September 18, 2019 

From the Sixteen to One Archives


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 By Michael Miller

01/16/2019  1:19PM

From The Comic Journal October Issue:
“Is Dan O'Neill our age or older?” Adele said.

“Older?” I said.

“Well, he’s still got all his marbles,” she said. “Or as many as he ever had.” The occasion for these remarks was our receipt of his first book in thirty years, The House Next Door (Hugh O'Neill & Assoc.). “It’s the first time I’ve understood the relationship between gold and money.”

“You understand it?”

Dan O’Neill, a director since 2002, of Original Sixteen to One Mine, Inc. brought a much appreciated “punch” to the Sixteen to One operation. He is an Hall of Fame” cartoonist. No, this gold mine is not a joke. He created comic relief with his first drawing about the underground mine, which you can find on this web site.

Call it humor, satire or honest wisdom, his first book in thirty years (limited first edition with 23 corrections now corrected) is available from priced at $19.95. Dan just sent me the feature article yesterday in the “The Comics Journal”. Copy and click on the link below. Bob Levin wrote the article entitled “Why Does the 12-Inch Tall Piano Player Sing?” Warning: it isn’t an easy read.
 By Michael Miller

07/16/2018  3:49PM

Clarence Ellis, titled his regular column of Pay Dirt June 2002, issue “MSHA Doesn’t Understand that Coal, Metal Mines Different”. I am an historical mining junkie, so this sixteen year old article was easy to find today. May it interest you as well. If you haven’t read Respondent’s brief, filed July 12, go to NEWS on this website. Become aware of a sad reality: lawlessness on display by career public employees, especially lawyers. Convictions, fines, penalties, control and withholding exculpatory evidence (remember the CDAA) measured a pathway to higher positions; even for those I respect the most: judges.

The article begins, “What happened to yesterday’s MSHA? Is there anything left of the agency that was dedicated to the miner’s personal safety? When was the Mine Safety Act amended to create a force worthy of a police state? When safety enforcement is measured by its ability to raise dollars, its primary purpose has vanished. It does not appear that any of the higher-ranking Washington bureaucrats are even remotely connected to the field personnel. It also does not appear than any of the elected officials are aware of how their constituents are being treated or they would stop the daily abuse.”

Sounds familiar to today’s miners and operators! Ellis cites the mine act approved in 1969 and amended by Congress in 1977 and asks, “If the law hasn’t changed, what happened to the way enforcement has changed? What has happened to the friendly, helpful inspector who used to visit the mines?” Well, the early work force had mining backgrounds. Most retired or passed on and were replaced by those with a totally different agenda.

Today, my industry must deal with people with no mining background. It is a slippery slide towards the extinction of the small mine operator in America.

The cause pointed out in 2002, continues today. “The problem with the agency seems to start when its people begin ignoring the 1977 Act. Then they started interpreting the 30CFR regulations in highly creative ways.”

It is a lengthy article and worthwhile which is why I recalled it easily. You are directed to the FORUM Topic “YOU JUDGE***” ENTRY July 12, 2018, and NEWS same date for an important event now in progress.

Mr. Ellis closes his article: “When any inspector forgets—or ignores his trust in bringing the Mine Safety Act to the miner, he no longer is serving his purpose. Whether the inspector involved in the action just discussed acted out of ignorance or arrogance doesn’t matter. Neither is to be tolerated if the purpose of the Act is to be fulfilled.”

 By Michael Miller

05/03/2018  11:30AM

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento CA 95814

May 8, 2009

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

Credibility is an issue, not yours but perhaps our gold mine. We get blamed for a lot of things that are not true. I am President of Original Sixteen to One Mine, located about two hours northeast from Sacramento in Sierra County. The Company is the oldest gold producer in the United States, incorporated in California in 1911. I’ve had the president’s job for twenty-six years. I am looking for your attention. As a personal reference, I offer Bruce McPherson in Santa Cruz. Bruce is a childhood, family friend. You picked a good man for Secretary of State when you chose Bruce. Give him a call. We regret his loss in the last election.

Solutions are my mantra (as it is for many pre-hippy Californians). Consider implementing the following slogan with your executive branch employees: SQUARE. I remind our hard rock underground gold miners to incorporate it into their work ethic. SQUARE. S is for safety; Q is for quality of work; U is for you; A is for “accountability; R is for responsibility; E is for efficiency. Put them all together and it creates or becomes a behavioristic model for success in any workplace.

You are desperately needed right now. I humbly seek some things from you to help the gold mine, the blue-collar workers directly, our depressed rural county and the social and physical fabric of all Californians. Become a statesman during the final years of your term and forget being a political chameleon. Smother the Sacramento “pot-house politicians” (check a large dictionary for the definition) and leave all those in the Senate and Assembly behind. Leave the Judicial Branch alone as well. Until the few scrupulous lawyers raise the bar to expected levels of integrity, honesty and lawfulness, the judicial branch will continue as America’s most despicable arena of outlaws. Tell all of them to, “Become the professionals that once walked the halls of justice. Become a statesmen, like me.” This can be your legacy to Californians, a return to the elected statesman.

The SQUARE in all three State and Federal branches is gone. If you can just fix the Executive Branch, it will set an example and get business humming in California. It will bring jobs to rural California.

Gold miners have encountered many examples of inappropriate behavior from people in the agencies you control. I wish to share with you or your appointee some experiences that others and I encounter in dealing with Sacramento. Let the other public officials make the laws and administer the justices. Your Executive Branch holds the catbird position. As Governor you hold the strongest weapon. As Dirty Harry would say, “Make my day!” Please reinvent the lost art of statesmanship. We need you in the trenches with us.

If you have never travel underground in the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountain range, consider accepting my offer to take you inside Mother Earth and see her as never before. See where plate tectonics smash together and bless our continent with one of the richest gold deposits in the world. You can bring your kids. They will love the adventure.

Sincerely yours,
Michael Meister Miller, President

 By Michael Miller

02/14/2018  12:38PM

I’m writing a brief for the two citations heard last August. MSHA agents rely on history of citations issued to a mine operator to levy penalties. During this hearing the inspector admits to her careful review of past citations and used it to speculate on our negligence; however under questioning she admits that the actual situation she saw on September 21, 2016, didn’t resemble the historic situations she reviewed. She went ahead and testified that the past history elevated the negligent. Is this justified?

Our mining operation also has a history regarding MSHA performance. The federal government will not be proud to acknowledge the past of this most valuable agency. Over my life as a responsible person for the safety of our miners, MSHA has been a root cause in harming the miners. It must change, and I sense that it will as more responsibility flows from Washington DC to its agents. Below is a correspondence I found while preparing this brief.

MSHA Archive from 1997
A subtle but perhaps most serious side effect of the agency’s and its agents’ behaviors over the past thirty months can be found in the minds of our young miners. As we train and give ongoing guidance to the nuances of underground mining, they are witnessing unreasonable behavior from a powerful force or authority. It is MSHA. Quite naturally, they are confused regarding the interpretation of this behavior. MSHA continues to create problems where none exist. MSHA has become the ones that place underground bombs throughout the land only to then offer to cure the threat of harm by becoming the ones to remove the buried, potentially lethal hazard. Does this make any sense?

