November 24, 2020 

Clips from Alleghany


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10/16/2003  2:44PM

On September 21,2001, mine manager Jonathan was showing two MSHA inspectors an area of the second exit. He found a sign that was pointing in the wrong direction. He immediately corrected the situation. Either inspector said nothing to him about the incident, until the next day, when they returned and issued a citation to Jonathan and the company. The citation said that Jonathan was driving nails into timbers and flying chips could easily cause permanent disabling eye injuries because he failed to wear safety glasses.

The standard cited was 57.15004: eye protection shall worn “where a hazard exists which could cause injury to unprotected eyes.” Jonathan repositioned the sign and turned the hex screw into the soft wood with his thumb. He then tapped it with a small tool called a rap wrench, which most miners carry with them in their belt. The sign was about chest high. Jonathan did the right thing: he saw a potential wrong in a safety situation and corrected it. It was a small act yet he recognized the problem and fixed it. While his eyes were unprotected, no hazard existed.

Does this standard say that at all times a miner must wear safety glasses when he hit or strikes an object? No. It says when a miner is in danger he must wear eye protection. Why did the two inspectors not say something at the time of the incident? This is most unusual. In over twenty years of interacting with MSHA inspectors, I cannot remember one time when an alleged situation could result into a written citation that the incident was not discussed immediately.

Well, the citation was appealed and a hearing was held yesterday. The judge flew to Sacramento from the East coast. The prosecutor drove up from San Francisco. One inspector flew in from Montana. Bruce Allard drove up from Vacaville to prove his allegation. The MSHA Program Policy Manual states that: “In determining whether a violation could significantly and substantially contribute to the cause and effect of a mine safety or health hazard, inspectors must first find that an injury would be reasonably likely to occur if the violation were not corrected.” Allard could not provide the evidence to meet this requirement. He also testified that a miner must be wearing safety glasses any time he strikes an object. Wrong! Both sides will file a brief , so a decision is months away.

About 120 fifty-five-galloon drums of gold concentrates have accumulated from past milling at the mine. We are moving them near the county road where a transport company will take them to a refiner in Nevada for processing. Gold recovery is expected in the range or 500 ounces. The project should be completed next month.

10/14/2003  9:27AM

On October 1st, Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District did an inspection of the mine surface workings. The written report arrived in last week's mail. The conclusion: "In Compliance"

Tomorrow we have a hearing with MSHA in Yuba City. (8:30 a.m. at the Courtroom Family Law Building, 430 Center Street.) This is regarding a citation that was contested two years ago.
Last night the Downieville Lions had their monthly meeting and dinner at Casey's Place.
The weather is beautiful in Alleghany.

10/10/2003  9:11AM

On Wednesday an OSHA inspector visited the mine. No citations were issued.

Phillip O'Donnell author of "A Hardrock Miner & Endangered Freedom" (see "News" on this site) collected mining drills from in and around Alleghany for 50 years. He restored many of them.
On Monday Oct.6th a friend of the museum aquired the O'Donnell drill collection to keep it from leaving Alleghany. The museum will be looking for business and individual sponsors to help it aquire a portion of the collection. Details still need to be worked out.

Last winter the window in Mike's office was blown out by a windy storm. The window was literally blown to bits. A new sheet of tempered glass has been installed just in time for the winter.
Speaking of which, temperatures were in the 40's last night.

10/09/2003  3:41PM

The 40HP pump is back in place and running. It is quite a task moving heavy pieces of equipment in and out of the mine.

The new ladders continue to go in on the 49 winze. The miners estimate this project will be done Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Rae finished the 2002 financials for the Museum today. Membership renewal letters and nomination requests went out for the Museum last week. Membership information is posted on this web-site under "Tours".

David has been trying to scrape up cut-rocks in Gold Sales.

No word from PG&E about shutting the power off.

It is dry and windy in Alleghany. A little rain would be good.

10/07/2003  8:47AM

The 40 hp pump motor was fixed yesterday. Mike is driving down to Auburn today to pick it up.

The new ladders are going into the 49 winze.

Rae has been busy getting all the financial data for Underground Gold Miners Museum set up in Quickbooks. It is a mostly volunteer job but she enjoys it.

Something very exciting for the museum happened yesterday but this Scoop doesn't want to scoop that Scoop so you will have to wait for the details.

10/01/2003  7:52PM

The sump pump on the 1500 level died today. It has been a gem for eight years. The system will be down until the 40 horse power motor is repaired.

Fifteen ten foot ladders are finished. We are using steel after all, having designed the ladders with old two inch pipe and one inch re-bar.

