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Miners uniting

Posted: Tuesday, Feb 19th, 2013

courtesy photo Brothers David and Daniel Keen operate a four-inch dredge while mining for gold. The practice of suction dredging has been criticized by many as being harmful to waterways.

There may be gold in them there hills, but legislation recently introduced by Oregon lawmakers could make that gold quite a bit more difficult to get to, and local miners are banding together with their counterparts throughout the state in an attempt to stop what they view as an “all-out war on mining.”

Tom Pepiot is President of the Bohemia Mine Owners Association, a group that acts as a sounding board for miners’ issues in the Bohemia Mining District, a 25 square mile site located about 35 miles southeast of Cottage Grove in the Calapuya Mountains.

Pepiot said miners across Oregon have for the first time united for a single purpose, in this case their opposition to three bills introduced to the Oregon Senate. Senate Bill 115 would prohibit placer mining—most typically mining the deposits of streambeds—using motorized means, which would include the form of suction dredging used by many miners in the Bohemia District.

Senate Bill 370 would create a fee system for commercial placer mining and charge a $125 fee for a permit that would allow its bearer to operate a suction dredge with a nozzle that cannot exceed four inches in diameter. Senate Bill 401 would designate Brice Creek and many other Oregon waterways as Scenic Waterways. This designation would end placer mining in the creek, though it may also have impact on those who own property on its banks.

For the complete article see the 02-20-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-20-2013 paper.

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