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Clay Diggins

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  1. I know a little about COMEX. I was hedging metals there for several years after they opened their gold futures exchange in 1974. It has changed since then but it's only become more expensive and restrictive for small manufacturers and investors since that time. No one can buy gold on COMEX. Gold is not for sale but futures contracts can be had. COMEX is a place to exchange futures contracts - not gold. The individual futures contract seller is responsible for delivery - not COMEX and not your Broker. The person taking delivery is responsible for transportation, warehousing, insurance and security. A futures contract for gold can sometimes be taken to physical delivery but the conversion losses are so large that it's almost always less expensive to buy physical gold from one of the big metals dealers even with their higher prices. Neither you nor I can buy or take delivery on a COMEX contract unless we are pre qualified as an Executing Trading Firm. (Usually that's your broker if they are one of the big boys.) The vast majority of gold futures contracts on COMEX are "rolled over" at the end of contract with an EFRP (Exchange for Related Position) - no gold exchanges hands. That is exactly what your selected Executing Trading Firm will strongly encourage you to do. Many are tempted by the COMEX gold mini contracts of 50 oz. Unfortunately those are cash settlement only contracts - no gold is delivered or promised in the contract. Physical delivery means gold in hand and is obviously distinct from someone else promising you they have your gold. One important thing I learned hedging metal on the COMEX was if the metal isn't in your hands you don't own it. COMEX futures contracts are not gold in hand. I don't see a logical or price connection between gold you might pay for in the future and might take delivery of even further in the future to local dealer prices for immediately available recognized gold coins in hand. The market clearly doesn't see a connection between COMEX and physical gold anymore. It's been a few years since physical gold dealers have been paying more than COMEX spot for physical gold and selling at a 20 - 50% markup over COMEX spot. . For anyone who has traded in gold for nearly 50 years that is an obvious, historically unique, and big disconnect in COMEX futures vs physical pricing.
  2. It's pretty cheap for a live instructor for two hours if they are any good. If you don't feel you need a live instructor you can learn this stuff fairly easily and for free. Just download QGIS and follow the extensive documentation and instructions. Here's their simple tutorial on using LIDAR data to create a 3D map. https://docs.qgis.org/3.22/en/docs/training_manual/forestry/basic_lidar.html?highlight=lidar
  3. I think as soon as phones become as powerful as many already believe they are the tools to do real time local 3D comparative scanning already exists. https://www.opentopography.org/blog/iphone-lidar-applications-geosciences Now all we have to do is figure out how to strap a $1000 iPhone to our coils along with a cooling tower for the coprocessor and a case for the extra batteries and data storage.
  4. Welcome to the forum Ben. I'm a fellow programmer and can probably show the basics of where the road blocks exist in the current technology. I am not a detector expert but there are a few on this forum, hopefully they will chime in. Please don't take offense at my comments. They are directed to all readers and aren't meant to denigrate the programming work you are doing today or the current state of "AI'. First off a pet peeve- AI since 2015? Nothing like changing the definition to achieve the goal. You certainly mean neural network Weak AI? Alan Turing is rolling over in his grave. Real Artificial Intelligence doesn't exist - it's only hypothetical at this point. Real Artificial Intelligence wouldn't require humans feeding training data to a program. What the public is led to believe is that intelligent Strong AI exists then they are offered Weak AI as proof of concept. We were employing Weak AI back in the late 1970's at TI - nothing new but the name. To answer your question the "AI" you are referring to is used in several metal detectors today. You can start with automatic ground balance. Signal acquisition and processing is where most of the development is centered today. GiGo applies to metal detectors just like every other real world system and there is a huge amount of garbage in these signals. As already mentioned humans perform this sorting function with the currently available detecting technology based on individual experience. Also noted is that even the best detectorists either dig every target or admit to missing gold if they don't dig every target. In other words human sorting of the data received by the detector is still very poorly developed even among the best operators. If there were true artificial intelligence the best we could expect is the same level of data sorting. I have doubts about the usefulness of an "AI" system that has no more capability than the existing human operators. Metal detecting isn't a button pushing job at a factory. With the current BFO, VLF and Pulse detecting systems it is not possible to directly correlate signals received with the substance being detected. Not enough of the right kind of data. The use of slot filters can eliminate unwanted signals but those will also miss many of the target metal signals as well. As you can see from previous comments some believe a processor enabled slot filter amounts to AI. Thus my previous comments. A different physical data collection device is needed to distinguish individual metallic signals. At present no such system is available to the detecting public but you can bet some smart folks are working very hard on that goal. Of course once a system is designed that can discriminate among metal types there will be no need for AI to parse those signals for the operator. I understand where you are coming from. My first thought when I picked up a BFO back in 1973 was that these machines need more intelligent processing to make sense of the signals created. I too misunderstood what was meant by a "metal detector". A lot of work has been done already towards the goal of cleaning up the signals from the existing systems. The best we can do now as programmers now is sit back and let the engineers discover a working physical system to get the data that will allow true metallic discrimination.