09/29/2003  11:11AM

Saturday was a scary day for the residents of Alleghany. It was three in the afternoon and there was a stiff breeze blowing warm air up the canyon when the page went out that there was a fire in town. Luckily four out of six of our active fire-fighters were in town. (this is good for a Saturday!) Another arrived shortly having just gone up to the dump. As the fire-fighters went past the fire to get to the fire-house the fire had already spread from the Park by the County yard where it started (lower road) to one house and was to the upper road in one spot. Several people were in town who don't live here and they all jumped in and helped. Everybody pitched in. Our big truck was parked near the top of the fire where the primary attack took place, by this time the one house was fully involved and could not be saved. However, nothing else was lost. Amazingly the crew, residents and visitors in town managed to protect other houses and keep the fire from jumping the upper road until more enforcements came. And did they come! We had air tankers, helicopters, CDF crews, Pike Fire Department, Downieville and so many we couldn't keep track! CDF took over the incident and kept crews here until last night. Luckily there were only three minor injuries.
Sadly one family lost their home and the fire was started by some kids showing each other how to start fires at the park. A bank account has been set up at Placer Sierra Bank in Downvieville to help the family who lost their home. Six acres burned, a lot of it Sixteen to One property.
A huge thank you goes out to all the people and agencies who helped save the town of Alleghany!
 By Oak

09/29/2003  9:29AM

A suggestion for the display of the 116 piece collection - a classic place would be someplace in San Francisco - the City was built with 49er gold and a lot of it probably from the 16 to 1. The old San Francisco Mint would be a location once it is brought back to life. The City wants to remodel it to mixed-use and bring it up to current earthquake codes. Another location might be the Federal Reserve building. It is going through a remodel - that would be ironic wouldn't it? Or maybe one of the big banks.
 By Rick

09/26/2003  8:18PM

Here's to priceless determination!!!!!

09/26/2003  5:10PM

Rae paid the end of the month bills. Most of the accounts that are past due are co-operating with us. Mike loaned the company$12,000 today to cover the checks. It’s an unsecured loan. Scoop is confident in reporting that Mike believes in both the Ballroom heading and the crew’s ability and motivation to search, locate, and blast its way into a worthwhile pocket. Mining the Sixteen to One is unlike any other gold mine in certain ways. Rae posted a new photo today showing that February had a $100,000 day. In 1993 there was the million dollar day. In 1995 it was the two million dollar week.

09/25/2003  4:28PM

Pumps are operating.
Crew continues maintenance in 49 winze. Work going well. Rae filed a Form 8 today with the SEC as notification of our inability to pay our auditors.

Director O'Neill spent the day in Alleghany yesterday. He put together and eight page booklet of his drawings of the CDAA activities against all of us. One great line is uttered by the CDAA alligator or crocodile, some reptile anyway acting like a Carpet Bagger.
The miner says, "So maybe the grand jury will drop it.....evidence that we are innocent, and all that....and we can go home." The reptile says, "maybe not! maybe not enough evidence of your innocence in the crime we made up in first place."

This episode is under "Carpetbagger" in the comic section of our web site.

The booklet is entitled: "You are invited to a Hanging! We got the Bad Guys."

09/23/2003  5:55PM

Over the years moisture rots the wood underground. Some of the stairs between the 800 level and the 1300 level in the 49 winze have decayed and need repair. There is no work place requiring using the 49 winze, but occasionally the pumps and water level are checked. Our long-term plan, which we are following the best we can, is to use steel instead of wood for ladders and support in the winze. Money is tight, so we will fix the ladders with the wood currently on site. The repairs will likely last 5-8 years in wood. Labor is about the same for wood or steel.

Over the past years the shops and storage facilities became cluttered. Many valuable pieces of equipment are inoperable. This week we have repaired the high pressure steam cleaner, the tires on the dump truck, the 400cfm air compressor and the 600cfm air compressor. Like the squirrels, we are all active preparing for winter. Anyone interested in coming to the mine to help organize our valuable stuff will be welcomed with open arms.

09/20/2003  11:11AM

The Board of Directors met in Alleghany yesterday for its fall meeting, from noon to 4:30 pm. The financial and mine status were reviewed. We have about 100 tons of gold concentrates stored in 55 gallon drums. Assays are not exact because just like the mine, the mill produces gold cons according to the grade of the head ore. In mining this can be referred to as the nuggeting affect. Occasionally unscrupulous companies will announce assay figures ignoring to mention potential uncertainties of projecting the amount of gold based on assay results. We see it all the time in publications announcing drill results. Any real high-grade gold mine knows that its ore or concentrates are difficult to place dollar amounts with confidence. Having said this, we estimate the cons may contain $150,000. Barrack’s operation in Nevada will process the material, so the cost of transportation plus refining will reduce the net amount to the company. Mike plans to arrange shipping once the concentrates have been moved from the mill site to the county road.

