October 21, 2018 

Ideal Time for Facts


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 By Hans Kummerow

04/08/2016  6:16AM

The name "French Gulch" seems to be a part of several different underground operations in the Redding area.

On Shasta Gold Corp's website a company by the name of "French Gulch (Nevada) Mining" is mentioned as a whollly owned subsidiary of Shasta. But they are working the "Washington Mine" near Redding, not the "French Gulch Mine".

This habit of using small companies as subsidiaries for single mine operations is confusing to foreign observers.
 By cw3343

04/07/2016  8:55PM

Bullion River Gold Corp., parent company of French Gulch Mine, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Reno company, which started mining in western Shasta County in 2006, said in court papers the bankruptcy was necessary because creditors were threatening to shut down its operations.

Bullion River Gold also claims it intends to reorganize. The company, which declared bankruptcy Feb. 27, lists $30.1 million in assets and $10.56 million in liabilities.

French Gulch is one of six subsidiaries owned by Bullion River Gold, a company started by a group of investors in 2003 under the name Dynasty International Corp. It changed its name to Bullion River Gold in January 2004.

Story here, but may be behind paywall (hit stop on your browser before the page fully loads and you may be able to read it):

 By Hans Kummerow

04/05/2016  10:38PM

French Gulch used to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Shasta Gold Corp.
And Shasta got several million Euros from Germany a few years ago. Among other purposes, to clean up a waste-water mess at French Gulch if I am not mistaken.
They had been operating a mill there and were using chemicals to extract the dore. The waste water was released in an inappropriate way and the person who was responsible for the operation of the mine got a six month jail term last year.
It all surfaced after a pipe broke and waste water found its way into a stream and a lake.

After a waste water treatment plant had been built operations were resumed. Until very recently, it seems. Could you check on that Mike? I do not want to do anybody wrong in case I should be mistaken.

When I talk to experienced German Investors about Gold Mining in California today everybody tells me that California has outlawed all leaching operations and that there is just no way to earn money in that industry in California any more.

Of course they do not know about "boutique gold mining" yet.
 By Michael Miller

04/05/2016  6:02PM

The story at French Gulch (west of Redding) says the investors stopped support. The crew came to work and was laid off that morning. I made a call to verify if the investors were from Germany. My recollection is the German investors were at the Ruby mine, which also closed down last year. When I confirm the mine that the Germans were financing, I’ll let you know.

Failures in mining outpace successes. It’s true going back decades, centuries. For success three ingredients are vital: a strong gold deposit, wise and dedicated people and working capital. Other factors include commodity price, location of operation and goals of management.

Over my forty years involvement in a small part of the industry (underground gold mining in California) the many failures of actually mining gold have similarities. During the wild days of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s some investors did well pushing stock. Many were left holding worthless shares. The game was easy to spot and took place in other fields than gold mining. Paper promotions date back hundreds of years and will always be around.

The Sixteen to One is different from most others. The company has a history to match its fine gold properties in California. Money issues have surfaced over our 150 year history of mining in Alleghany. When I took an interest in the mine in 1974, I found great prospects but a tired management. The owners must get good “at-a-boys” because the directors kept the property and corporation intact during difficult times for mining.

Three men who were not directors played a significant role during the 1960’s. Gold mining suffered almost to extinction due to the control of price slapped on America in 1934. Could any industry continue under the same restrictions? No. Up steps Fred Searls (founder of Newmont), Bernard Baruch (worldly financier) and Lucius Clay (retired General). Fred worked at the Sixteen as a young man and remembered the northern Red Star history. He told the others and they ponied up some capital to work the northern deposit. Gold was found but not enough to pay the operation (gold was set at $35 an ounce in 1934 and held that price up to 1975). We have the records and maps of this failed endeavor.

It is an interesting story. Why do I relate this to you in Germany this morning? Last night I continued reading Dwight Eisenhower’s account of the war in his book written in 1948. General Eisenhower handled the Berlin situation during the closing years and after the war in Europe ended. He complements one of his top advisors, General Lucius Clay. It is a small world when it comes to significant events and bringing peace to Germany had complications. General Eisenhower describes the complex issues of making peace in Berlin, which interest me.