  5. The physical price of gold is not connected to the paper COMEX futures market. It's been quite a few years since there has been a relationship between derivative paper gold and physical gold. Gold price does have a direct relationship to the purchase power of fiat currencies. If the dollar goes to zero gold goes to the moon - but so does food and fuel and all the other things we need to live. $10k-$50k gold is certainly a possibility under those circumstances but it's not something a reasonable person would wish for. Every physical gold dealer I know of will pay you more than market spot for gold. Right now most dealers are offering $25 over spot or more. Actual physical American Eagle gold ounce prices are about $120 an ounce more than the paper market price. What you see on television or market reports from pundits is often BS but the real physical market is not fooled by media hype. Look a little further than the TV and you will see that gold has risen in all currencies over the last 5 years. Our Australian friend's gold prices have risen from $1173 to $2063 today (56%). In the US during the same period gold has risen from $1200 to $1800 (66%). Please don't "invest" in gold. Gold is a zero sum game - there is no "profit" from gold. On the other hand a zero sum game is looking pretty good when the value of the dollar is tanking and household inflation is around 25% this year.
  6. There have been a lot of new mining claims located in the U.S. this year. Not all these new claims are for gold but there is a gold rush happening right now in this country. Clearly the mining industry sees the price going higher and they plan 7-12 years out in the short term. These figures are from June 19th.
  7. Most of the 3DEP scans are 30 meter resolution (100 foot per image pixel) or 3 Meter resolution (10 foot per image pixel). That's the same resolution as the older DEMS but LIDAR has the advantage in heavily forested areas due to a partial ground signal. In desert areas there is no difference between 3 meter LIDAR and 3 meter DEMS. That's why you can't zoom in closer without blurry and or fuzzy images. Some areas on the coasts and around environmental projects are higher resolution but the vast majority of the country has the same elevation resolution as they did 20 years ago.. The 3DEP program has been around since 2011 and has offered imagery to the public for free since 2016, that's 6 years, it's not new. I've been making 3D models with 3DEP data for all of those 6 years. A lot of 3DEP is still based on the old DEMS - not all of it is LIDAR. The 3DEP program is an effort to present the best elevation models for any area no matter whether the source is LIDAR or traditional DEM. From the USGS: The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of lidar point clouds and digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions. 3D elevation modeling can be a big help to prospectors particularly when they are draped with other mapping like land ownership. Here's a 3D model I made in 2014. It shows a portion of Rich Hill claims and land status. The original is much larger and higher resolution.
  8. Probably a good place to look for California mining laws regarding placer mining is in the state law codes. Not surprisingly California does have some laws about the right way to use and discharge stream water when placer mining. It is interesting that this law only applies to the Sacramento and San Joaquin river drainages (Sawyer Decision). "No placer mining operator shall mine by the placer process on any stream or on the watershed of any stream tributary directly or indirectly to the Sacramento River or the San Joaquin River without taking both of the following precautions to prevent pollution of the stream by the effluent from his or her operations: (a) Constructing a settling pond or ponds of sufficient size to permit the clarification of water used in the mining processes before the water is discharged into the stream. (b) Mixing with the effluent from mining operations aluminum sulphate and lime, or an equivalent clarifying substance which will cause the solid material in the effluent to coagulate and thus avoid rendering the water in the stream unfit for domestic water supply purposes." There are more details in the published law including the requirement for public notice when placer mining on those rivers. You can read the law in context here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=PRC&division=3.5.&title=&part=&chapter=3.&article= I don't have all the answers but the answers are out there - you just have to look.
  9. In California if you have riparian rights you don't need any sort of permit or permission. From the California Water Board. "A riparian right entitles the landowner to use a correlative share of the water flowing past his or her property. Riparian rights do not require permits, licenses, or government approval, but they apply only to the water which would naturally flow in the stream. Riparian rights do not entitle a water use to divert water to storage in a reservoir for use in the dry season or to use water on land outside of the watershed. Riparian rights remain with the property when it changes hands, although parcels severed from the adjacent water source generally lose their right to the water." Interesting: https://www.watereducation.org/aquapedia/federal-reserved-rights I agree that prospectors and miners need to comply with the law. Does anyone here know of a law that requires a permit to highbank in California?
  10. Not all gold districts have detectable gold. You can have a boatload of fine gold under your feet and nary a peep from your detector with many gold deposits. There is free information that will help answer you question but most folks aren't going to give you a pointy finger to a personal patch. Below is a link to download Placer Gold Deposits of Arizona. It is the best quick reference guide for Arizona placer deposits. Everyone who intends to placer in Arizona should have a copy. http://www.mylandmatters.org/Library/Item=8193 The book is free as are all the other resources in the Land Matters library. Just poke around in there and you are bound to find something useful.
  11. Please don't try the strawman argument with me jasong. I respect you and your opinions but that respect will dissolve quickly if you try to put words in my mouth. I never even implied that a discovery wasn't necessary to locate a mining claim. My post was in response to your demonstratively false assumption that location discovery also had to be proof of a valuable mineral deposit for a claim to be valid. There is no such requirement or law. Yes I often do work with those big mining companies as well as small miners like yourself. I don't see any need to defend their location practices. I have never experienced a mining or exploration company that didn't make a genuine effort to prospect and discover valuable minerals before locating mining claims. Not only would that be economically foolish but it would get their stock promptly delisted from the exchanges. There are strict due diligence and reporting rules for those who offer mining stock to the public. Those security exchanges rules are based on, and closely follow, the mining laws and court decisions. I imagine some fly by night "mining" company may have foolishly tried to locate without discovery - crooks abound in all industries. Assuming a mining company hasn't made a discovery before locating claims is due to ignorance that is easily remedied. Look over the heavily regulated public statements mining companies are required to make when they add mining properties and you will find clear, well defined statements as to what their discovery, and location, are based on. It's public information. And no - CFRs are not law, they are agency regulations. They can be presented in court along with public records, individual statements, pictures and affidavits from your mother stating what a nice boy you are. If your mother disagrees with the CFR regulations the court will give deference to the CFR over your mother's opinion but an actual law will always trump a CFR. That's why the federal agencies are often ordered by courts to change their faulty CFR regulations to comply with the actual law. I'm not engaging in an argument with you jasong. I'm attempting to educate yourself and others how the law actually works and what it means. Education is the key to cleaning up mining industry problems and misinformation just creates rancor and obstructs the goal of a clean working mining claim system. I appreciate you engaging with us on this subject, hopefully a better understanding of the issues for readers will be the result. Ultimately I think Steve nailed it. The real base of the problem is unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of the ignorance of uninformed claims buyers. When the rubber meets the road no mining claim is even worth the cost of the staking, recording and filing fees without evidence of mineable valuable minerals. A quit claim isn't a promise of value it's just one way to relinquish your individual right (or lack of rights) to a property - even if that property has no value or even if you don't own it. If we can communicate that simple fact to potential future claim buyers a lot of these problems will be solved.