The board accepted Steve Wilson’s resignation. Scott, Dan and Mike discussed what experience and skills would best serve the company in the future. Steve brought solid stock market talent to the company and helped us design the OAU X mart.

Years ago one of the houses in town was built over the boundary on company property. Also the mining family had expanded its yard beyond its property line. The heirs are selling the house and asked for a way to solve the problem. They and their agent presented a proposal, which we agree will solve the problem and create a very nice parcel. The amount of compensation will depend on the square footage but is not significant.

Mike will pursue funding for the following use of proceeds outlined in our private placement memorandum:
1. Open an heretofore-inaccessible area for exploration.
2. Re-establish compliance with the SEC
3. Place Company on one or more Public Markets.
4. Build a new Gold Detector.
5. Working capital including preparation of a Public Offering.
Before further stock offering are approved, the results of mining in the inaccessible area must be evaluated. We are cautiously optimistic that these veins contain scattered high-grade pockets, which will be detected by modern technology currently utilized at the mine.

The directors held a lengthy discussion about the damages the Company suffered because of the reckless activities of the California District Attorney Association. Several attorneys have reviewed the issues and presented a convincing argument both legal and factual as to the process. No decision was made to proceed with a suit for damages or to abandon this heading. The contemplated lawsuit is similar to the mining of high-grade pockets at the Sixteen To One mine.

The gold collection is back in Grass Valley. The Ketchum display was limited to about half of the pieces in the collection. We have yet to put the entire collection on display. It will be a fun project to show all 116 pieces in one location. Any ideas on a good site?

09/18/2003  8:33AM

So far no action from PG&E. Rather than repair the electric compressor we are putting our old diesel compressor back online.
We also have a diesel generator that will be adequate for running the pumps. One of our main objectives is to keep the lower levels of the mine dry.
David and Larry Cates (father and son) continue to break rock. We all know that one good pocket (doesn't have to be big by this mine's standards) of grade A quartz and gold slab material will go a long ways towards reducing our debt. The demand (for slab) is much higher than the supply. The tenacity of those who work here is what has kept this operation going. It is always easy for bystanders to judge other's decisions, but we all do the best we can under the circumstances. Our hats go off to the men who have labored hard looking for that elusive pocket! None of them doubt that it is there.
Roy will be busy building new ladders for the 49 winze for the next couple weeks. The new ladders will be metal, which lasts much longer than wood.
A meeting of the Board of Directors is scheduled for tomorrow.
 By bluejay

09/17/2003  5:25PM

It sounds to me that we are sinking deeper into the abyss with the passing of time.

It is becoming clearer every day that the Company's choices will utimately be assigned to its creditors thus relieving the indecision by the Board from making their painful but responsible decisions.

09/16/2003  6:06PM

Our electricity provider, P.G.&E, notified us today it would turn off our power due to the outstanding bill. This has been its option for some time. We got behind for several reasons: the increase in kilowatt hour charges, the high cost for use between noon and late afternoon, our inefficient pumping system, and the decline in production of gold.

We hope P.G.&E. will realize that mining created the revenue and usage for its initial foundation, and the Sixteen To One mine has used its power for almost a century without reneging on any amount of money owed to the electrical provider. We hope someone in the company extends a little more time for us to work ourselves free from the financial hard times we have endured. The bill is $79,000. During P.G.& E’s bankruptcy, a lawyer who provided three months of advice sent the bankruptcy court a $300,000 bill.

The Sierra County Historical Society has an event at the mine site this Sunday. Rae and Mike will volunteer their time to show them around.

09/15/2003  10:42AM

Friday the motor on the air compressor burned up. Roy and Ian are figuring out our best option for fixing it.

A good time was had in Alleghany yesterday into the night. Approx. 400 people showed up for Old Alleghany Days. Mark your calendar for Sat. Aug. 14th for next year's event. (We are going to try and stick to the second Saturday in August for this annual event) If you want to be added to the mailing list send an e-mail using the feed-back form on this site stating that you want to be added with your name and address.

Following are the results of the contests:

Drilling Professional Class:
1st Place: Larry Cates
2nd Place: Mark Loving

Drilling Novice:
1st Place: Jenny Berry
2nd Place: Larry Wells

1st Place: Mark Suden & Mark Loving

09/12/2003  9:41AM

We were sad to hear of Johnny Cash's death this morning.

The steam cleaner at the mine-site has been broken for some time. Joe managed to get it fixed yesterday, turned out to be the wiring.

Following are the introduction and conclusion of the post hearing brief. (77 pages of explanation in-between not included).