Did I tell you that I was in Berlin in the fall of1962? I saw the wall under construction. I also passed through Check Point Charlie three times into East Berlin, an experience I will never forget. As chance had it, I returned to Berlin with my family in 1989, when the wall was penetrated and East Berliners were passing through. I will never forget this either. So now, I work in Alleghany, planning an operation to continue what Baruch, Searls and Clay undertook fifty years ago. What a long slow trip it’s been.
 By Hans Kummerow

04/05/2016  12:32PM

the underground operation just west of Redding that closed down was that the operation, that was reorganized with money from Germany a few years ago?
 By Michael Miller

03/30/2016  3:05AM

Our miners know that underground mining is a dangerous occupation. Our legislative direction (the mine act of 1977) towards safety is the responsibility of operators and miners. It rules every moment of our work... underground and on the surface.

Hazards lurk everywhere. This is a universal truth in most occupations. For us the first step in safety is recognizing hazards. The next step is to evaluate the hazard. The third step is to eliminate or mitigate the danger. The hazard still exists, yet it poses no danger to the miners.

MSHA is our legislated safety agency. It plays an important role for miners and our country. The best way for MSHA to assist an operator/miners with safety is for both sides to act responsibly.

MSHA recently began helping our industry with email alerts. One arrived today and follows:

Dear Metal and Nonmetal Mine Operators,

April is the second deadliest month in the Metal and Non-Metal mining industry. Only October has recorded more mining deaths than April, and not by many. Since 2000, a total of 50 metal and nonmetal miners have lost their lives in April, and many more have suffered serious and disabling injuries.

As warmer weather returns, so do many of the metal and nonmetal mines that were idled during the winter months. Equipment and plants that have not run for several months are pulled out of storage and set up again, ready to get back to work.

This time also sees an increase in new miners, but they are not the only ones at risk. Even experienced men and women need retraining. Mine management and miners alike must recognize the hazards and commit to a vigilant and safe mine health and safety program. Training new employees and refreshing experienced personnel, examining workplaces and correcting safety defects, analyzing tasks and planning jobs before beginning work, and being your brother’s or sister’s keeper are the hallmarks of a safe and successful operation.

In mining and milling, there is no room for warming or ramping up on safety or easing into risk control the first few days or weeks. Safety must be full-on and in the forefront of everyone’s mind from day one. END

The mining industry is shrinking in California and America. It receives bad press and little good press. All of us benefit from well run mining operations. With the closing of the underground gold mine just west of Redding, the Sixteen to One is the last commercial underground operation in California. This is sad.

01/21/2016  3:51PM

Eight silver producing companies listed on New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ reported combined silver production for 2015. The total silver production is 85.5 million ounces.
 By Michael Miller

12/22/2015  1:52PM

Ah, voices from the past. How refreshing!!

Public Paw 91-173 called “FEDERAL MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT OF 1977”. Most historic publications call it “An Act”. It should come up on any search. Before MSHA came into existence, a different agency handled regulation. Congress’ intent is clear in An Act. It is also clear that the intent of An Act today does not follow its original and amended purposes.

So no one miss characterizes my position, I want regulations. They are needed; however this is not what is coming to Alleghany. I speak with people in the mining industry often and throughout the country. Poor regulation is a national epidemic and it hurts every person in the United States. I know this to be true from North Carolina to Idaho to Arizona and of course in California.

“Truth, like gold, lies at the bottom.”
 By Rick

12/19/2015  11:08AM

Wow, has it been that long ???? I originally started the topic when we were neck deep fighting the falsehoods and propaganda spewing from the illegal behavior of the CDAA. It is epic that this mining operation survived, and is on the brink of proving once again that the truth works every time its tried...eventually. Keep it up Mike!
 By Big Al

12/11/2015  10:40PM

Hi Mike, I have looked for the ACT you mentioned, there are several in 1977, is it the mine saftey act? or one of the others?

I am in the Summary Judgement phase of Gene's and my suit. For the value we could use your help if you can, for instance, how much 2300 feet of drift is worth. Thanks, Big Al
 By Michael Miller

12/09/2015  2:25PM

This topic began ten years ago. I have enjoyed writing on the Sixteen to One web site as much as I have enjoyed reading what you write. Neither of us have been doing much writing lately. As the 2015 year closes down and 2016 looms ahead, the Ideal Time for Facts should be a fun and informative hobby. Check it out. Comments started in September 2005.

Gold mining and even our nation’s unquestionable need for coal and other non-precious minerals are under attack from the public, the media and even some Federal and State agencies. A counter attack is vital to secure social and economic freedoms that you and I value. I have continued my effort for legal justice under a federal law passed in 1977 called “An Act of 1977”. This lost right is contained in Section 4. It has been emasculated by the people, agency and system created to protect the miners of America.