  12. I see you still misunderstand the laws regarding the validity of mining claims jasong. The "law" you point to is really just a set of regulations that have nothing to do with a claimants right to peaceful enjoyment and exploration of their mining claim - whether they have discovered and proven a valuable mineral deposit or not. There are two very clear and distinct aspects of the validity of a mining claim. 1. The first is the superior right of a claimant to the minerals, within the bounds of their claim, against subsequent prospectors and claimants. This right exists as long as the claimant maintains their annual obligation to record in the public and file with the BLM their intent to hold that claim, some states have additional requirements to maintain monuments or pay taxes. As long as a claimant meets those individual State and Federal defined requirements their claim is good and defensible against subsequent prospectors and claimants. There is no requirement that a claimant prove a valuable mineral deposit, an economically valuable deposit, meet the prudent man or the marketability sub rule to legally hold their claim. It doesn't matter if they are recreating or enjoying their casual exploration. They are free to lease, rent, sell or trade those rights. There are thousands of cases, including Supreme Court cases, stating this as well as the surface administration agencies stating this same basic right to exclusive use of a mining claim by the claimant, renter, lessee or purchaser. It's perfectly legal and appropriate for a person to locate a mining claim with the intent to resell it at a profit. That's how the mining business works and always has. The government, including the BLM, can not enter into any dispute among adverse claimants - that's the first law of mining passed in 1865 and still very much valid to this day. It's fantasy to think the BLM has an obligation or even a right to "devalidate" individual mining claims simply because you, or a sympathetic BLM agent, thinks the mining claim is not being held for the right reasons. The high horse you are riding in this regard is really more of a hobby horse. 2. The second aspect of validity is in respect to the federal government's right to dispose of the public lands as they wish. When Congress or the Secretary of the Interior wish to withdraw, sell, trade or dispose of the public lands they have an obligation to respect and preserve or compensate prior rights to the lands. One of those prior rights they have to respect are the rights of a mining claimant to the minerals within the bounds of their mineral claim. If the claimants right to the minerals has already been perfected by establishing proof of valuable minerals that a prudent man could reasonably expect to make a profit mining and marketing the government will either need to preserve the claimants mineral rights by excluding the mining claim from their land action or reimburse the claimant for the value of their deposit minus the costs of mining and marketing the minerals. Yeah they have to pay the mining claimant. If the claimants right to the minerals has not been perfected then the government has the right to close the mining claim without compensation. Now here comes the validity you keep pointing to. The government can't allow or disallow that mining claim until they have made an independent final determination as to whether the claim does have a valuable mineral deposit. Due process, the 5th amendment, the right to be heard, property rights and the American way create that obligation. To make a validity determination the government has to complete a mineral examination. Mineral examinations can be as easy as checking the authenticity of the claimant's perfected mineral proof or as difficult as physically sampling and exploring the minerals within the mining claim to determine their marketable value. Either way the process is expensive, time consuming and if the claim is not validated often leads to an appeal and possible suits in court (1st amendment right to petition for redress). As you can see for the government to challenge the validity of a mining claim is a long and expensive process and only relates to their right to dispose of the land. That right to determine validity does not extend to a right to challenge a mining claim based strictly on intent, adherence to state location or maintenance laws, mining methods, individual use, the objections of other miners or prospectors or the marketing of title to the minerals. Your theories about claim validity exhibit a misunderstanding of the mining laws and their intent. That's not unusual, mining law is complex. Please consider what I have written here. Continually repeating your theories as if they are fact are misleading to readers here. Normally I would back up my statements with legal cites etc. but that's a very tough process for most people to follow and would take this thread even further from the important point Condor was making in his original post. On one level I'm glad you raised this issue again jasong. Currently I'm working with Terry Maley to update and republish his excellent Mineral Law book. Your post has prompted me to consider suggesting we put more emphasis on explaining the differences between the mining claimants right and duty to hold their claim against subsequent prospectors and the government's right and duty to determine claim validity before completing land actions. It's already covered in his excellent book in chapter 18 but if you have studied that chapter and didn't understand the difference it might be a good thing to see if it can be reworded. If you haven't read Mineral Law I suggest you get a copy and study it - it's the most cited reference in BLM publications and IBLA hearings as well as being commonly cited in courts and Congress. It's become difficult and expensive to get a physical copy of Mineral Law (it's been out of publication since 1996) so Land Matters is working with Mr. Maley to make an updated Mineral Law publication available on their website. I'll make a post here when that becomes available. To be clear I HATE claims mongers and their overpriced claim sales scams. Unfortunately there is no legal or administrative way to prevent them from ripping off newbies and wannabes short of proving fraud. The only clear path I can see to prevent their influence is education. If potential buyers are made aware of the pitfalls of buying mining claims without proof of valuable minerals the claims mongers would go out of business. Condor's post was very effective in making that point and is a good start towards solving the problem. Perhaps if we were all less reluctant to point out this bad behavior some progress can be made in educating the unwary?