Federal supervisor Bill Wilson, MSHA district office in Vacaville, warned, threatened, and intimidated that I and Original Sixteen to One Mine will receive federal citations if profanities such as the ones their traveling investigators have been experiences in Alleghany did not cease. He said we would be cited because we would be intimidating the agents. Wow. This action by Wilson obviously demonstrates and displays his furious ability to regulate and expression to intimidate. He threatened the FBI as well. What were the profanities? Several miners’ wives gave them the finger as they drove through Alleghany in their federally licensed cars.

I only imagine if they enact these threats, MSHA will master its goals of eliminating or taking over the operating of the mine(s). For without an independent or peer group determination of justice, our powerful Congressional granted agency gets in step with governments and largest conglomerated corporate organizations. Mineral extraction is big business. California is anti mining.

Distant federal agents who foster a program of intimidation and extortion stepped up their program to control the operations of mining in the United States. Slow but steady progress towards this goal enveloped the large mining companies. Why did the giants go down first? The top commanders of the large companies found the federal government a strong ally in crushing small companies and individuals seeking minerals. The reward: eliminate competition. Are there other reasons as well?

Little differences appear between the “want-to-be police enforcer” mentally displayed by field agents and a “want-to-be Perry Mason” advocate called the U.S Solicitors. My quest of discovery moves from Alleghany (the mine) and Vacaville (the field and regional headquarters of MSHA) to San Francisco (the lawyers). In this investigation, the route from San Francisco to Washington DC is very direct.

Find a way to inform Americans. Find local reporters to write an article. Contact national television personalities to do a story or interview. Our cash flow woes are a result of not finding enough gold. Our miners and company have been occupied with unreasonable demands by MSHA. We were unable to break enough rock for the statistical averages of success at our extreme high-grade gold mine to unfold.

Once a round (the daily footage advanced by an underground crew) is lost, it is never recovered. MSHA forced us to miss many rounds. Its unreasonable application of law (An Act of 1977) shifted from field agents and regional administration to US Solicitors offices in San Francisco. The country must begin looking into the behavior of a group of career federal lawyers. It seems to me that these lawyers have forgotten whom they represent. Like other silly and truly dedicated government employees, they are public servants for the tax paying American people. They forget the purpose of their work. Like poor little lambs, they have lost their way. For MSHA, it forgot the purpose it was created.
 By Michael Miller

11/30/2017  4:36PM

The Mountain Messenger
California’s Oldest Weekly Newspaper
Downieville, Sierra County, California

November 17, 1917

Items of Local Interest about Sierra’s Mines
There is a queer mix-up in the decision of the jury which tried the Sixteen-to-One vs. the Twenty-One case in San Francisco recently, and a new trial will have to take place. A report of the verdict in a San Francisco paper says:

Although a jury in the United States district court gave a verdict in the Sierra county mining suit of the Original Sixteen-to-One Mine Company vs. the Twenty-One Mining Company last Thursday, no judgement has been entered by the clerk of the court. The verdict read: “We the jury, finding favor of the plaintiff and assess the damages against the defendants in the sum of $100,000 less cost of extraction of the ore on account of unwilling trespass.”

The defendant’s claims $78.000 as the cost of extraction. The verdict was returned at midnight and handled seal to the United States Marshal. The jury then went home. On presentation of the verdict of Judge Frank H. Rudkin the following morning, the judge said he would not order the judgement entered, as the verdict was too uncertain, and that he could not order the jury to correct it, as it had been discharged. The verdict then had to remain in midair. The trial occupied nearly four weeks, and involved mining property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. During the course of the trial, moving pictures of the mines in operation were thrown upon a screen in the court room.
 By Michael Miller

07/12/2017  11:14AM

In 2001, Mr. Gage McKinney released his book, “When Miners Sang” about the Grass Valley Carol Choir. The Forward written by Professor Philip Payton, Director, Institute of Cornish Studies at University of Exeter, Truro, Cornwall informs us of McKinney’s strengths as an historian, former president of the California Cornish Cousins and depth of his humanity, humility and great affection for this subject. Just reading the Forward took some air from my lungs in excitement. Here is the first paragraph of the book’s introduction.

“Christmas Eve in the early 1940’s. The Nazis were terrorizing Europe and the Luftwaffe pounding Britain night after night. In relative serenity a typical American family gathered quietly at home and within the sound of a radio. The set crackled and then came a voice, not from Washington or London or some falling outpost, but from a place far removed from the strife, from the depths of a gold mine in California, a stronghold of granite and dripping water. In words similar to these the announcer spoke:”

“To all America, from coast to coast, a merry Christmas from Grass Valley, California—where the Cornish Carol Choir is singing.” The singers raised their voices, beginning the carol “While Shepherds Watched
Their Flocks by Night” to the tune of an old hymn. It was a Christmas custom and tradition beginning 78 years ago by Cornish miners, who had come to golden California and gathered in Grass Valley.

In 1993, I took a phone call from team members of Huell Howser’s California Gold about bringing the Cornish Choir into the Sixteen to One mine. I knew that current miners sing underground (I still do) because it sounds so good and over several calls worked out a plan for his TV show. One stope in the mine stands out from all others. We called it “The Ballroom”. This is where the crew worked on its own time to prepare for the Cornish Choir to perform.

The miner volunteers could invite a guest, but we had to be very quiet during the filming. After the choir the miner band set up their instruments and the first live music played in the mine. Listening to the Cornish Choir and their comments to Huell was a thrilling experience for all. Following is the author’s account on pages 258-59 of that time when a bunch of us recreated the historic radio program deep in an underground California gold mine.

“In the early 1990s the story of the choir was told with dramatic flair on California Gold (episode #413), a popular television series. The program, produced by Huell Howser, presented the choir in historical settings, in the Methodist sanctuary and on the street of Grass valley, and in a gold mine. Sixteen singers and their director took to four-wheel drive vehicles for a wintertime trek to the tiny community of Alleghany in Sierra County. There they climbed into the skips that carried them underground into the Sixteen-to-One mine, one of the last in production. In their parkas and hardhats, the singers descended an inclined shaft lined in white quartz, and the left the skips to file deeper into the mine, and to eventually reach a chamber like the one in which the carolers had sung in 1940.

Before their performance began, the carolers were treated to a pasty dinner. The meal prompted Mel Jones to remark that his father ate a pasty every day in the mine. For Jones in was the first time he had been underground since working his way through college more than fifty years before. For Brian Bennallack and Harold T. George it was their first trip underground since the national broadcasts. Having eaten and regained their wind, the carolers gathered to sing “Sound! Sound!”

As he recorded them, sound technician Eric Rice of KVMR Radio discovered something technicians probably noticed in 1940: the jagged walls of rock eliminated echoes and distortion. “The room is so lively,” Rice remarked. “It doesn’t matter where I set the microphone.”

The small group of voices sang several carols, closing, of course, with “Diadem”. With only sixteen voices they could not reproduce the big sound that a full chorus of workingmen had produced during the war, but they could show the tradition was still treasured. And because the program repeats every Christmas on Public Broadcasting System stations, the Carol Choir has reached its widest audience ever”.
 By Michael Miller

04/13/2017  3:58PM


Draft received from a recent interview of Michael Miller that may appear in a yet to be identified publication. January 22, 2007. Part One

Q: More stories about gold are appearing as gold increased in value last year. Are we in another new American gold rush?

A: I wouldn’t call it a new rush but there is definitely an upturn in interest. The mother of all historical gold rushes took place in California between 1848 and 1852. In modern times the current interest is a continuation of “the rush” unleashed on December 31, 1974, when gold was economically freed from government suppression. Today the general public has yet to participate even though we see more references to gold than a few years ago.

Q: How do you follow the gold markets?

A: I keep up with gold and other natural resources thanks to magazines, newsletters and newspapers, web sites or articles on the Internet, friends or acquaintances in the various industries and other sources. I enjoy reviewing company reports and SEC filings. My interest goes beyond what should be required of a president in the natural resource industry. I’m curious. My macro- economic belief is that our natural resources contribute to the liberties and freedoms the entire world cherishes. There are potential global impacts, significance for Americans and important local consequences that touch many people.

Q: While it seems simple, the realm of gold has a complex history. What single advice pops into your head to offer someone outside the gold market wanting to get in?

A: The rules are the same whether its gold or technology: go into gold with an open mind and teach yourself through study. I started that way thirty-two years ago. My family background, formal education and life-long experiences make me a risk taker but a careful one. Emotion gets in the way sometimes. The counterpoint to risk is reward. The ability to evaluate these two components is crucial with today’s gold investment options. Whether it is an investment in time, energy or money, a formula may be constructed to analyze various choices and opportunities. There are unfamiliar terms in gold mining with unclear definitions to deal with. You want a quick single concept to embrace: ponder the downside risk and upside potential.

Q: Why have you devoted thirty years to the mines in Alleghany?

The relevance of mining, natural resources and gold to our present and future well-being makes me a Sixteen to One bull. I recognized the potential quickly back in 1974. Our experiences continue to confirm my early impressions. I don’t want to go into a lot of history now; however what has taken place in Alleghany and the Sierra Nevada Mountain range is awesome. It sometimes takes my breath away just to have an interest in keeping this culture alive. While economic growth (stock appreciation) is an important goal, so is acquiring physical gold as a personal possession. This opportunity really puts Original Sixteen to One Mine in a very special and small category of gold stocks. The little guy, like me and others, has a chance to participate in something exciting.

Q: In reading your history you seem to always have plans that require money but you rarely actually go outside to get it. Why?

A: We prefer to finance our growth and development by mining gold. The Company’s fortunes turn in a single shift, so as long as we are breaking rock, fortune may tap us on the shoulders. Other reasons are more pragmatic. In order to declare a gold dividend the division of ownership must be manageable. It is. The more shares outstanding, the more difficult to divide excess gold into a meaningful amount. I monitor our gold inventory, cash flow and daily underground mining progress to quantify the risk/reward scenario. In conversations with Ian Haley, the mine manager, and the crew I gain a sense of production and what is ahead of us. My actions are to push it, in other words “risk evaluation” is a constant part of the job. It changes almost daily. Last week on the 1000 foot-level, we found a gold showing in the down-dip side of the vein. We slabbed the rock. It revealed a very nice display of gold, more than first look. Now we have the choice of proceeding with the level rehabilitation or interrupting that heading and sink on the gold. Each has a risk and each has a reward. No one knows but right below us less than a week away could be enough gold to finance our Red Star project from this production.

Q: You mentioned unfamiliar mining terms earlier. Give us some common ones and some that may be unfamiliar or poorly defined.

A: I used the term “down-dip” in describing where we found gold on the 1000-foot level. First, the dip is the angle that a bed, stratum or in this case a vein is inclined from the horizontal. Down-dip tells the direction of the incline. Its opposite would be up-dip, although this term may not be used throughout the mining industry. Mining districts develop their own terms over time, so there can be confusion of meanings even between experienced miners. For the non-miner who is trying to get a grip on evaluating gold companies, the first concept they must deal with is reserves. The Alleghany Mining District is very fortunate because the gold deposit cannot be qualified or quantified using a reserve projection. The investor today is barraged with reports about proven reserves, probable reserves, possible reserves, inferred reserves and a resource. Whew! Believe me, these terms are not interchangeable but many exploration companies as well as others lump them together. I think it is done to fuel great expectations for those seeking a play in the gold industry.

Q: Why should individuals or other entities be interested in the Sixteen to One operation and give some examples?

A: An important fact in evaluating the likelihood and meaning of meeting the two goals (stock appreciation and gold distribution) is the number of outstanding shares. This is a very important statistic for comparing all corporations. On December 31, 2003, there were 12,867,250 shares issued and outstanding. The number remained the same on December 31, 2004 and December 31, 2005. Dilution was nil. The upcoming December 31, 2006, number increased by 118,204 to 12,890,204 shares issued and outstanding. This small increase was due to a stock conversion for debt, money owed a shareholder who helped purchase the Gold Crown mine in 2005, directors’ fees and a long overdue account payable. For a company that has been financially handicapped, it avoided dilution just to keep the operation going. We are not fueling our operation by selling stock. We are one of very few small gold companies that actually mines gold for its cash flow.

Q: Is a gold dividend a fluff concept or for real?

A: It is for real. One of our past directors, Lee Erdahl, was a director of Ranchers Exploration and Development Corp and became its president after the untimely death of Maxie L. Anderson. Mr. Anderson paid a gold and silver dividend. It may be the first declared in kind dividend by a public corporation. I find it an inspiring accomplishment. As of today, a gold dividend of a quarter ounce per 1000 shares would require 3,250 ounces of disposable gold. This is a realistic number for the Company to meet.

Another requirement necessary to declare a dividend is the company must be debt free. Ours was debt free for half of the 1990’s. It was debt free by mining and selling gold, not by selling stock. It also paid a $0.05 per share dividend in 1995, the first dividend in thirty-five years. For most of its corporate life the owners were generously compensated with an annual dividend and the company was debt free and met its annual cash demands. Tax laws were different but with an “in kind- pro rata distribution”, the onus of double taxation will not be a factor in distributing profit. A goal of a gold dividend is for real.

Q: If you never had a public offering how were the 12,890,204 issued?

A: When I took over as president in 1983, there were 180,000 shares outstanding. Many were issued to former owners of mines the company acquired.

