August 18, 2022 

Clips from Alleghany


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10/16/2009  3:16PM

Are the underground mines in the United States under regulated for safety?

Up to today’s date there have been sixteen fatalities in the metal/nonmetal mining industry. Fourteen occurred at surface operations. Two occurred at underground mine sites: a lead/zinc mine and a salt mine. Of the remaining fourteen surface operations only one (Newmont) was a gold mine.

Most mining organizations care about and demand safety. In California the mines are inspected by Cal/OSHA and the federal Mines Safety Health Administration (MSHA). Rumor is the current Secretary of Labor issued orders that will have the effect of creating more citations by the MSHA inspectors. Citations do not necessarily increase safety. Positive or constructive suggestions work best and have for many years. This is not to excuse misguided management or careless miners who flaunt safety. Let’s hope that MSHA contributes to underground safety in a constructive manner as the years advance.

10/04/2009  10:45AM

It is a fantastic crisp FALL morning in the High Sierra. Chance of snow in Truckee. Mostly clear in Alleghany. Full harvest moon popping up about 6pm. Life is grand within a physical environment like this AND we sit on top of a gold mine. Where is all the environmental degradation? Where is the Central Valley Water Board’s alleged Public Nuisance? It cannot be found in Kanaka Creek or the surrounding National Forest. The hills are alive with the fundamentals of life: physical nourishments, clean air and wonderful water.

Then there are the lawyers and employees working on behalf of the public 100 miles away in the Sacramento Valley. They consume precious Tax Dollars to pursue a mythical threat. Shame on them. Stop this flagrant abuse. Force them to change their misguided efforts to improve California, so our true Social-economic and Environmental problems will be addressed. Shame on them and everyone who follows their Path towards improving our Diverse Environments.

The Gold within this precious Mountain Range can fuel the necessary Revival in a very sick Californian economy. Do you agree or disagree? Scoop says, yes.

09/23/2009  9:31AM

Scoop is back from an unplanned summer break. Alleghany days are hot. Yesterday the town discussion revolved around concern for the gusting north wind whipping through the cedars, firs and pine trees. Fire continues to be in the news. People in the West and our fellow citizens throughout the United States are well advised to discuss fire. Its costs are staggering with questionable benefit to the earth.

Forest restoration could become the path leading our country out of its economic depression. Scoop isn’t crazy. The crazies are the well-meaning advocates, yapping that the forests must be left untouched by human hands. Balderdash! The most knowledgeable folks (certainly not many living in our overpopulated cities who spend an hour or two driving back and forth to work each day) want to move the concept of fire prevention into the realm of forest restoration. There is a significant difference.

How about the cost of an ounce of gold? It wasn’t long ago that a measly ounce cost $300. It’s over a thousand with some “gold experts” predicting another doubling. Scoop doubts we’ll see $2,000 and ounce gold in the coming months. What financial readjustment (not turmoil for those who have some) a price like $1500 would spawn! Even at the current price Alleghany should be alive with gold seekers, gunslingers, those “colorful characters” that appeared here in the gold rush of the 1970’s, serious financiers, adventurers, bored businessmen, wealthy oil profiteers, flim-flam floozies, young men seeking work and miners shouting, “Fire in the hole…Fire in the hole” each shift. That’s a Federal and State requirement each time a miner spits a round, and it is repeated twice. Fire in the hole is music to the gold miners’ minds: the sound of each timed hole exploding, the following smoke and smell plus a look at fresh broken quartz sometimes laced with gold.

Alleghany is quiet as fall approaches, although strangers pass through the last historic gold mining camp in the high Sierra. Some never get out of their truck or car. Some are full of questions. Gold is the attraction and one-reason strangers point their vehicle up a one way nineteen mile trip.