  13. That's just the paper futures market Skip. Local gold dealers are paying well over spot and buy prices are all still well over $2,000. This disconnect between the paper and physical markets has been going on for nearly a year.
  14. When the western states were created they were granted the beds of navigable rivers. The water is controlled by the feds but the actual soil/rock of the river bed, to the ordinary high water mark, was given to the state in trust for the people of the state. It has nothing to do with commercial dredging. The state can't sell the river bottom land and it's not part of the income land grants that are managed by the State Land Department for the 13 state land trust beneficiaries. It is known as Arizona State sovereign land to distinguish it from the 9 million acres of trust land grants than can be sold/leased. The beneficiary of the State Sovereign lands are all the people of the State, whether they are citizens or not.
  15. All of the Colorado river in Arizona below the high water mark is Arizona sovereign land (not State Trust land). Detecting or prospecting on those lands is illegal without a contract with the State.
  16. This is encouraging. This is exactly why Land Matters was created. After 8 years I too think they have made a difference. It sure is nice to hear that from users! Thanks so much for the comments. Land Matters is an all volunteer charity and our only "pay' is knowing we have helped. I'm enjoying this payday.
  17. I don't see anything in your link that says a locator has to maintain their monuments or stakes. Of course that's just an informational graphic and isn't a law or regulation. That link does have this little gem: "Most states have statutes and regulations concerning the actual staking and recording of mining claims so claimants should refer to the appropriate state agency for additional requirements before locating a claim." So here we go back to the state laws to find out what the State laws on staking claims are. 3902. The location of a placer claim shall be made in the following manner: (a) By erecting at the point of discovery thereon a conspicuous and substantial monument, and by posting in or on the monument a notice of location containing all of the following: (1) The name of the claim. (2) The name, current mailing address or current residence address, of the locator. (3) The date of the location, which shall be the date of posting the notice. (4) The number of feet or acreage claimed. (5) A description of the claim by reference to some natural object or permanent monument as will identify the claim located. (b) By marking the boundaries so that they may be readily traced and by erecting at each corner of the claim, or at the nearest accessible points thereto, a conspicuous and substantial monument. Each corner monument shall bear or contain markings sufficient to appropriately designate the corner of the mining claim to which it pertains and the name of the claim. Where the United States survey has been extended over the land embraced in the location, the claim may be taken by legal subdivisions and no other reference than those of the survey shall be required, and the boundaries of a claim so located and described need not be staked or monumented. The description by legal subdivisions shall be deemed the equivalent of marking. California State law says most Federal Placer Mining Claims don't need to be staked or monumented but they must be recorded. Many other mining states have the same location laws. So now you have legal placer mining claims that were never required to place a monument or corner stakes. Once again we see that the only public source of mining claim location information is found within the records held at the county recorder. Not on the ground, not at the state and not at the federal level. It's been that way for more than 100 years. And NO you can not locate a mining claim by sitting behind a computer. I never implied that so I'm not sure what logic you are seeing in my writing. The laws are clear that you must first discover a valuable mineral deposit on lands open to location within the bounds you intend to claim. If you haven't done that you can't locate a claim. Mining isn't done on a computer. I hope that clears things up for you Tom. If not I would be happy to discuss this further with you, perhaps in another thread? It's considered rude to hijack someones thread to discuss a subject that wasn't brought up by the original poster. Lets let Bucksnboulders have his thread back.
  18. That's a foolish and counterproductive attitude Tom. It's always the prospectors legal duty to determine the status of any land they intend to prospect - that includes mining claim rights. I see you are in California. Are you aware there is no legal requirement in California to maintain markers or signs indicating the boundaries or even the existence of a mining claim? Those are the "current regulations". Mineral ownership (mining claims included) in California have the same status as any other real estate. Just like you aren't required to post a sign to keep people from entering your garage and "prospecting" for some nice tools there is no legal requirement to maintain signage on a mining claim. Under the law the only notice you need to provide to the general public is a record of the mining claim location notice recorded at the County Recorder's office. That single location notice public record legally puts the public on notice of your mineral rights. No signs or markers required. Personally I think any mining claim worth owning is worth posting with notices informing the public of the mineral status. That's not a legal requirement in any state but as a practical matter it makes sense. Lets look at how that actually works in practice. A placer claim can be as large as 160 acres. How many notices would the claimant have to post to make sure you know you are on a mining claim? (Your stated standard) That probably depends on the terrain. Lets suppose that 160 acre claim is almost flat. How far away can you see a mining claim sign when you are wandering around prospecting on that claim? Can you read a sign 1/4 mile away? That's the distance between corners on a 160 acre claim. Now imagine the typical mining claim with it's many hills, washes and cliffs. How close together do the signs have to be then? A few hundred feet or less right? Now you are up to as many as 40 - 50 signs around that mining claim. Now imagine this very common situation where a range cow finally found a nice post to scratch that itch. The cow destroys your sign but dam it felt good to finally scratch that itch! This happens a lot. Is the claimant required to walk the mile boundary of their claim every day in case you show up prospecting and don't see the cow destroyed sign? Now I know I'm just some guy on the internet and you quite clearly believe you know the laws of mineral trespass so I'm going to share some of the California laws about mining claims: PUBLIC RESOURCES CODE SECTION 3900-3924 3921. The record of any location of a mining claim, millsite, or tunnel right in the office of the county recorder, as provided in this chapter, shall be received in evidence and have the same force and effect in the courts of the state as the original notice. 3922. Copies of the records of all instruments required to be recorded by this chapter, duly certified by the recorder in whose custody the records are, may be read in evidence under the same circumstances and rules as are provided by law for using copies of instruments relating to real estate, duly executed or acknowledged or proved and recorded. So yeah - mining claims are real estate. Taxable real estate in California. Entering someone else's real estate with the intent to take some of the real estate for yourself is theft under California law and every other state's laws. That pretty much covers the legal aspect of mineral high grading. Now the part where I said your idea was foolish and counterproductive. That wasn't meant to be a comment on your character but a warning as to the eventual consequences of your ideas about mineral ownership. From your posts I see you are a casual prospector. Usually folks that pursue mining for recreation get their knowledge of how to prospect successfully and their knowledge of good gold areas from other casual prospectors. Quite often casual prospectors will share a location or even their own claim with other prospectors. If those other casual prospectors can't trust your knowledge of where it's OK to prospect why would they share the spots they have already researched and found open to prospecting? As any successful prospector knows the key to success is doing the research to put you on good gold on open ground before putting boots on the ground. This legal requirement to determine the land status before you prospect is nothing new. It's just another skill needed by the successful prospector. Prospectors in the 1880's were able to meet that requirement by traveling to and studying the paper records so there is no reason a modern prospector can't do the same thing more easily. With online public records and resources like Land Matters that necessary research step is easier than it ever has been before. Maybe rethink your theory in light of the facts. It's the legal thing to do but more importantly respecting other people's property is the right thing to do.
  19. The BLM MLRS reporting system will be closed from 8 pm central time today March 8th until 9:30 am central time on Monday March 14th. You will not be able to research or file mining claims online until next Monday. If you need to file paperwork the BLM State offices will be available for walk in filings. Land Matters will still be available for current research and mapping during this time. We will be updating the Mining Claims maps later today.