The company did a three for one stock split when the stock was very low priced. It had no dilution effect on the shareholders of record. Everyone’s percentage of ownership remained the same. It made no difference for the dividend goal. Dividends must come from profit not from selling shares. Selling shares is not revenue. This was brought to light when reading the 2006 annual report of Klondike Star Mineral Corporation. I like its idea to find the underground source of the placer gold found in the Yukon. I can relate to the excitement and perhaps monster gold pockets still remaining after eons of erosion and geological changes. We have the respected Blue Lead dead river below the Bald Mountain and Red Star claims. We know the veins exist from prior mining and drilling below its bedrock. We know that nuggets were found still encased with some quartz. We know much about the geology of this property. I like what Klondike is doing and wish them great success. Management has a different view of its corporate structure and its ownership. It appears as a one-dimensional plan for making money, stock appreciation. With xxxx shares outstanding and 5700 shareholders, a future gold dividend seems unlikely.

As I look at Klondike’s Balance Sheet and Statements of Operation a long standing and most popular pattern is evident: no revenue, ongoing dilution, high general and administration fees and high public relations expenses. With no revenue and expenses of $8,778,272 about 56% went to General and administrative (3,392,679) and Public Relations (1,538,207). Mineral exploration was $3,379,652. Shares outstanding increase annually as the company uses dilution to fund its program. This time period 3,423,000 shares were added. Nothing is wrong with this business plan. It is the one that most exploration and under financed companies follow; however there is more to the analysis of the impact of number of shares outstanding.

Few people know the number of shares outstanding in the companies they own or contemplate buying. Look at Newmont (I am a shareholder). It has 312,984,000 shares outstanding. That is a large figure. Another gold producer, Barrick, with 554,270,000 shares outstanding, tops it. This type of analysis is important to evaluate a gold company. Check its “market capitalization (market cap). Multiply the shares outstanding by the share price to determine a market cap. This is the total value the market places on the corporation. Sixteen to One is slightly under $13 million. Klondike is slightly under $40 million. Newmont is more than $12 billion. A gold dividend is not in the future for any of these companies except the Sixteen to One.

I understand why Klondike goes to financial markets to raise working capital. But why did Newmont announce a $600 million loan in November? Its stated reasons seem odd in light of its great stream of revenue. Klondike has no other choice but to continue borrowing or diluting existing shareholders in order to stay in business.

These companies and more of the Barrick types and many more of the Klondike types are competing for working capital at a time when the world awakens to the need and value of natural resources. These are the opportunities available to an eager market, a market that has only begun to be excited by the prospects of $800 or $1000 ounce gold. I am bullish for Original Sixteen to One Mine because of its different risk to reward relationship. I am sure that there is one just as favorable in other gold opportunities. I just don’t know of any to invest in. What is missing to the casual researcher of our company must be the reviewers’ reluctance to project what it will become when its two-step financial plan is successfully implemented. It is public information for the most part. Some items (all positive) are withheld for security reasons and because of their confidential nature.
 By Michael Miller

12/30/2016  11:31PM

While scrawling through some internet headings, I found reference to our FORM 10-QSB. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549


For the Quarter Ended September 30, 2002 File No. 001-10156

On October 29,2002, The Sierra County Grand Jury issued an indictment against Michael Meister Miller, Jonathan Farrell and Original Sixteen to One Mine, Inc. The next court date is November 20, 2002 for arraignment. Management believes the accusations are groundless; however, because the instigating prosecutors are private non-governmental lawyers outside the standard criminal system, a vigorous and time demanding defense and offense are necessary to protect the shareholders' interests. Even unfounded criminal accusations are mentally debilitating and time consuming. Because Miller and Farrell hold key management positions, the company may suffer substantial and significant damages due to the distraction caused by the prosecutors.

What a time! What memories! Why did I bring it up today?

With a Company like ours, history is relevant and important for someone wishing to judge what is ahead. Junior gold companies tend to issue press release about how the permitting is going and drilling projections. We are different. The purpose of this web site is to make history available to you and the many people who know nothing about California gold mining, the Sixteen to One or how we have survived into our third century.

The presentation to Sierra County Grand Jury by corrupt lawyers almost fifteen years ago threatened our very existence. The charges were specious but had to be defended with vigor. We did just that. The unethically lead lawyer should have been disbarred. He wasn’t. He lost his job and moved on to some other job, which he also lost. He should have been disbarred! We survived this attack!

Our small but vastly important natural resource development industries face a similar crime by government employees from various agencies. The crime to the public and those working in these industries centers in how regulations are enforced in light of how the respective governments wrote the laws for regulation. I want regulations and I want them fairly enforced, enforced as Congress and State houses wrote them. In almost every regulatory law I have read (and there have been many) reasonable is mentioned along with beneficial use to the public and non-public. We survived these attacks!

I look forward to the time when the Americans holding high agency positions set the example for their employees to become the helper to Sixteen to One mine (and all improperly regulated entities) not a rogue cop. It may not be far away. Let’s be progressive, moving forward or step by step. I believe in progress and promote reforms or changes. Your ideas and participation are most welcomed. The United States benefits from the domestic gold brought into the financial market and the need is increasing each day.

For our hard working traditional, hard-rock, underground, gold miners and directors, our message for the 2017 year is “Truth, like gold lies at the bottom.”

We will do our part to preserve, protect, enhance and bring a rare American natural resource into the coffers of our country. I dare say, we will exploit our gold, which means we will out it to use. The 2017 year makes me, an overtly optimist, smile. Truth, like gold, lies at the bottom. Happy New Year.
 By Michael Miller

08/11/2015  9:23AM

Errol Christman passed away July 25, 2015. He was 74. He grew up in the mining town of Grass Valley, where one of America’s great underground gold mines dipped thousands of feet below the Pacific Ocean surface.

I met Errol in the late 1970’s. He had a month to month lease to prospect Sixteen to One in late 1970. He paid $250 per month. It worked out well for Errol. The old workings above the drain tunnel level had quartz pillars that were left to support the ground. By drilling these pillars he sacked high-grade gold, which financed a growing mining equipment business. His time underground at the Sixteen was short but profitable.

Some people faulted Errol for removing the pillars and causing irreparable destruction. I was not one of them. He took advantage of an opportunity given him by the mine management in San Francisco. Our Company had quit mining in December 1965. It gave existing miners permission to go into the mine to eke out a modest living.

Fortunately for the future, no one brought metal detectors into the old workings. We did in 1992. Success was instant. The single biggest day was in 1995. We drilled blasted and sacked 25 2,500 ounces in one shift. Gold spot was $400 an ounce, so it became the Million Dollar Day. This pocket was less than ten feet from where the ‘old-timers’ stopped mining. Errol did well. So have we. Ours is a rare and exceptional gold deposit. Knowing this to be true has kept its owners in place for over 100 years. Errol was a part of our history.
 By David I

06/09/2015  2:19PM

Dear Mike,

Recommend you resubmit your letters to congress, the present congress is interested in reducing or eliminating federal government over reach of its regulations and they most definetly need to know what the problems are.
 By Michael Miller

06/09/2015  8:59AM

Three government agencies are most onerous to the welfare of our miners, owners and community. Two are Californian and the other, a federal branch of the Department of Labor. It always has not been this way. I came across a letter I wrote to our Congressman in 1999. Sadly its theme rings true today. I thought it was worth a review sixteen years later because an epidemic of irrational enforcement of regulations seems to be wide spread across our country. A free democratic republic must be regulated. It is not the regulations that are upsetting, but the execution of the standards/codes designed to implement the laws that are a major issue.

