nails, because there did not seem to be very much interest up until the last several days. The girls in the office say the volume of contributions streaming in over the phone and Internet during the last few days required them to bring in two extra office helpers to process everything in time for the drawing! On the larger scheme of things, we can count this fund-raiser as another big winner for small-scale miners.

Congratulations to all the winners! Those beautiful nuggets of gold are yours, now. I hope you appreciate them as much as Rich and I did as we recovered them off the bottom of the Klamath River.

Gold eagleSilver Eagle

Any contributions received after the time of the drawing will automatically generate tickets for our next prize drawing, which will be for 15 American Gold Eagles (3 ounces of gold) and 10 American Silver Eagles (10 ounces of silver).  Our next drawing will take place at our offices in Happy Camp on Friday afternoon, 28 February 2013. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate.  You do not need to be present to win.  Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49′ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or you can do it online by clicking here:

Legal Update 

We have some exciting plans on the table concerning how we will keep underwater mining going in California for the upcoming season.  Please stay tuned for more details when the timing is right.

Meanwhile, I am very excited to announce that the Third Appellate District of California has agreed to consider our federal preemption argument in the Brandon Rinehart case. Many of you will recall that Brandon was cited last year for operating a suction dredge in California without a permit. With financial assistance from PLP and others, Brandon hired our attorney, James Buchal, to defend against the criminal citation.  Brandon’s defense was largely based upon our federal preemption argument in San Bernardino Superior Court that the State does not have the authority to prohibit suction dredging, and that their refusal to issue a permit amounted to a prohibition.  The judge in that case rejected the preemption argument on the presumption that we would appeal to the Appellate Court.

Now that the Appellate Court will consider federal preemption, we are on a fast track to get this very important issue decided.  James Buchal did a fantastic job in presenting opening arguments. Those can be found right here. I encourage you guys to read them, because they are very enlightening. I suggest if we were able to get them properly in front of a federal judge (tried and failed), we would have overcome California’s moratorium several years ago.

In the event that we win the federal preemption argument, my guess is that suction dredge permits will again immediately be available in California.  This, because a judge will have ruled that we can dredge if California fails to issue permits. The State’s Answer is due in November. Then we will submit a Reply. It is impossible to predict how long it will take the Court to then issue a Decision. But it is possible it could happen before this next season.  We have offered to provide financial assistance to pursue the preemption argument in the Appellate Court, since that outcome is likely to resolve many of the unsettled matters in San Bernardino Superior Court.

The State of Oregon has passed a similar statewide moratorium (SB 838) on suction dredging (as California’s), except that it does not take full effect until 2016. However, the new law does affect the 2014 and 2015 seasons in several very important ways:

1)      They are reducing the number of suction dredging permits to 850. This is approximately down to a third of the number of permits issued during the 2013 season.  So the big question is who will get the permits?  State officials are floating an idea to create a point system, providing a single point per applicant for each of the past years back to 2006 that an applicant held an Oregon suction dredging permit from DEQ or State Lands, and another point for each of the past years back to 2006 that the applicant held a federal mining claim in his or her name.  Those with the most points will be given priority.  This was the idea Oregon State Lands was considering about a month ago during public meetings.  They will come out with a final plan before the end of this year.

2)  The new law only allows the operation of a suction dredge between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.

3)  Suction dredges cannot be operated within 500 feet of each other.

4)  No suction dredges may be left unattended on the waterway.  This is generally being interpreted as a requirement to remove all dredging equipment from the waterway every evening.

All I can say is that our leaders have clearly lost their way since it is only productive economic activity that provides the foundations for a free and prosperous civilization!  It is very unfortunate that Oregon would desire to close off some of the most fantastic small-scale mining opportunities in the world!

Fortunately, we have our federal preemption arguments to (hopefully) overcome this nonsense in Oregon.  To a large degree, the very same arguments we are using to try and overcome California’s moratorium will also apply to Oregon.   How can a State promote mining (which is a mandate from congress) when they require a miner to remove his mining equipment from his work site every day? Or when a miner is prohibited from operating a motor at times when anyone else is allowed to do so?

Because we are getting so much support from you guys on our legal fund-raining events, we are already coordinating with our attorney to help launch a legal challenge to this new law in Oregon.  Having learned the hard way in California, we will be more careful this time on how we position the challenge in front of a federal court. Please stay tuned for the fireworks!

Meanwhile, however Oregon decides to issue permits, if you want to operate a suction dredge there for the next two seasons, we suggest you submit your permit application to Oregon State Lands in early January.

Weekend Project Schedule for 2014 

Our best high-banking opportunities remain along our extensive properties on the Klamath River in northern California.  Therefore, our Weekend Group Mining Projects will take place during 2014 near our headquarters in Happy Camp.  They are scheduled as follows: May 31 & June 1; June 21 & 22; July 12 & 13; August 2 & 3; August 23 & 24. These events are free to all active Members, and everyone is encouraged to attend.  Please contact our office in advance to let us know you will be there: (530) 493-2012.

2014 Schedule of Events

All of the 2014 events are expected to happen on or near our famous Mega-Hole property at K-15A. There is plenty of free camping for members on this property, where it is just a walk to where we will be working. There are also private accommodations in Happy Camp, which is only about 12 miles away.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH  QUARTER, OCTOBER 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER  9

Dave Mack

 

 

By Dave McCracken

 

 

 

 Cover image Gold in the pan

This past season was really good for us. Our innovation of a new method of underwater suction gravel transfer sparked a huge burst of interest and excitement.  Lots of members visited Happy Camp over the summer months, the most we have seen in years. The main thing me and all our staff noticed, even before the season started, has been this surge of enthusiasm — which extended right through the final Weekend Group Project in late August – even though it poured rained on us.

Our final project was done out on our famous Mega Hole property at K-15A.  This is a very popular place with the members for surface mining activity. There is a really nice campground there which makes it convenient for people who are not staying in private lodging facilities in town.

The upper end of K-15A has a huge gravel bar, most which has a surface storm layer which is about a foot deep.  The contact zone where the storm layer rests on an older layer of hard-packed streambed always produces some gold.  Some places are better than others. Since there has been quite a lot of member activity out there during recent years, the challenges are (1) to find areas that have not already been mined, and (2) to find areas where the contact zone is paying well.

John smiilingThere was no sign of rain out there on Saturday.  We always begin with a demonstration for all the participants what hard-packed material looks like.  The existence of hard-pack in the top layer shows us what has not already been worked by others before us.  Then we provide a very thorough demonstration of how to gather a really good sample of the contact zone at the bottom of the upper storm layer.  I provide a panning demonstration for those who need to learn, working the sample all the way down to whatever gold may be in the pan.
I recovered an average amount of gold in my sample.  By average, I mean a few medium sized flecks and some fine colors.  Showing the result to the participants gives them an idea of what they are looking for.  My advice was that they would have to find more gold than my result if we wanted to have a good day on Sunday with the use of our high-bankers. We try on Saturday to discover a rich location that we can work the following day with some portable production machines (high-bankers).

This bunch was boiling over with the same kind of enthusiasm we had been experiencing all summer.  So off they went with more determination than we are used to seeing on the first day of these projects. Participants get to keep the gold they find in their pans on Saturday.  But I think nearly everyone was just happy to be out there.  August is a wonderful time to be on the Klamath River.

Lots of people Lots of panning

It wasn’t long before we had more people panning on the gravel bar than we had ever seen before.  This bunch was having a lot of fun!  Here are some video segments we captured of the moment:

I’m very sad to report that longtime member Bill Pechtel shown in the video segment above passed on from natural causes several weeks after this project.  Bill loved to come out and help newcomers learn to prospect.  We will miss him a lot.

Normally, if we have a bunch of people sampling out on K-15A, it does not take more than about an hour or so for someone to turn up a good strike.  A good strike is when the amount of gold being recovered in the gold pans will add up to a lot of gold on the following day when we step up into a production mode. Larger flakes of gold add up really fast.  So that’s what I’m always hoping for.

Happy CamperSince I am the one who does the gold split on Sunday afternoon, and I always like to send everyone off with a healthy pinch of gold, once I finish my demonstrations out on the gravel bar on Saturday afternoon, my entire focus changes to finding a good gold discovery.  I don’t make the discovery on these projects.  This is something the participants must do.  My part is more about providing encouragement, maintaining a sense of hope, and waiting for the magic moment of discovery.  That moment of discovery is always joyful for me. It is a reminder of how lucky I am to have a job that I really enjoy.

One of the things that make these projects great is that we always have a bunch of experienced members who come out and help.  By help, I mean they devote these weekends assisting participants in dialing in their panning skills.  They also coordinate the more serious dig that happens on Sunday. And they help keep the group chemistry on a wavelength where miracles can happen. Rich Krimm heads up the field activity on most of these digs.  He had five experienced helpers on his team this weekend.

Still, for the most part, it is the participants who must make the discovery and get the work done.  We mostly provide encouragement and advice. This way, the participants actually bring their gold splits into existence from their own combined effort.  There is some magic involved in this.  I like to think of it as a form of alchemy; using the wavelength of hope to convert base metals (raw effort with tools) into golden treasure and joy.

Sample gold

This was the discovery gold.

True to form, about an hour into the sampling, a man and wife team turned up a rich discovery from under the very place where we had been storing our high-banking gear between the projects.

One of the most valuable things that participants gain in these projects is the ability to relate how the visible gold in a sample pan will add up the following day when we process hundreds of buckets of the very same material.  We made sure to show everyone what the discovery looked like.  It was actually a very good discovery, considering the small volume of material that had been processed.  Here is a video sequence that captured the moment:

All the dynamics of the project immediately change upon the discovery. Everyone wants to recover as much gold as possible.  For some, it is the first gold they ever found. A bunch of the participants were still panning in the high-grade gold when our helper-team left the gravel bar on Saturday afternoon.

We had a full house at pot luck on Saturday night.  Morale was so high; there was no need to say much of anything to keep people laughing. Mostly, we talked about how early we were going to meet up the following morning (6:30 am) to get our work done before the heat of the day set in.  That was a bit of a joke; because it then proceeded to rain all night, and it was still raining hard on Sunday morning.  I half-expected that most of the participants would not show up in the pouring rain, but everybody in this crowd showed up early!  When I arrived, Rich Krimm and his helpers had the whole team organized into production crews. There wasn’t a single person out there that seemed to mind the pouring rain.

Digging in the rain Umbrella

They were having a good time just getting the job done.  Here follow some video segments which captured some of the action:

We recovered just under a half-ounce of gold in a morning of work in the rain.

We recovered just under a half-ounce of gold in a morning of work in the rain.

After a while, the rain tapered off and we actually had a perfect day out there for this sort of work – certainly better than a 100-degree sunny day!  In all, we estimated that we processed around 700 half-buckets of pay-dirt through the two high-bankers that had been set up out on the gravel bar.

Sometime around noon, we finished up the dig, back-filled our excavations, completed the initial processing of our gold concentrates, and loaded up our gear into several trucks so it could be put away for the winter.

Several hours later in Happy Camp, with everyone looking on, we finished cleaning up the gold and weighed out at just under half-ounce of beautiful gold. There were 12 gold nuggets.  The gold was split evenly between 42 people.

With lots of cheers from the participants, I was just sitting there thanking our lucky stars for finishing up the most productive season we have had in a long time!

We Have Some Incredible Gold to Give Away!

The New 49’ers is the only mining association of its kind in the world.  We have around 2,000 active members. Only a fraction of our members show up any given time, spreading out over around 80 miles of the richest gold-bearing waterways in Siskiyou County in northern California.  We do training programs and provide other support to help our members get better results for their effort. We provide legal and political support. We have four fulltime staff in our administrative departments and several part-time staff that help with other important duties. This season, we had two additional guys heading up our Internal Affairs under the guidance of Rich Krimm.  Mainly, their job is to keep an eye out on what people are doing on the properties.  Sometimes they need to coordinate with various State and federal agencies.  The idea is to keep it all going in a way that makes everyone as happy as possible.  We are all pretty busy between May and September.  Activity tapers off a bit during the winter months.

As long as things are running smoothly, I personally try and work in a few days of underwater mining each week.  After all, mining gold is how it all started for me.  Most of my adult life has been about underwater gold mining. I still like to go out and find some gold for myself.  There is nothing else quite like the joy of uncovering high-grade pockets of gold!

I teamed up with Rich Krimm this season.  Rich is slightly older than me in years; but he is a powerhouse of a work machine when it comes to getting the job done.  As I touched upon above, it is necessary to develop this magic alchemy in successful gold mining. When everything is in alignment, physical effort (with some tools) is converted through hope directly into raw gold and pure joy. If there is anything in this world more exciting than that, I have not found it, yet!  The key is getting the prospecting program in alignment.  A lot of this has to do with the chemistry between the partners, and the chemistry between the partners and the physical world.  Rich and I get along really well.  We have found good gold on every project we have ever done together.

Thumbs upBecause it was a busy season, Rich and I only averaged a few days a week mining for our own gold.  This began down on our new Middle Independence property at K-24A with the use of an underwater gravel transfer system.  It took us a while to touch down on a rich deposit. But when we finally did, the gold was exposing itself in rich pockets of mostly nugget gold. It was a fantastic experience!
A big part of the New 49’er program is in maintaining an aggressive stand to preserve the rights of small-scale gold miners in America.  This is a never-ending battle that requires a steady stream of legal defense money.  I often say that raising legal fund money is more challenging than the actual legal battles that we fight. This is mainly because I really do not like asking others to send money.

Shortly after getting into the nuggets, Rich suggested one day that we ought to use three ounces of our season’s best gold as the next set of legal fund prizes.  It’s not very often that someone offers to contribute such incredible treasure to help defend our industry. I took Rich up on his offer without hesitation!

Mouth piece gone

The water was so fast, the first thing Steve Jones did when dredging with us one day was bite both nipples off the inside of his mouth piece!

After finishing up in our deposit on the Klamath, Rich and I devoted a few days a week for the final 6 weeks of the season dredging for gold in a (very) fast section of the Rogue River over in southern Oregon.  All the gold we recovered over there was very fine.  But there was plenty of it.  It’s fun to get the nuggets.  But I can tell you that Rich and I shared some great experiences recovering gobs and gobs of fine gold.

We only mine underwater about three hours a day.  The work is hard! Mostly, we really enjoy our time out on the river, pushing ourselves to overcome the physical challenges and reaping the golden rewards.  Neither of us really do it for the money.  We do it for the glory; for the exhilaration that we experience every time we bring up more of Mother Nature’s most cherished treasure. Most experienced gold miners I know feel that the emotional rewards are worth more than money.

 

10 Ounces of Gold

Here is the 10 ounces of gold Rich and I recovered during the 2013 season.

Here is some video that captured Rich and I on our final day of the season:

The first thing Rich and I did once our gear was put away for the season was weigh up all the gold we recovered together. In all, we recovered 10.2 ounces of beautiful gold for the season.  That’s pretty good for the size of our gear and the amount of time we were able to invest.  Then we screened all the nuggets out and weighed up twenty-five prizes for this next legal fund-raiser.  There is a one-once prize; there are four quarter-ounce prizes; and there are twenty one-pennyweight prizes.  All the prizes have nice nuggets.  I insisted that Rich take the largest nugget we found this season, because he was right there in that magic moment when we uncovered it.  Tears came to his eyes when I put it in his hand. That’s the right kind of chemistry alright, and we are already making plans for next season.

When we were finished weighing up the prizes, all of the nuggets we recovered in our personal program from this season were gone.  Those nuggets are for you guys.  Let’s spread the joy around!

Last Chance to Win Our 2013 Gold!
Weighing out prizes

Rich Krimm weighing up the prizes

Since this is our last newsletter before we will give these prizes away, I am hoping for a lot of participation over the coming month.  So far, we have only issued 360 drawing tickets! I know you guys will come through, because you always do!

The drawing will take place just before the close of business (5 PM) at our headquarters in Happy Camp on Friday evening, 8 November 2013. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. Though you are welcome to be at the drawing, you do not need to be present to win.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc.). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions or to the number of prizes you can win.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49′ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or can be made online by clicking Here

Legal Update

The San Bernardino Superior Court has denied a motion by Public Lands for The People (PLP) for a Preliminary Injunction to overturn California’s Moratorium on suction dredging. But the court also denied the State’s motion to dismiss our federal Preemption challenge (to the Moratorium), and our Takings claim in the event that the State ultimately succeeds in putting an end to suction dredging in California.  Therefore, we remain in a strong position to win one way or the other.

It is our belief that while controlling case law allows the State to impose some reasonable restrictions upon mining, the very same law forbids the State from prohibiting mining on the public lands.  The existing moratorium clearly amounts to a prohibition without end.  I will personally be very surprised if we do not succeed in overturning California’s moratorium with the federal preemption argument.

In the event that we do not succeed in this argument, claim owners and others with mining interests in California will have a right to be paid for our losses.

The case that was filed in Siskiyou County to overcome the State’s use of Emergency Regulations to stop our new method of underwater gravel transfer has now been transferred to San Bernardino.  The jury remains out on whether or not this has overturned the Temporary Restraining Order issued by Siskiyou County that has prevented the State from enforcing Emergency Regulations in Siskiyou County. Only time will tell on this.

You should be aware that we have some exciting plans on the table concerning how we will keep underwater mining going in California for the upcoming season.  Please stay tuned for more details when the timing is right.

The most recent and important legal development is that the Third Appellate District of California has just agreed to consider our preemption arguments in the Brandon Rinehart case. Many of you will recall that Brandon was cited last year for operating a suction dredge in California without a permit. With financial assistance from PLP and others, Brandon hired our attorney, James Buchal, to defend against the criminal citation.  Brandon’s defense was largely based upon our federal preemption argument that the State does not have the authority to prohibit suction dredging, and that refusal to issue a permit amounted to a prohibition.  The judge in that case rejected the preemption argument on the premise that we would appeal to the Appellate Court.

Now that the Appellate Court will consider federal preemption, we are on a (very) fast track to get this important issue decided.  In the event that we win the argument, my guess is that suction dredge permits will again be available in California.  It’s possible that could happen before this next season.  We have offered to provide financial assistance to pursue the preemption argument in the Appellate Court, since that is likely to resolve many of the unsettled matters in San Bernardino.

So there is reason for hope!  Maybe this will encourage you guys to send contributions to our legal fund!

I’ll talk more about the legal situation up in Oregon in next month’s newsletter. 

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We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

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The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

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