On November 6, 2000, a miner died. As a result of this tragedy both State and Federal agencies ran amuck by casting blame on his friends and fellow workers. This company and its miners reflect the true intent of the United States Congress, when it ratified The Act of 1977, which requires the responsibility of the operator and its miners to create and maintain a safe work environment. The corporation is merely the means to unite the components of labor, property and capital. A dear friend was lost, a son, a brother and a good soul. Let’s put this in perspective. What is this all about? Is it fixing problems at the Sixteen to One mine or is it work for MSHA and other agencies of the Federal government? Perhaps it is about money or individual growth and promotion by individuals working in a bankrupt system of bureaucracy.
I apologize for the length of this brief. It is necessarily long because of the serious misstatements by the prosecutor in charge of the case. There are also serious misrepresentations of the law and the facts in this painful subject. In order for the Court to reach an equitable resolution to the allegations of illegal behavior by Original Sixteen To One Mine, Inc., I felt the Court would appreciate the testimony and supporting references rather than merely a conclusion of the testimony. I have taken exact excerpts from the transcript. .
My anguish over the dismal misstatements by the Secretary have affected my confidence that her emissaries in the field are actually looking after the health and safety of America’s most precious resource, its miners. Have the participants in this investigation followed the laws, regulations, customs and mores of health and safety in the mining industry? It has become a possibility that other forces drove this investigation and subsequent administrative hearing. Therefore, I also reviewed the Secretary’s brief, checking statements with the cited transcript reference. Time and time again the reference had nothing to do with the opinions of the statements. This has been a new experience for me to address. Is it sloppy or is it intentionally misleading?
Mining is inherently a dangerous business, much like automobile racing is inherently dangerous or professional football or space travel. Miners at the Sixteen To One mine are keenly aware of this. They are provided all the tools to minimize the dangers. It is a small mine with a very connected crew. Everyone interviewed by the investigators was properly trained. Written procedures and policies are in place. Safety meetings are regularly held weekly. Equipment is kept in proper working order. Spare parts and supplies for performing mining were on the mine site. Management has stressed the need to stay focused on mining once the crew enters the property. After work it was not uncommon for the miners to get together where the topics of conversation would expand. It usually came back to mining because these miners love their work. At the work place it is all business.
So, the day Mark drove his locomotive into a stationary chute and died was special. It had never happened before to anyone associated with the company. For people who never met Mark to refer to him as a victim is inaccurate. For Steven Cain to concoct a story as he did from no evidence and continue propagating its veracity is an injustice to Mark and all the miners at the Sixteen To One mine and elsewhere throughout America. It may even be a crime.
There is no legitimacy to the two violations alleged by the Secretary. All of us who knew Mark Fussell, know the mine and are associated with the mining industry want this record to accurately reflect the events of November 6, 2000. For Mark, we have pursued the truth. We hope his death will help make the mines of America a safer place to work. A momentary loss of attention caused this accident. There was no defective equipment and the company and its partners in safety, its miners, are not negligent and guilty of violating any federal regulations. This was a tragic accident that must be recognized, if all of us at the Sixteen To One mine and throughout the industry wish to avoid a repeat in the future. It was an error in human judgment. Only until we recognize it for what it was can we take the educational steps necessary to reduce the potential for it happening again. This will be Mark Fussell’s legacy.


In introducing this brief, I pondered, “What is this all about?” After preparing it, I now ask, “Is there such a thing as an accident anymore?” Mark Fussell would be the first one to testify, “I messed up. My death was my responsibility, and no one is to blame. It was caused by my momentary lapse in attention.”
Federal law requires a mining company to conduct an investigation of a fatal accident. My investigation was very thorough and very lengthy. It included hugging Mark’s father. We both shared an unwanted bond, the accidental death of our sons. My investigation included attending Mark’s funeral, where so many of his friends gave testimony about his free spirit of life. Charles Schultz briefly addressed this during the hearing.
Mark Fussell died in a tragic accident, underground at the Sixteen To One mine. The two citations later issued by the Secretary of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration attempt to lay blame where none exists. They deserve to be dismissed.

Respectfully submitted,

By: Michael Meister Miller, president
Original Sixteen To One Mine Inc.

On: September 9, 2003
 By TheFoolofFoolsDay

09/10/2003  8:40PM

This is nice to read..

I love the news SCOOP.

yes somethin is better then nothing

09/10/2003  9:02AM

Mike has been swamped working on the Respondent's post hearing brief for the Administrative Hearing which is due. The finished document is 80 pages long.

Rae is very involved in the Community of Alleghany and has been busy getting ready for "Old Alleghany Days".

The hoist rope inspection is due and the person who x-rays it for us will be up next week.

The pumps are going. Production is not.

Cool weather in Alleghany.

Something is better than nothing right?

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Alleghany, California 95910

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