What has happened to small scale underground gold mining is happening to big industries throughout the United States. If federal agency enforcement is the problem, it centers in Washington D.C. It can be fixed but not unless our elected representatives grab a hold on our federal public servants to alter these abuses. You know the problem just as I do. It is time to call out names so those elected to serve our well-being can act. I did this in this letter in1999. Did it make a difference? Not that I know.
If you follow our FORUM, you will find out if the Sixteen to One miners are respected in the 21st century by our chief safety regulator, MSHA. Let’s hope it will happen. Californians will benefit when its bountiful natural resources are treated with respect.

December 2, 1999
The Honorable Wally Herger
55 Independence Circle, Suite 104
Chico, California 95973
Fax: (530) 893-8619

Dear Congressman Herger:

MSHA (Mining Health and Safety Administration) is a federal regulatory agency that derives its power from a Senate and House approved document referred to as An Act (Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, Public Law 910173 as amended by Public Law 95-164). Its purpose was to improve the safety of the mining industry’s most precious resource - the miner. Interim mandatory health and safety standards were designed and a bureaucracy of inspection and enforcement employees were hired to carry forth the wishes of Congress.

Congress specifically pointed out that information generated during the practice of implementation of An Act shall be obtained in such a manner as not to impose an unreasonable burden upon operators, especially those operating small businesses. The agency currently has lost sight of Congress’s direction with regards to our company and the intent of Congress.

Our company is public, listed on the Pacific Exchange (OAU symbol). It is California's longest operating mine and the second oldest gold mining company in the United States. It is also very small. It is the remaining active traditional underground gold operation in California. MSHA has significantly and materially impacted our ability to function. It is directing our mining operation by issuing questionable citations, then demanding our miners work solely on correcting them. Its agents have become unreasonable in interpreting the codes and standards known as CFR Title 30- Mineral Resources.

In California MSHA is administered from a field and district office in Vacaville. Individual inspectors report to Willie Davis, a field officer who works under the district office (Jim Salois, manager, and Bill Wilson, assistant manager). The next level is the administrator for metal and non-metal industry, Mr. Ernie Teaster. I do not know his location. The head of MSHA is J. Davitt McAteer (assistant Secretary of Labor), who is responsible to the Secretary of Labor.

There are no doubts with the miners or management that MSHA is an agency out of control. MSHA allegations of unsafe conditions have become opinions of individuals who seem to have reasons for exerting pressure on our operation. For example: Code interpretation and guidelines require that allegations of violations be based upon the particular facts surrounding the violation plus a reasonable likelihood that the hazard will result in an injury or illness of a reasonable serious nature. Section 1 04(d)(1)/(e)(1). Both of these findings must be made before a violation can be designated as "significant and substantial". Guidelines also exist for determining the likelihood of injury and the seriousness of injury. Congress included the word REASONABLY as required criteria for inspectors to follow. Reasonableness has been lost under the current administration of An Act. By the way, each citation now comes with an ever growing monetary fine.

I am a career miner, owner and operator of twenty-five years in the special Alleghany Mining District. The current draconian impositions thrust upon our small operation are traceable for eighteen to twenty four months. They define oppression to business that is associated with an unbending totalitarian type of government, something that is repugnant to all Americans. The level of unreasonableness has increased significantly the past year. Opinions have become facts. Unfortunately for our miners, company, owners and community, mine inspectors have become policemen, policemen undertrained or unqualified to perform their congressional charge. MSHA has become counterproductive to the congressional mandate established in An Act and the safety of our crew. The Program Policy Manual guidelines are set so that an inspector must use in his evaluation: background, training, experience and an evaluation of actual circumstances surrounding the violation. He is to arrive at independent judgments. I contend that there is no longer an atmosphere of independent judgment coming from the district office in Vacaville. After in-depth conversations with inspectors and other MSHA personnel, miners, managers, operators and owners, I believe a handful of high ranking government employees are responsible for this atmosphere.

It is interesting to note that MSHA has acknowledged that within the industry it regulates, whether surface or underground, metal or non-metal, the MSHA field inspectors have the highest rate of injury in the industry. Having observed the last inspector on our property, REDACTED, it is easy to see why.

I request a thorough congressional investigation be conducted into the affairs of MSHA from the field and district offices in Vacaville to the rooms under the auspices of J. Davitt McAteer. MSHA has lost sight of the Sixteen to One mine’s most precious resource….our miners. I believe you will find similar situations at other mines in the west.

Michael M. Miller
 By David I

04/16/2015  7:27AM

Hi Mike,

Having read your previous letter and comments, I hope you are well. Youare agreat representative for the rights of the miner here in California. The conflicts in court should be done sooner for compliance to the Constitution.
 By Michael Miller

04/15/2015  1:49PM

I looked into the usefulness of restarting the lost organization of the Alleghany Mining District in 1978. I was very excited with the prospect of local control. Its value today is seriously compromised with this language taken from Clark’s text below. Second paragraph: “and not inconsistent with the laws of the United States”. Third paragraph: “This grant from Congress enabled miners in their respective mining districts to regulate their own pursuits subject to the laws of the United States.” The key words are, “subject to the laws of the United States.” Unless I am wrong (and I hope to be wrong) the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, which defines the regulatory position for mines, preempts anything authorized in a Mining District.

The strongest law, called “An Act” is not followed today by the regulators, called Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA). Section 4 identifies those mines Congress intended to regulate. MSHA now interprets Section 4 as all mines. This is an unlawful act by federal employees. An Act also qualifies inspectors’ background, experience and training authorized to write citations. Its inspectors do not have these qualifications. They are law breakers. If the Alleghany Mining District, a well-established district that has continued to operate since its inception, could enforce the law under An Act, I would be jumping to activate the process. Below is a recent communication I had with the Federal Review commission. No answer yet.

March 31, 2015

Dear Federal Judge,
There are four Dockets listed in the March 31, 2015, Order of Consolidation Amended Prehearing Order. Two dockets are for Mine ID #04-03065 not Mine ID # 04-01299. These mines are not compatible for a mutual hearing. My employer is concerned about the loss of productive time because of the multiple dockets combined at the last hearing. My memory recalls that all parties realized the difficulties in conducting that hearing.

While I have your ear, my employer has serious concerns about the roles of MSHA inspectors and MSHA management with solicitors: conducting negotiations and hearing attendances. Is this the first time you have heard of this? Too many federal employees involved in carrying out the intent of An Act have lost their way at the expense of those they are required to protect...the miners. Perhaps it is just in the Western District. I don't know what coal or other miners are experiencing. Most of the gold miners and operators in Northern California have experienced awful treatment from those empowered to protect them. This must change in order to implement Section 2 of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.

My mining experiences predate the legislation that was passed by Congress in 1977. My time in this important industry is also drawing to an end. Those people whom I have never met over the years can readjust the system now operating with serious imperfections. Are you aware of the root causes of malcontent amongst small underground gold miners? If so, what has been reported to you?