  20. 581 ounces was worth $20,335 dollars in 1936. The average wage at the time was about $1,600 a year. The average house rent was $18 a month.
  21. Let's see... Whiskey, Big Strike, Scoundrels all around, Lost Gold, Dead Man - kinda saw that coming. 😎
  22. Drilling does not require a POO. A certain amount of surface resource disturbance might require an NOI but there is no need to disturb surface resources for small unit power drilling or even hand drilling. Consider a human powered Banka drill if you really want to go cheap. You will still have the problem with rock the drillers are talking about, you will still get such small samples that the nugget effect will destroy any credibility to your drill samples but you will be able to drill cheap and without any involvement from the Forest Service. There are reasons there are so many small rich gold deposits still to be mined in the west. The lack of water, access or easy digging are the primary reasons but in the end it's not whether the deposit is rich but whether the deposit can be mined at a profit.
  23. You do make a good point that many people don't diligently pursue their discovery. That, in some circumstances, can be a detriment to prospectors but it's not illegal nor does it invalidate their claim. Your points about discovery are well taken but very difficult and expensive to prove. Your quotes in red don't present a requirement for a valid claim, as you seem to believe, nor does it indicate a claim may be invalid if the discovery process is slow. It does restate the obvious that without intent, process and purpose a mining claim may still be challenged by adverse claimants. That's not news to any miner I've known. So if I get the gist of your argument ... The existing claim isn't valid because you don't see any evidence of valuable minerals. And/Or You don't think the claimant is doing enough work to prove their discovery. Do you see the disconnect here? If the claim isn't valid, in your opinion, because there are no valuable minerals then why the heck do you care if the minerals are claimed? If it does have valuable minerals then you will have to trespass to make your own discovery. First of all understand the case you are pointing to is a dispute between two claimants. The only question answered was who had the better right to the minerals on that particular location. The court did not invalidate a claim but did decide who had the better right to adversely claimed locations. Only one claimant can prevail when the same minerals are claimed by two people. These are civil matters between private parties and as the court stated in the decision the judgement only applies to those two claims. There is no precedence set. Each civil claim is decided on the unique facts and law involved directly in the dispute. No state court can create, define or alter federal law regarding mineral claims. This judgement only applies state location law. It has no application in another State or if the facts in a new case aren't identical (unlikely). From the case you cited: It is well settled, also, that the right to make a location, cannot be based upon a trespass. A "good" lawyer to challenge an existing claim doesn't exist. Part of the reason for that is stated in the case you cited: It is fundamental law in New Mexico that in a suit to quiet title the plaintiff must recover on the strength of his own title, and not on the weakness of the title of his adversary. In other words the right to work a claim is based on having a superior title to the minerals. You can't base a claim to title on the weakness of another miner's location. You have to have established mineral title through your own actions alone. The first of those actions being a valuable mineral discovery followed by publicly marking and recording your claim to the minerals. Of course since you read the case you know that the individual that lost their claims didn't even record or maintain the claim as required by law. They admitted they had never done any discovery work. They had a weak title from the beginning. Easy to challenge the adverse location but it still required a major outlay on discovery, location, exploration, lawyers, courts and more than three years of disputes. I'm not sure anything but a major deposit would be worth the effort unless the senior claimants, as in this case, hadn't bothered to complete their location record. From the case: The location notices were never recorded and there was no evidence to establish what, if anything, was done in connection with these locations. Evidently the appellants do not base their claims on these locations, but rather on possessory rights under the doctrine of pedis possessio. Also keep in mind the law requires you access the claim you believe to be invalid peacefully and openly. Working someone's claim because you believe it to be invalid without making an adverse claim is the opposite of peacefully and openly. The lack of public notice or the opportunity for the senior claimant to respond puts your actions in a different class. In fact if you actually discover and remove minerals based on nothing but your personal appraisal or opinion about the validity of the claim you may well be committing mineral theft. If you believe you have a superior claim to the minerals you will need a court judgement to enforce your belief in the real world. If you read this case critically I think you will see that it's a good argument against challenging even poor locations. The time involved in pursuing an adverse claim could easily take up all your free prospecting time ... and money.
  24. There is no right for the States to determine the mineral title on public mineral lands. You won't find such a law. States can not close valid claims nor can they determine whether the mineral claim is supported by an actual discovery. Those are exclusively federal functions. On the other hand the first court of record where your claim is situated is the only entity that can determine which locator has the better right to possession of the minerals when they are in dispute among them. That "first court of record" is usually the county superior court but the court name varies from state to state. You can find that provision in the very first federal mining law in 1865. Adverse claimants can not bring suit in federal courts to determine the better right to the minerals. 1865 Act: That no possessory action between individuals in any of the courts of the United States for the recovery of any mining title, or for damages to any such title, shall be affected by the fact that the paramount title to the land on which such mines are, is in the United States, but each case shall be adjudged by the law of possession. So for the locators defense against adverse claimants the State, County or Mining District court is the final arbiter if the adverse claimants can not come to a settlement. There is no federal remedy available. Should the United States choose to challenge a claimants rights to the minerals there is a long detailed process that involves notice and opportunity in the administrative tribunals with the right to appeal the administrative decision in the federal courts should the claimant feel the administrative decision be wrong. There is federal law governing the basic requirements to establish a mineral claim. Among those requirements are the necessity to clearly mark the boundaries on the ground, describe the claim's legal land description by prescribed methods (metes and bounds or public land survey depending on the claim type), limitations on the size and shape of the claim, and the requirement to make a public record of your location within 90 days. How that public record is made and maintained is up to the States, Counties and Mining Districts. Failure to maintain your public record can lead to a State, County or Mining District court to declare your claim to be abandoned Prima Facie. Prima Facie means "sufficient to establish a fact or raise a presumption unless disproved or rebutted". Essentially unless you prove otherwise other locators have a legal right to assume you have abandoned your claim if you not have maintained possession by keeping your State required record up to date. It's pretty easy to clear up that cloud on your mineral title by making a public record of your intent to maintain the claim. Notice that part of the 1865 law I underlined? The part about the Law of Possession. That's probably the most misunderstood aspect of mining claims today. The locator of a mineral deposit has the exclusive right to his discovered minerals against subsequent locators as long as he maintains possession. Possession is maintained by properly locating, keeping a public record, occupying and since 1980 making an annual informational filing with the BLM. Some States have additional requirements like maintaining monuments or paying taxes. Follow all those laws and you can maintain possession against adverse locators. To maintain possession from the federal point of view you need to meet the federal location and annual notice requirements as well as perfecting your discovery. Until you have perfected your discovery you have no legal right to the minerals adverse to federal action. In other words if you don't have proof of a valuable mineral deposit the feds can withdraw the minerals and close your claim without compensation. If you have perfected your claim the feds can still close the claim but they will have to pay you for the value of the minerals minus costs. Mining claims are the last claim of right to United States property that can be initiated and maintained by a citizen. There is no federal or state agency that can help you with location, maintenance, possession, recording or perfecting your mineral claim. The whole shebang depends entirely on the acts of the claimant. Miners aren't surveyors or lawyers so the courts and the laws are very lenient when it comes to the claim locating and recording process. Challenging another man's mineral claim on the basis of their paperwork is the act of Claim Jumping. Courts have no patience with claim jumpers so trying to rely on another claimant's technical errors to challenge their claim can go very badly for those foolish enough to try this end run around another's mineral rights. It is often suggested that should a claimant not provide signage or physical notice of their mining claim then the minerals are fair game. There is no basis in any law for this theory. The public record, available in each county, is legal notice to all prospectors of the locators rights to the mineral claim. A few States have a once a year requirement to maintain claim monuments. No State requires that claims be signed or monumented at any time following the original required monument date. It is always and everywhere the legal duty of prospectors to determine land and mineral ownership before putting boots on the ground. If you ignore that requirement you will have no defense against charges of mineral trespass or mineral theft.
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