Most Americans today never think about the value of our domestic mining industries. They only hear about bad stuff, which mostly is an allegation of a toxic harm to the earth or humans. Other topics on this FORUM are also appropriate for specific comments. Let’s give it a try and see where this path leads. Can we affect changes? Does anyone even care?

Other topics on the FORUM are there for education enlightenment of venting. My absence from regularly typing these keys, then pressing “Submit” are actually very positive. I,ve been very busy leading the operations and abnormally frustrated with regulatory nonsense. BUT, our operation in Alleghany has turned around from a decade of sorrow. One can easily call it a decade of under performing. We found some good exploration targets in June and guess what? We are mining some gold. One of these targets is very exciting. It is above the main adit, which is a blessing. Travel time to the working face is doable and utilities and their extension are not problems. The potential for developing a major pocket is real. I say real because of the location, geology and past production nearby and some history that apparently was overlooked by all of us associated with operating the mining program. Remember, in a high-grade gold mine like ours, proven reserves is impossible to determine.

Regulators continue to harass us as well as other mining operations. I know this from personal experiences with the Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA0 and the State of California at the Sixteen to One. I also know this rolex replica from my background in mining. Too many people both in the industry and regulating the industry tell me horror stories about the quality of regulators. The issue is not always the individual but the lack of real experiences to judge what they are inspecting. . Many tell me that the root cause lives in Washington DC. Do we have a chance to correct the sorry decline in public services? I think the answer is, “YES”. Is the effort worth the time? It is for me not just because I run a gold mining operation. I live in California, have family, friends and community in California and I am an American.

So, my new year’s resolution is coming ahead of the calendar date. I resolve to work on this problem, share information with you and ask for your efforts as well. Who was it that said, I love it when a plan comes together”?
 By cw3343

08/28/2015  5:12PM

Would I be correct in assuming that a large % of the MSHA employees and/or inspectors have most likely never worked in a mine 1 day of their lives?

They should hire retired miners to perform their inspections and verdicts. My guess is that in reality it is probably academic types that learned their trade from a classroom and books - maybe a field trip to look at an open pit mine from a distance...

They will no doubt stay as long as it takes in order to find a violation, just to make up for the long drive up to the mine from wherever their offices are.

Common sense dictates that mining is inherently dangerous. So is logging - I chased landing under a Skycrane that came in with a new turn every 98-120 seconds. This same chopper later crashed in the bottom of the canyon where we worked! Before I arrived on the job a faller with 25+ years of experience was trapped on a side-hill under a log with a broken pelvis, leg, ankle, and ribs. With a workplace environment like this (or down in the mine), you almost expect something bad to happen. Most likely, you are prepared to handle it, and be ready for it. It is the nature of the work itself – mining, logging, or offshore fishing in Alaska, which creates the dangerous environment. Bad things will still happen despite rigorous safety training, proper equipment, and never-ending work on making the site itself safer. The regulators' approach is akin to me blaming the road (or my car) if I hit a deer and got into a car accident…

How many mine accidents across the country have occurred immediately after a clean or zero citation MSHA inspection? (If such an MSHA inspection exists).
 By Michael Miller

08/25/2015  8:24AM

Answer to WK below: Yes. Two men died from accidents in the mine. Eighty or more years ago a miner fell and died from his injury. On November 6, 2000 a tragic accident took the life of Lead Miner Mark Fussell. Mark ‘s accident resulted from a brain lapse while on the 1700 level. MSHA took extreme measures to concoct a story blaming the Mancha Locomotive he was operating as the root cause. The lead investigator, Steve Cain, fabricated a report and none of the management questioned its authenticity (an easy task to perform). Why did MSHA do this?

During our last inspection the inspector brought up root cause analysis. I spoke up as he drifted off track. Most accidents result from inattention by the miner. Let’s call it a ‘brain fart’. Until our hazardous environment and dangerous work place is properly reviewed during an inspection or accident, the miners’ health and safety will be compromised. MSHA needs to get this right!

A few years ago a young Sixteen to One miner dies from his car accident on Highway 49. It was sad and also tragic. Fault was not his car or another. He just lost his focus, something that happens from time to time.

My greatest concern during last week’s visit from the feds was their safety. I told them so at the outset. Neither was physically prepared to travel in our mine. We continue to be regulated by people without the required background, experience and training.
 By WK

08/25/2015  7:44AM

Would I be correct to speculate that more Sixteen to One miners have died or been injured in their cars than in the mine?
 By Michael Miller

08/24/2015  1:18PM

See entry on 8/18/2015.