My employer, Original Sixteen to One Mine, Inc. is the oldest and longest gold mining operator in America. It offers its assistance in improving the interaction of MSHA and operators. According to the law, "the operators of such mines with the assistance of the miners have the primary responsibility to prevent the existence of such conditions and practices (unsafe and unhealthy) in such mines." I agree with the law and pledge to work with people to get our regulators and operators working to carry out Congress's mandate. America needs its natural resource industries to remain free.

Michael Meister Miller
 By Big Al

03/29/2015  10:53PM

The Power of Mining Districts
by Clark Pearson
Director, Northern Office
Public Lands for the People

The 1872 Mining Act was Congressional acceptance that miners can make needful federal rules and regulations governing their activities on federally managed lands. Specifically codified under 30 U.S.C. sections 22 and 28. Section 22 states:

“Except as otherwise provided, all valuable mineral deposits in lands belonging to the United States, both surveyed and unsurveyed, shall be free and open to exploration and purchase, and the lands in which they are found to occupation and purchase, by citizens of the United States and those who have declared their intention to become such, under regulations prescribed by law, and according to the local customs or rules of miners in the several mining districts, so far as the same are applicable and not inconsistent with the laws of the United States.” (Emphasis added.)

Essentially, this is by the miners, for the miners. This grant from Congress enabled miners in their respective mining districts to regulate their own pursuits subject to the laws of the United States. Most of the previous rules and regulations by miners in their respective mining districts were reabsorbed into state law. With the miners choosing to organize the traditional mining districts, they shall have federal supremacy over conflicting state and federal law upon federal lands.

The Mining Districts shall override conflicting state and federal laws that stand as obstacles to the full Congressional objective of the 1970 National Minerals, Mining, Reclamation and Policy Act (30 U.S.C. section 21a) and the 1955 Multiple Surface Use Act (30 U.S.C. 612 sections a - b).
The Mining Districts shall intervene upon the miner’s written request to resolve conflicts that unreasonably interfere with the miner’s right to extract, as defined in U.S. v. Shoemaker. Said in another way, the miners will police themselves, and the Mining Districts will have the first right to mitigate any claim disputes before going to the Interior Board of Land Appeals or any other federal or state court.
The Mining Districts shall be the arbiter of reasonable environmental and safety regulation(s). (See footnote 1.)
And most importantly, the Mining Districts can open the federal land to multiple-use by the public on principles of inclusion rather than the present day exclusions carried out by the extremist environmental lobby groups that work inside and outside all the other various agencies. (See footnote 2.)

“A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits.”
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1801, on what constitutes good government.

Miners, in their respective Mining Districts, have the ability to duly elect representatives to make rules and regulations governing their mining activities (customs of miners) in contrast to executive agencies that currently answer to the whims of the President and the bureaucracy. These duly elected representatives will have a proposed term of 4 years such that they will be accountable to their constituents -- the individual miner -- just as it worked in the 1800’s. And quite successfully I might add.

Once the organized Mining Districts take shape, the Minerals and Mining Advisory Council (MMAC) can and will submit to Congress for a budget for the administrative functions and clarifications of the Mining District’s relationship with the other federal and state agencies. The MMAC website will have a resource section which explains what your fundamental rights are as miners. The claim owners in those districts elect all the miners that represent the districts and upper tiers - nobody is appointed.

Presently, MMAC has developed some preliminary guidelines and clarifications (changes to HR 761 rev. 8, and ESA reform) and handed them to the Congressional House Subcommittee on Resources and Minerals. This preliminary notice from MMAC to Congress is open for more discussion but covers and fixes many of the problems the mining industry faces that have hit most miners especially hard. There are severe ambiguities in law that need clarification that stand as obstacles to the accomplishment of the National Minerals, Mining and Reclamation Policy Act of 1970 (codified under 30 U.S.C. 21a).

The MMAC will need the active participation of every miner, every mining organization, every claim holder and any other group that shares the multiple-use principles of our public lands. The tasks before us are for Americans that strive for accountability, self-determination, and for laws that are for and by the people. It could be said that miners can shine the light on the proper role of government in the darkest of tunnels.

Mining District Advisory Council website:

Ben Franklin once was asked to comment about our newly formed government of the United States of America, and he said, “It’s a republic, madam – if you can keep it.”

Now I ask the miners of today, we have Mining Districts -- can we keep and run them?

1. Before any agency such as EPA, DFG, DEQ, USFS, MSHA can carry out any existing or proposed regulations on the mining community, they must first get approval from the Mining Districts to implement them. (Clarified in modified HR761)
2. Items for example: roads currently closed now will be evaluated by the Mining Districts for determination on leaving them open to the public as intended.
 By Michael Miller

01/08/2015  1:08PM

I'm researching historical gold production for another topic on the FORUM and the following file came up. For the 2015 mine plan, we will examine these early Tightner workings. Why? This productive area has never witnessed a modern gold detector. You know what happened to our production after 1992, when off-the-shelf hobby detectors entered the Sixteen to One. Our expectations are high.


One of several hidden asserts of this mighty little gold company are its map collection. We don’t write about it much but the information contained therein is priceless. Here is what it means to me. The maps cover over one hundred years of development. One grouping is titled “Progress Maps”. They are usually depicting annual work and the months are colored individually. My mind turns to the appropriate dates of these progress maps. I transform into that miner, geologist, engineer or mining executive while studying the monthly (yearly also) progression of development and gold production. Why did they go here? Why did the go there? Why is this block of ground untouched?

The answers are speculative but, come on; all mining is speculative as are most investments. The ‘whys’ of the Sixteen to One are great topics for discussion. These maps affirm a fact: this deposit involves risk with hope of large profits. Also we have years of data beyond the times the maps were drafted.

Work to reorganize the map collection is underway. Years ago an old building was renovated to house the maps and have space to spread them out. Other needs preempted the reorganization…no longer so. The thirst for knowledge of the past now preempts other needs. I am thrilled to return to study of the work of yesterday’s miners. With each map comes the opportunity to learn.

I had an epiphany this morning after unrolling a 1915 map of the Tightner Mine Company. The map details the early workings which are near bedrock elevations above the 250 level. The gold values are recorded in dollars when gold sold for $20 an ounce. One stope is breath taking…$700,000. Not far away is a $350,000 stope and there are many values at five figures. Multiply these numbers by 60 to understand this historic gold production today. Breathe taking!

Back to the epiphany. Are there no risk takers today for investing in this gold deposit? Apparently the answer is yes. Why? No one has taken the time and effort to understand this gold deposit, how it became successful and whether our plans will reap large profits. It is as simple as this…we are on our own.

Mining legends like Fuller, Searles, Foote, Kallenberger, HR Cook, Alling, Ferguson, Bennett and Taylor left their imprint in Alleghany. I have my answer to understand the risk/reward of mining for gold here, which is strengthened with these maps and thoughts of these great men. Thank you.