Scoop read about the latest antagonistic business thrust on the mine by the Sacramento water folks and allegations that the entire community has suffered a “Public Nuisance” because of water flowing down Kanaka Creek. Scoop and everyone living nearby knows that the creek poses no public nuisance. Scoop read that a cause of action in a civil lawsuit must state facts or the Court could reprimand the responsible lawyer for knowingly misleading the Court. Can lawyers allege something without any evidence? The Civil Code section 3479 defines nuisance as anything that is injurious to health. What isn’t toxic to health if the dosage is high enough? Oxygen is toxic then because pure oxygen can kill.

Glad to be back. Wish there were thirty miners working here. What’s wrong with this? Here is the oldest producing gold mine in the entire United States, one that has survived over 100 years of uncertainties and lacks the money to mine. If anyone believes that less gold remains on the Sixteen to One mine properties than has been mined in the past, they are not informed. Scoop has asked for an exclusive interview with Mike for his thoughts.
 By bluejay

08/23/2009  8:40PM

I was wondering, any strangers around town? The linked article below states that some of the nation's unemployed are headed back, again, to the California Goldfields.

08/22/2009  9:42AM

Scoop is impressed!!! Company registered geologist, Ray Wittkopp, ascended Mount Shasta in northern Siskiyou County, California this week. The first leg of the journey stopped above the 8,000-foot elevation where he and his son, Richard, spent the night. Ray says there is no defined trail but we scrambled up spans of talus where they experienced talus creep. Oh, talus creep is the slow downward movement of rock fragments, either individual rock fragmented or the mass as a whole.
Naturalist and author John Muir said of Shasta:
"When I first caught sight of it over the braided folds of the Sacramento Valley I was fifty miles away and afoot, alone and weary. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.”

When they got to the top. They realized it was a false summit and another steep climb was still ahead. Ray is a determined walker (now a rock climber) and finished the climb to the very top of the mountain. Not bad for a 66 year old.

While the view was an emotional high, Ray noticed the brown haze sitting atop the blue smoke that drifted about northern California from various forest fires. What’s a most serious environmental threat to the future of humans and other forms of breathers? Brown air. As in any toxin, it’s the dosage that counts. Remember you will die if you breathe pure oxygen or drink too much pure water.

Hats off to Ray and tip your glass to his spunk.
 By cw3343

08/19/2009  10:42AM

Regarding the last post: just a small clarification, SPI's owner is Red Emmerson. Not sure who Red Perkett is...
 By bluejay

08/15/2009  7:40PM

Relating to the fair, this is a reaction from a Quincy resident:

The fair's theme is "Relive the Memories~Recapture the Fun" and has always featured mining, railroads, ranching, timber, agriculture and homearts. Thursday's attendance was up from previous years, probably because the laid off mill workers were looking for some fun time with their family. I just had a dozen trees removed from my property and three 40' logs were donated to the fair for Saturday's logging show. This is because Sierra Pacific Ind. owner Red Perkett reneged on his offer to donate logs. Red Perkett is the largest single, land owner in the U.S. But the sawmill in Quincy (largest west of the Mississippi) isn't closing. They just are milling more lumber than they can sell because no one is building homes. It's a business decision to keep Red happy at the expense of his workers. But I haven't heard any's a way of life for the mill workers that they've adapted to through generations.

08/14/2009  6:57PM

The Plumas/Sierra County Fair opened yesterday in Quincy, the Plumas County seat. The theme of the fair is “What makes our counties tick?” The directors decided to feature mining, agriculture, timber and railroads. Mining was first. And most historical mining was for gold.

Sierra County borders Plumas County on its northern flank. Both have a common boundary with the state of Nevada. Plumas population is about 21,000 while Sierra has 3,600; however Sierra operators dominated the gold show by setting up an eclectic display of gold specimens, historical posters, photographs T shirts and jewelry.

Sierra County made a huge and significant cultural jump by displaying its own 1000-ounce placer nugget collection, the first time is has left the County. Retired sheriff and current supervisor, Lee Adams, guarded the display, well sort of. He engaged the passer bys with the nugget stories and history but confessed that all the pieces (158) were replicas of the real nuggets. The fair goers interest was very positive in bringing the real nuggets back home. Everyone agreed that this would be the right thing to do for the real Gold Country.