Then please use your common sense and imagination to add descriptions for me to present at a conference with federal regulators regarding Sixteen to One mine. Even if you have never been underground go ahead with adjectives and nouns. Use your imagination. Others do. I want your views.

The crew just finished a week long inspection where our normal was seen as creating unsafe work environment (something that regularly happens with MSHA regulators employed to help miners with safety and health. I was handed four citations marked serious and substantial, the worst kind of evaluation. None of the miners could believe the citations represented the Sixteen to One. All these must be vacated.

How to explain to MSHA? What I will send MSHA district office:

"Sixteen to One mine topography is not discrete or separate in its underground surfaces. The mine workings are in a hazardous environment underground and will always be treated as such. All people entering the underground are given instructions about the conditions they will encounter. It is a hazardous and dangerous place, especially for person with infrequent experience.

The hazards include but not limited to: irregularities in shape, size, composition, slipperiness, height, duration of awkwardness, unfamiliarity, low light, headroom, loose rock, ( please add some more things to beware of when underground in a mine). A person may slip, fall, scrape the body, trip, bump one’s head, (please add some more things). This is for real and not a joke."

Thanks. Comment here or to my email mmeistermiller@gmail.com
 By David I

08/20/2015  6:47AM

Hello Mike, sorry to here about the poor qualifications of the mine inspectors. you say you have had poor results with contact to your Congressman. The way you can handle this is to write the speaker of the house about your lack of support from your representative. I do it all the time, My representative is a democrat, and he and I do not liike each other very much. So to get around his inconsideration I write the Speaker John Boehner. He will help you.
 By Michael Miller

08/18/2015  4:36PM

Right now our mine has two Authorized Representatives of the US Secretary of Labor (AR) underground. They are commonly called “mine inspectors”. The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 was passed by Congress for the benefit of miners as well as to benefit the general welfare of American citizens. Mineral production is not a luxury. It is an essential to our lives.

Section 505, entitled Inspectors, Qualifications; Training says: persons appointed as authorized representatives of the Secretary shall be qualified by practical experience in mining or by experience as a practical mining engineer or by education: Provided, however, That to the maximum extent feasible, no person shall be so selected unless he has the basic qualification of at least five years practical mining experience…

I was disappointed that this would be the first underground mine experience of one AR. I was shocked to be told that this AR has never worked anywhere as a miner or in a mine. She is here to get some training and experience. In the pre-inspection conference I related how costly this has been for us in the past. Time wise the inspections are uncomfortably slow and tedious as the lead AR wants to explain every little crack to the newbie. Well, this was also the experienced first time underground at the Sixteen to One for the lead AR.

I thought we had a meeting of the minds until the lead miner and also miners’ representative assigned to show the ARs the mine called me around noon. He was frustrated because they had only traveled a short distance from the portal and a lot of teaching was taking place between the two ARs.

I got my hat and boots drove to the portal and headed underground, hoping to to advance the situation or find out why they were so slow. What I found was they had traveled no further and were still looking at cracks and ground support. Oh, I forgot, when I left the mine in the morning, I called the MSHA District office in Vacaville to register my complaints about the ongoing use of Sixteen to One as a training ground for inexperienced ARs. This AR has zero experience which is a first!

What can be done about a federal agency breaking the law and passing the expense of lost time on a small operator? This is my question to you. How can this governmental treatment be addressed? The district and field offices know this. It really isn’t their fault nor is it the fault of the ARs. Our industry cannot survive with continual enforcement by an unlawful regulatory agency. Writing my Congressional representatives gets no results.

The Act of 1977 clearly spells Congresses’ intent in Section 103c, which protects small businesses from an “unreasonable burden upon operators and unnecessary duplication of effort in obtaining information”. It is an epidemic! MSHA has killed the small mining operation and who knows but it may be hurting the big multinational operations as well.

This behavior does not benefit our miners or our country. Maybe if others got involved, we can turn this abusive and unlawful behavior around. Parallel with those who grow our food, farmers and ranchers, those who extract the vital minerals we must have to enjoy life, miners are under attack by an overt act of aggression. If you like to eat and like your car, bike computer or clothing, I would like your help. Ideas are good but if others can make more people aware of this lawlessness happening right now at the Sixteen to One, we can stop a growing epidemic.
 By Michael Miller

11/21/2014  11:26AM

With inquires about my post below, a follow up seems prudent.