Prepared from Company files
May 18, 2010
 By Michael Miller

11/29/2014  5:26PM

Newsletter#35 sent to shareholders December 4, 1996, was in my thoughts today. There is no doubt nor was there eighteen years ago that improvements in both software and hardware to recognize unseen metal in the Sixteen to One quartz will lead to gold production. It is the single most dramatic exploration tool for a gold deposit like ours. As previously announced, work with a private company that shares our beliefs is guiding our exploration at the mine. As said before, the relevant question is “when will the technology package be found?” Not if it can be discovered.

Off the shelf detectors have improved and some of the electrical tweaking we have tried has helped. Sadly, the last meaningful gold was mined in 2004. The Sixteen to One is far from dead but our operation has been crippled for a decade from the modest production. These underground gold mines have knowledge not found in books. Scholars, analysts and others struggle to learn.

Technological Summit #35
On October, 3 1996, we hosted a technological summit for selected experts who believe we can locate and mine gold more efficiently using their emerging technologies. Participants included Dr. Sandor Holly, a MIT and Harvard trained physicist and early developer of IBM laser research, now working on electromagnetic imaging; Jeffrey Oicles, director of Power Spectra, a Silicon Valley company now turning its attention to ground penetrating radar; Dr. Larry Stolarczyk, of Raton Technology Research, Raton ,New Mexico, who pioneered the development of subsurface radio waves for high resolution mapping of ore bodies in coal mining and is currently working on electromagnetic imaging techniques for detecting gold in quartz; and Curtis M. Romander, research engineer at Poutler Laboratory, of a division of SRI International, Menlo Park, California, who contributed the latest information on SRI's patented low density explosives, of interest to us because they appear to produce specimens more suitable to jewelry and specimen sales than our current methods. Enthusiasm was high as Dr. Holly spoke of ``the beginning of revolutionizing underground gold mining" and Mr. Oicles of a ``significant promise for a quantum leap in gold detection and mine mapping." As announced in the Annual Report, we have been designated a beta testing site by the participants in the summit. The companies get the use of our mine, a proven gold producer, as a field laboratory, and we benefit from the free use of the most innovative gold location technology in existence. We retain, of course, full rights to any gold found using these emerging technologies. To date, only Mr. Stolarczyk has performed experiments in the mine, and these did not increase the scope of the equipment we currently use. All participants have experiments planned over the coming year.
 By Michael Miller

04/24/2013  5:50PM

No, Fred, I never heard from Mr. Dye.
We are little squirts compared to most mines under MSHA regulations. Nevertheless, what an inspector does or does not do has serious consequences for us small miners. I believe that the small miner will be treated more fairly in the future. Why? Because some of us are holding them accountable.

A major difference in the coal mine experience you mentioned below and ours deals with code violations. The Sixteen to One is up to code unlike the coal mine. An overzealous MSHA inspector is at liberty to interpret regulations according to his background, training and experiences. Some read the regulations strangely, or fail to recognize what they see. Some MSHA inspectors truly lack the experience and knowledge to evaluate our mine when it comes to judgment. I know from conversations with operators in Alaska, Idaho Arizona and Nevada that we are not the only ones.

Our miners have years of background, training and experience in this gold deposit. All of us would feel conflicted if we were to judge whether a regulation is violated in a coal mine or perhaps even in a surface mine; however I believe a hard rock underground miner would do better in a surface mine inspection than a surface miner in a California hard rock gold mine.

In the 1950’s and 60’s and 70’s, mining hazards were many, many that could be eliminated with a caring management. Our country needed safety enforcement. The first was MESA, followed by MSHA (Mine Safety & Health Administration). I know that the inspectors who came to my operation in 1976 to 1982 were helpful and appreciated by the crew. No sane person would reject a fresh pair of eyes to point out an unsafe condition.

Recognizing that mining is a dangerous occupation, when that fresh pair of MSHA eyes finds a condition that appears unsafe, his conscious and unconscious judgment must take over. If he or she lacks the trilogy of background, experience and training, the superiors who have placed that inspector in this situation must be notified and deal with the problem. My purpose in writing letters up the chain of command informs those accountable and responsible for what happens in the trenches of mining warfare. I have been disappointed in achieving this purpose.
 By fredmcain

04/03/2013  9:50AM


That was a good letter! Did you ever get any kind of a response from Mr. Dye?

I can relate a personal story of my own that is almost unbelievably stupid. I heat my house in the winter in northern Indiana with “hard” anthracite coal. I know a couple of people around where I live who run local coal yards. One of these guys was lamenting to me how he could no longer get what had been some of the highest grade anthracite in the world. What happened was that the mine in eastern Pennsylvania got "inspected" by the government. Numerous "violations" were found and the mine was ordered to immediately get everything up to "code".

Well, getting everything up to code would've cost this mine millions of dollars – millions that they did not have. So, what did they do? They closed the mine, of course.

I believe that miners should be able to expect to work in a safe environment. No one questions that. But are these miners actually "safer" now that they no longer have jobs? Is the family who owned the mine better off? And then there are consumers like me who have to pay higher prices for crummier coal on account of this. Yeah, this was a really great decision, huh?

I guess if the government really wants to make sure that no one will ever be killed in a mine accident again, then they should just ban all mining. Come to think of it, while they are at it they should ban automobiles, trucks, trains and airplanes too so that there will be no more accidents.

For better or worse, we all live in an unsafe world and people do need to be protected and their safety ensured but these rules and regulations are clearly over the top and out of hand.

Fred M. Cain
Topeka, Indiana
 By Michael Miller

02/19/2013  3:12PM

I was recently criticized for not doing enough reaching out to the public at large about the evilness of social wrongs that occur during my life as a hard rock gold miner in California. You (reader of this forum) are the public. Some of you keep up with the Forum entries. Some have even been around since its beginning. I forget content, so must you? If you are new to the Sixteen to One, please take a Forum topic and read it from the beginning forward. Much of the entries disclose stuff worth spreading to a broader audience, like the letter below that I just found in a discarded file. Minerals are vital and will be vital in even a primitive society let alone the social network of the 21st century. Wars are fought for natural resources even though oil is the one most talked about. Take a quick look around. All that you see has its basis in minerals. Even the wood or food would disappear if it were not for the mineral extraction industry. The raw materials of manufacturing are mined from somewhere. Prosperity will return to the countries and societies that recognize the value of sane natural production within their borders. The private and public institutions and small businesses will lead the financial recovery. Our governments must assist not impede prosperity.

The letter below is just as relevant today as it was almost eight years ago. Not much has changed, in fact I could site MSHA behaviors that are more damaging today than in 2005. This letter could be placed in the INTERSTATE COMMERCE AND SMALL MINES topic. What good is bitching without offering solutions? I do not have the resources to reach the public much beyond this web site. Please help.

David Dye, Assistant Secretary June 29, 2005
U.S. Department of Labor
1301 Airport Road
Beaver, West Virginia 25813-9426

Dear Mr. Dye,

Congratulations on your new appointment to head the federal workers safety program for America’s most precious resource, its miners. I am president of America’s oldest gold mining company and perhaps the only working hard rock, traditional, underground gold mine in continental United Stated. It is not something to brag about; it is something to mourn and investigate why there are so few. I also operate as an independent contractor for several projects and have been in the gold mining business since 1974. Your agency is partly responsible for the decline in the domestic natural resource industry. I am not sure that you are aware of the decline in the partnership between MSHA and operators to keep the miners safe. I write today to give you a recent example of how your agency is hurting the small operator.

On June 22, and 23, 2005, MSHA conducted a regular quarterly inspection. Accompanying the inspector was a young trainee. She had no experience working in an underground mine. She said that she had never been underground before. During the inspection she began lagging behind. It required a second employee of mine to stop and accompany her. She was unprepared for the inspection both physically and with her provisions. She put herself in danger, our crew in danger, compromised the agency’s credibility and endangered the operator and owner of the mine.
I request the following:
1. By what authority grants MSHA the right to bring trainees onto our property?
2. Is this practice occurring elsewhere?
3. Who at the Western field office approved her visit?
4. Please notify the Western office to cease bringing trainees on inspections or at least unqualified and unprepared ones. Please let me know their response.

I support the reasonable enforcement of the Act of 1977 as Congress intends it. The practical benefits for those of us in the trenches were lost almost a decade ago. Reasonableness no longer is a concept practiced in the field and offices. MSHA no longer is meeting the best interest of the American public. Maybe you will be able to enforce better training for those attending the National Mine Health and Safety Academy as a first step to improve operations of the mining industry in the United States. I hope so.

Where will there be mining jobs in the future? Not likely in this country if the misdirected regulatory agencies continue their trends. Why are federal tax dollars passing through MSHA to China to help them development mine safety teams? The International Mine Contests are held every two years and about fifty teams compete. Last year in Las Vegas, China participated for the first time and placed third. China will likely win the next contest, which is fine with me; however, public money is going to them while MSHA has introduced a policy of increasing revenue with citations and penalties against the operators in the United States. Poland gets as much money or maybe even more than China granted through MSHA. Why?

MSHA employees take frequent trips to China and elsewhere. I was told that someone goes to China at least every other month from MSHA headquarters. How is this expense justified as helping America’s most precious resource, its miners? China has invested heavily in Australian natural resources. None of this bodes well for America’s economic freedom. China has something like a trillion dollars foreign trade asset.

Last year there were forty deaths related to mining. Last year in China the government admitted to 10,000 mine related deaths. Last year 658 people died every day in automobile related accidents on our roadways. My point is the mining industry in America is a responsible industry. It should be treated that way by MSHA, which has not occurred in various operations in the west. Right now there is an insidious and specious effort to further impede the American operator by insisting that the category of “lead miner” reflects a management position within an operation. This is not true. Most within the mining industry both public and private know this is not true. Yet our small company has been forced to challenge this reckless assertion by MSHA agents and lawyers working for the Secretary to establish this position. The case is in the hands of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Your agency is driving this outrageous myth. How about getting involved and putting an end to this costly abuse of process?

Does America derive benefits from the money it spends to send agents onto private property under the authority of the ACT of 1977? The answer is “no”. Should America continue to fund an out-of-touch agency like MSHA? The answer is “yes” but changes are necessary. Good luck. I am at your service to improve the situation.

Sincerely yours,
Michael M. Miller, president Original
Sixteen to One Mine / owner Morning Glory Gold Mines
 By Michael Miller

01/30/2013  5:08PM

Sense in that Golden Nonsense
Published February 19, 1965

A Charles de Gaulle press conference is known around the State Department as his “semiannual anti-American lecture.” Last fortnight he used one to launch an assault on the dollar. The dollar, say De Gaulle, should be replaced as the international currency by something “which has a real value, which must be earned to be possessed.” And what is that? Gold.

“Yes, gold which does not change in nature… which has no nationality… the immutable and fiduciary value par excellence.” Behind De Gaulle’s words you could almost hear the stuff jingling in a million French mattresses, its hideout through the centuries. He wants gold restored to its throne because the Common Market countries now own almost as much gold as the U.S. and could own a lot more if they wanted to turn in their dollars for it.

Most money experts dismissed De Gaulle’s “vast reform” as dreamy nonsense. U.S. Treasury officials called it “a retreat to 1931”. Yet as always with De Gaulle’s pronouncements, this one has a shrewd aim and much prophetic content. The subject of gold is not nonsense when the dollars is in trouble.

Under the prevailing “gold exchange standard” of international payments, the dollar has been generally accepted as a substitute for gold because the U.S. stands ready to buy or sell gold at $35 dollars an ounce. For seven years we have been mostly selling and out stock of gold, once $24.5 billion is now scarcely $15 billion. Monetary experts have shown mounting uneasiness about this system. They question its ability to support an expanding world trade or to surmount another crisis like the run on the pound last autumn.

The currencies that finance most of the world’s trade are the pound and the dollars. Unfortunately, Britain and the U.S. are themselves in chronic deficit in their own balance of payments, and the pound and the dollar are losing the confidence of the other industrial countries for this reason. De Gaulle even charges that the U.S., as the only manufacturer of dollars, can and does create capital “by what must be called inflations” and thus “indebts itself abroad at no cost.” He is in effect summoning all the hard-money men of Europe to declare their independence of the dollar.

Although most German, Dutch, Belgian and even French money experts do no share De Gaulle’s anti-Americanism, they do not like the behavior of the dollar either. “Seven successive years of deficit,” warns Raymond Aron, “end up by shaking confidence in any money, even the dollar.” Washington has known for months that it must take sterner measures to end these deficits.

President Johnson made a couple of choices regarding de Gaulle’s expressions. The one with the most public impact was to reduce the duty exemption on tourist purchases abroad. Whoopee! The one with the most business impact was to tax U.S. bank loan abroad. Whoopee again! He also urged banks and corporations to limit their “not essential” exports of capital. But while Johnson’s words were determined (“the dollar is, and will remain, as good as gold”), the measures proposed more hortatory than muscular. Conspicuous by its absence was any use of the most powerful corrective of all, the Federal Reserve’s influence on the total flow of dollars by way of bank reserve requirements and interest rates.
Johnson’s reluctance to use monetary policy stemmed from fear of dampening a domestic boom. The increase in money and credit that fed this boom fed Nixon’s choices in the 1970’s. The longer avoidance of “classical medicine” of tighter credit, the more complex and irritating become Johnson’s substitute half measures to end the dollar outflow – and the less persuasive to the European central bankers, whose good opinion one of the dollar’s major supports.
A financial editorial during the de Gaulle rant opined: “On the collaboration of these foreign bankers we must depend, not only to keep the present international monetary systems stable, but to work out the needed improvements in it which De Gaulle’s cries of “gold!” have overdramatized. De Gaulle himself has not the power to undermine the dollar or to sever its links with Europe. But the U.S. can, by paltering with its own balance of payments deficits, gravely weaken the dollar’s voice in its own future.”

Now almost 48 years later can anyone opine what others will be reading 48 years from now about the dollar, gold and international monetary policy?

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