Thursday’s attendance was a real flop. The rural people of northern California are not having much fun since special interest Americans have attacked the mining, timber and agricultural industries that are the foundations of and reasons for their existence. Maybe rural cleansing needs to expand its name. Maybe the West is seeing cultural genocide in the mountain and rural areas of the west. There weren’t many miners. Only a few hangdog hobby dredgers were moping about. As of a few days ago the fair directors couldn’t even find enough loggers to make a splash for Friday’s celebration. Everyone seems pretty sad about the sawmills closing in Quincy.

The most vibrant part of the fair was (and probable will continue to be) with the animals and their handlers, young 4-Hers. They maybe the last vestige of the once productive and vibrant rural mountain communities coming into the deadly sights of the most self-centered, entitled, arrogant men and women breathing the air, drinking the water and eating and excreting their waste that the West has ever seen. These kids with their animals may be the last ones standing.
 By martin newkom

08/04/2009  2:25PM

There is a "strike" waiting to
happen just like in the H.L.
Johnson Tightener. Also my
wife's grandpa back in the
l840-50's found big (bigre!french term) nuggets he
found in Kanaka Crk. So it's
there, we know. We need hope.

07/31/2009  10:56AM

Slow morning in Alleghany but the following seems worth repeating.

China has gone crazy for gold.
In April the government's Foreign-Exchange Agency announced the purchase of an additional 16 MILLION ounces for state coffers.
A few months earlier, National Geographic Magazine reported that for the first time China had surpassed the U.S. as a buyer of gold jewelry.

But here's the amazing thing few investors realize...

What the Chinese government did for oil over the past decade... they are today doing for gold. This is a huge development. China is also one of the few countries in the world where known gold reserves are increasing... not shrinking.
In short, the Chinese government wants more gold. It realizes gold is one of the only buy-and-hold investments in the world right now. The Chinese have a lot of money to spend... nearly $2 Trillion according to a recent report in The New York Times.

The Ministry of Land and Resources has completely rewritten the country's mining laws (known as the Minerals and Resources Law) to encourage local and foreign companies to explore for and produce more gold. The government has also recently created the Shanghai Gold Exchange, to allow anyone to trade gold, on the open market, without government interference.

Twenty years ago, China produced an inconsequential amount of gold. Today, China is the #1 gold-producing nation in the world (a fact Scoop lacks multiple sources to support).

When it comes to gold mining in China, it's a whole different world than what is found in America or Canada. There's no such thing as a NI43-101 disclosure form for mining companies. Instead of a handful of giant companies running the industry (how global gold mining has evolved, especially in the US), it’s basically thousands of small operations scattered across the country.

In short, it's like the American Wild West. Ah, the American wild west; frontier freedom and frontier justice; pioneering spirit as defined by the California gold rush and the population and development of the west; exploiting the natural resources for the benefit of society; producing new wealth. Go, China, go!

As Mike has offered “The California gold belt is the most proven deposit with the fewest miners working it on earth.”

Scoop asks, “Why is the American investor asleep and ignoring gold and developing the gold assets of its oldest gold mining company?”
 By Rick

07/05/2009  8:37PM

Just another crucial thought....

Let's celebrate our birth of Freedom!

Let's not be caught sitting on our butts while it melts away by thieves.

07/04/2009  11:40AM

Happy Birthday to the world’s greatest experiment in the extension of freedom to all.

It happened in a land called America, which evolved into the United States of America.

When our means of barter are under tyrannical control, be that control appointed, elected or assumed the experiment is over. Freedom suffers. Barter in this instance means the exchange or trade of goods and services for something of equal value. The following American leaders had this to say:

“If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some.” Benjamin Franklin

“Money is a good servant but a bad master.” Francis Bacon

“Americans have little faith. They rely on the power of the dollar.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money.” Benjamin Franklin

“Can anybody remember when the times were not hard and th4e money not scarce?” Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Opportunities are greater today than ever before in history. Young people graduating from our schools have greater chances for health. Happiness and prosperity than had the children of any previous generation. A little money will today in setting up a young man or woman in business will do more than it would ever do heretofore. There is a greater demand today for people of character than at any time in the history of America. Industry, intelligence, imagination and persistence are great gold miners’” Roger Ward Babson

06/22/2009  6:14PM


It was a beautiful day last Saturday for the 98th annual shareholder meeting. About 100 shareholders, fifteen present or past employees and a handful of welcomed volunteers gathered at the mine. President Michael Miller called the meeting to order at 10:37am with a quorum just over 8 million shares. Thirty hands were raised as first time attendees. The President outlined what to expect: lunches served from noon to 3pm, underground tours til 4pm, gold offered for sale (great T-shirts as well), and a review of the activities since last year and current affairs.

Minutes were read and past . The names of Scott Robertson Dan O’Neill and Michael Miller were offered for reelection and elected. Prez Miller revived the financial reports that were sent to shareholders. Revenue dropped $548,000 in 2009 from 2008 yet the loss from operation increased $50,000. Liabilities increased $133,000 and inventory decreased $82,000. This was a result of a much scaled down maintenance program from a production mining program, careful sales of inventory to maximize revenue and efforts by the crew to keep the company operating.

The specimen gold collection sale was a disaster. The catalog was late in its printing with little promotion. Although several people spent great effort seeking a buyer to preserve it , no offers were forthcoming. The Brown Bear property was listed for $1.3 million surface and $2.3 million for surface and mineral rights.

Mike detailed his work to get a bank loan for $3.5 million. What a revealing story about the government stimulus package. A small Plumas County bank and a manager from the federal Department of Agriculture visited the property early spring for a site visit. All went well and Mike’s representation to his directors jumped from a 50/50 possibility to a 80/20 likelihood that the loan would happen. All had reviewed the company’s paperwork and based on a guarantee by the Dept of Ag it looked like it would be funded. The regional government has $1 billion available with another $2.9 billion coming from Congress.

The fed wants to get jobs, get money in the hands of workers and break the ill liquid situation facing the country. Well, two weeks ago the bank rejected the loan. A flimsy excuse was offered. A discussion was held with valuable input coming from some shareholders. Find another bank. After all if a lender has a 100% guarantee that it will not loose its money, what is the problem? If this is what the federal leaders want, do it. Well, another federal agency, the FDIC is regulating the bankers out of the lending business. Sound familiar? Confusion about purpose and fear are alive and affecting the nation’s recovery.

The private loan company ($400,000 first deed) called the note on June 1. The Company must come up with a full payment by September. Mike will pursue a solution. Ideas welcome.

The mine is well maintained. The water level is holding. Some bad ground was caught up with support. The roads and surface looked pretty good. The permits are in order. And the last inspection brought no citations. Shareholder Ott was present and available to discuss the hydro plant. Former director Sandor Holly flew up from Los Angeles and gave an update of the world of detection (not gold but, you know, secret government detection). Much is happening and some will help the Sixteen to One locate gold.

A film crew from London arrived to film gold and the quartz vein for an upcoming documentary. It is the second part of “How the Planet Formed” a high quality presentation of the history channel. No date for showing is know but sometime in the fall.

President Miller ended the meeting raising a metal hammer up for view. It was a pathetic tool: a bent thin metal rod for a handle, a big screw jammed to hold the hammerhead on the improvised handle. But it was solid and could drive anything before it. He said he found it last week while cleaning the old shop. He looked at it and thought that it represented the will and creativity of a distressed miner in need of a hammer. He said,” Times are tough for our company but as this hammer represents how a miner overcomes a problem by fixing it, our situation will return to success. We need to get some more miners working. The gold will follow”

06/18/2009  3:19PM

The weedwackers are buzzing in Alleghany.

Tents are up at the minesite landing.

Ovens are baking goodies for the bake sale Sat.

The clampers are coming to town and the 16 to 1 shareholders and a group of bicyclist! There also is a training operation going on in Plum VAlley Sat. with all the local fire departments and the Forest Service.

Busy weekend.

For those driving to Alleghany Sat. there will be a parade in North San Juan at around 9 am. The way to get around it, is to turn off at Tyler Foote Road off Hwy 49 before you get to North San Juan. Then just past the white fire station on the left and at the store "Mother Truckers" turn left on Oak Tree road, this will take you back to hwy 49 at the post office in North San Juan and hopefully the parade doesn't go down that far!

06/05/2009  10:53AM

Alleghany had heavy thundershowers on the night of the 3rd into yesterday morning. A little over one inch of rain fell. The lightning show was impressive!

An MSHA inspector visited the mine on Thursday. The compliance paperwork was reviewed and no citations were issued.

Please look at the homepage as Rae Bell has been busy updating information on the gold collection. Edda Snyder is putting together a color catalog with individual prices that should be available next Thursday the 11th. Send $10 to receive your catalog.

Edda is graduating from High School today! She has been working in the corporate office a few days a week as part of her senior year studies. The mine is lucky to have her graphic art talent on board and she is learning to do the bookkeeping too! Congratulations on your graduation Edda!

Underground Gold Miners Museum had its annual meeting of membership last Saturday. Two new board members were appointed and the incumbents, whose seats were up, were re-elected. The membership adopted an amendment to the bylaws to allow up to eleven board members. This was done in the hopes of getting more active involvement going. Currently there are six board members and their biographies will be updated soon on the museum web page. A raffle was held of all current members and John Scully won the raffle prize. To become a member and support the museum’s efforts to preserve, promote and protect mining resources through education go to the museum link (upper right) on the Sixteen to One home page and then click on “membership” on the museum page. Underground Gold Miners of California Museum is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. The museum is a separate entity from Original Sixteen to One Mine, Inc. Many people seem to be confused about this. Establishing its own identity is one of the museum’s priorities this year.

The Sierra County Fire Safe council was awarded a grant to create a “fire safe zone” below the town of Alleghany. The project is well underway and must be completed by June 30th.

Sierra County has applied for a grant from the Dept. of Housing and Community Development to build a new ambulance station in Alleghany. A public hearing will be held on Thurs. June 11th at the firehouse in Alleghany at 6pm. This is a much needed structure for Alleghany. Our ambulance is over 20 years old and is unreliable. Downieville Fire Protection District has a new ambulance to give to Alleghany but it is too large to fit in our current structure. As a matter of fact the only way we were able to get the current ambulance in the shed was by shaving a couple inches off the rafters in the shed and removing the antennas from the roof of the ambulance!

06/01/2009  2:28PM

Pencils were sharpened and calculators were firing as David and Mike reviewed the gold collection with the intent to drop prices. Thirty-one pieces out of 100 were studied (all specimens with no carvings). The old price totaled $323,090. The new prices dropped $71,955. Even though the spot price for gold rose from the original pricing, the idea is to bring them down to make some sales.

The next step is to cross-reference them with the photographs made last spring and make a nice spread for this web site. Too bad no one stepped up to keep the collection whole. It is truly a slice of California’s gold as Huell Howser would say.

04/24/2009  8:26AM

It is snowing here this morning! What did I just say?

04/22/2009  10:54AM

Springtime in California is as unpredictable as its politics. It's hot!!

Word is that a couple of hundred tons of footwall has moved into the 800 level so the track is no longer passable. That sounds like a big number but it should be fixed and timbered in three days. Maintainence is on-going and a must for most underground mines.

04/14/2009  1:44PM

It's snowing in Alleghany today. Not reallly sticking though.
 By mnewkom

04/14/2009  1:44PM

For Rick: los osos todavia
estan duermiendo, quisas.

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Alleghany, California 95910

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