August 9, 2022 

Another U.S. precious metals miner goes foreign


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 By Michael Miller

01/28/2003  9:14PM

The Fraser Institute, an independent Canadian economic and social research and educational organization, asked 972 senior and junior mining companies around the world to participate in a survey. Its purpose is to assess how mineral endowments and public policy factors such as taxation and regulation affect investment. The investment attractiveness of 47 jurisdictions in North and South America, Australia, Asia, Africa, India, Russia and Indonesia were included.

The 158 companies participating in the survey include 27 senior mining companies and 131 junior mining companies including the Original Sixteen to One Mine, Inc. of California. The effects of increasingly onerous, seemingly capricious regulations, uncertainty about land use, higher levels of taxation, and other policies that interfere with market conditions are rarely felt immediately, as they are more likely to deter companies looking for new projects than they are to shut down existing operations. The industry is reluctant to be publicly critical of politicians and civil servants.

"In recognition of the fact that jurisdictions are no longer competing only with the policy climates of their immediate neighbours, but in fact with jurisdictions around the world, we think it is important to continue publishing and publicizing the results of the survey annually, and to make the results available and accessible to an increasingly global audience," says Liv Fredricksen, Coordinator. Email:

Attractive geology does not guarantee mining investment if a region's policies are bad, say mining executives.

Chile claims the highest rank on the overall Investment Attractiveness Index with a score of 94 points out of a possible 100. Quebec was the top-rated North American jurisdiction with an overall investment score of 90. Australia is the next most attractive jurisdiction with an overall score of 89, and Nevada is the highest rated jurisdiction in the US with a score of 86.

Topics included were:
1. Policy Potential Index
2. Mineral Potential Index
3. Investment Attractiveness Index.

Mining executives offered the following comments.
"The greatest difficulties in this business come from another direction—the ridiculous amount of filings and forms (and outrageous fees) demanded by the multiple securities commissions and stock exchanges. These seem to expand and change monthly."
—President, junior mining company.

"USA [has] eco-terrorism-environmental strangulation policies." The country needs a dose of "environmental realism based on good scientific/engineering policies."
— Evaluations Manager, senior mining company.

"U.S [has] toooo many idiots! Who work with junk science and who are out for control at any cost…." It needs to "Get back to the reality that the U. S. is dependent on metals to make the economy grow and prosper same with energy."
—President, junior mining company.

The jurisdiction with the most favourable policies is "Australia. Gold mining [is] tax free. Mining industry [is] highly supported by government at all levels."
—Exploration Manager, junior mining company.

"The entire mineral industry in Indonesia for the last 4 years is a horror story. At the current rate extractive industry here will be dead in 5-8 years (exploration already is!)"
—Executive VP Exploration, senior mining company.

"China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Zimbabwe, [and] Congo" have the worst policies. "Their cultures either do not value mining highly or they favour locals versus foreigners." