The developing standoff is centered around the Sugar Pine Mining Claim in the Galice Mining District in southwestern Oregon, where KDRV-TV reported Oath Keepers are gathering to defend mining claims from the BLM.
The Raw Story reported that the government had given the miners a deadline of April 25 to get their equipment off the land — and the miners don’t intend to comply.
According to the miners, fighting back against the BLM is expensive but the miners believe the law is firmly on their side…
On the Galice Mining District website, it states the following:
The Galice Mining District is neither a mining club, nor a prospecting association, but is instead, a local governing body for and by miners, its vested jurisdiction deriving its authority from the will of the United States Congress who recognized the long standing tradition of self government among miners and granted them with the right to create and enforce local rules and regulations pertaining to the location and development of their unique mineral properties.
Serving the miners of the Southern Oregon counties of Douglas, Josephine and Jackson, the Galice Mining District stands as a guard to protect and to preserve the rights, property and welfare of locatable mineral miners in this small, but mineral rich corner of the State of Oregon….
Even with the jackboot of tyranny eagerly waiting to stomp them out of existence, the miners contend that BLM lacks authority and that they (the miners) have the law on their side.
There have been many questions about rumors of a battle brewing between the Bureau of Land Management and several miners within the Galice Mining District. While we cannot yet divulge any fine details (and ultimately must keep legal tactics completely private), at this time, we can confirm the following:
- BLM recently (3/18/15) issued two Stop Orders on a mine, citing authority under their 3809 regulations, despite the fact that this is one of the oldest active claims in the country. The location date of this mine is so old that one of the location notices (the legal title to the mine) was actually first recorded in the original Galice Mining District Recorder’s book in 1876 and then later transcribed into the Josephine County Clerk’s records once the county assumed recording duties. Under the 1955 Surface Resources Act, claims of this age have exclusive surface rights unless the Department of Interior utilized a mechanism outlined in that Act to severe those surface rights. Demands to BLM to produce evidence of their surface authority in accordance to the 1955 Act have thus far garnered only “because we say so” answers and numerous stonewalling tactics. The Stop Orders came after several months of back and forth maneuvering from both sides, and are clearly retaliatory in nature.
- BLM are in active violation, on multiple counts, of federal Freedom of Information Act statutes. (By contrast, certain mine records in the possession of the State of Oregon have been provided in a prompt and professional fashion when requested). Similar documents secured by another miner have appeared to have been “heavily parsed” of key file documents, raising suspicion that BLM is either actively suppressing the release of documents that could be very damning or has been actively destroying documents which they are obligated under Federal Law to maintain and provide on request. One of the BLM employees suspected of parsing the records in question has apparently left BLM in the last few days.
- What few documents have been produced by BLM to date (many of which are in no way very legible) have displayed a long history of non-compliance with federal and state laws, as well as their own regulations, as well as instances of suspected forgery, fraud, extortion of real estate and other issues that suggest a well organized conspiracy that divested thousands of miners and others of their property rights, which in turn has allowed the BLM and the USFS to exercise ruthless control over the entire Public Domain of the Far West, including rights of ingress and egress.
- A BLM mineral tech involved in this case remarked (4/8/15) to the attorney who is handling this case that he is aware that the BLM position is not “open and shut” and is proceeding on shaky ground. Ultimately, BLM’s attack on the mine is a rolling of dice in the hope that they can get their way opposed to anything grounded in reality.
Where is this all headed?
This case is headed in a direction that presents what is probably a once-in-a-generation prime opportunity to strike at the heart of the very surface management authority of the DOI and USDA and to restore the “as patent” rights of every mining claim owner in the United States by striking down the actual source of that intrusive authority….
At this point, you are likely wondering, what it is that has the Bureau of Land Management so desperate to get their hands on this property?
Answer: GOLD which leads us to BLM’s side of the story as posted on the BLM-Oregon Facebook page.
According to the website, Lock and Loaded:
The area in question has produced in excess of 10 million ounces of gold since its conception, and geologists estimate that only 10% of the gold in the ground has been removed, which makes this area highly sought after by any standard…BLM has made several attempts to disband the operation of the sugar pine mine through multiple unsubstantiated stop orders and now a cease and desist order …
Oath Keepers disputing that this is a standoff against BLM a few days ago posted the following action alert on their website:
SUGAR PINE MINE SECURITY OPERATION
At the request of the Sugar Pine Mining Claim owners, Oath Keepers of Josephine County mission is to ensure the mining claim owners 5th Amendment Constitutional Right to Due Process is not violated by the Bureau of Land Management.
This is NOT a standoff with BLM. We are NOT promoting any confrontation with BLM. This is a security operation for the protection of Constitutional Rights. If you have a different agenda outside of the above peaceful mission statement, we don’t need your assistance. Please DO NOT make any type of threatening phone calls to the local BLM or USFS as it undermines our mission, professionalism and is unwarranted….