The formal demands at the highest level of federal policy are out of touch with day to day operations of miners. The inspectors/investigators are encouraged to aggressively pursue hearsay evidence by this recent MSHA directive. Maybe it is required in the coal industry. Coal is vital to all Americans. Growing congestion on US railroads due to crude oil shipments is side-lining coal and worrying power producers nationwide. The fear is a reduction in power generators. I’m not familiar with the coal miners and their working situations. They most likely are not familiar with the underground gold miners, especially those few in California. Even though, my desire is to let them know that others in the mining world are not comfortable with MSHA going after hearsay opinions that will determine the outcome of an investigation.

When MSHA directs its inspectors to go after a particular area in the mining industry, the small operator and miners receive little or no benefit. Our mines do not resemble coal mines, yet the rules MSHA enforces (and how inspectors go about it) are best described as, “one shoe fits all feet).
America must correct this behavior or we will become extinct.
 By Michael Miller

11/20/2014  12:09PM

Six weeks ago MSHA reissued its Procedure Instruction Letter “PIL” regarding inspectors investigating fatal accidents. The policy letter notes two changes. Both create more opportunities for inspectors to gather hearsay or secondary information from persons not at the accident scene. MSHA now encourages inspectors to “aggressively pursue interviews with witnesses (?) not on the mine site at the time of the accident”. This is a requirement placed on inspectors.

While this whole change of enforcement is somewhat troubling, this revision emphasizes the investigator approach family members to specifically seek potential hearsay evidence of “statements the victim gave to family members about safety issues at the workplace”. It also requires the accident team to create a Public Notice to encourage any person to contact MSHA with hearsay information related to the accident. MSHA will also consider this information as privileged, which prevents operators from learning the information until 48 hours before the MSHA hearing. The MSHA review commission now interprets Section 103(a) of the Mine Act of 1977 to require operators to turn over the home addresses and telephone number of miners to MSHA investigators.
 By Michael Miller

09/30/2014  9:14AM

Mining is a global industry. Mankind recognized the value of natural resources from the caveman to the astronaut. Those who fail to recognize this are fools. Ignorance of this necessary industry is the enemy of behavior. Following are some short clips about news you most likely will never hear or read.

Polish miners block Russian coal imports at border

More than 200 Polish miners blocked trains carrying Russian coal at a border passage in northern Poland to protest against the cheaper Russian coal being brought in at a time when local mines are struggling, mining union leaders said recently. Poland, which uses coal to generate about 90 percent of its electricity, produced 76.5 million tons in 2013. It exported 10.6 million tons but at the same time imported 10.8 million, mainly from Russia and the Czech Republic. Comment: USA coal use is the cleanest in the world. Coal industry is under attack in America.

Indonesia probe into deadly Freeport mining accident to take a week

Indonesia's mining ministry expects an investigation into a deadly accident at Freeport-McMoRan Inc.'s copper mine to take a week, and open-pit mining will not resume until its conclusion, a government official said. Freeport recently halted open-pit mining at its Grasberg copper mine, one of the world's biggest, after a truck collision killed four. Comment: The open pit produces around 140,000 tons of copper ore per day and the underground puts out about 80,000 tons. Copper is necessary for communications, a very active pastime today. Few ever think about where or how this vital element appears for our benefit.

Gold price seen near tipping point for mine cuts, closures

The price of gold, down more than a third in three years, is approaching the tipping point where the mining industry would see a spike in the number of producers reducing output or even shutting down operations. Several mines globally have already suspended output in the past 18 months, but not as many as industry watchers expected as producers focused on slashing costs and reworking mine plans to extract more profitable, higher-grade ounces. Comment: I have trouble with this analysis. Gold traders pushed the prices beyond all reason near the $1900/ounce. Gold “analysts” participated in creating a false value, creating semi panic for those without gold, which created an ideal short play. Ignorance cost some nice people to lose value. The spot price quickly dropped. At the $1220/ounce range, spot price remains 50% greater than the 1980’s massacre (high of $800/ounce).

Gold demand outlook promising on lower prices, seasonality

The gold price is expected to languish for the rest of the year and test $1,200. For the year as a whole, the price is expected to average $1,270, which compares with the year-to-date average of $1,289. However, this decline may not benefit Indian consumers, as the rupee is forecast to average 61.4 against the dollar this year. This requires the rupee to average 62.3 over the next quarter. Comment: If you have Indian friends, ask them to explain their culture and the role of gold.

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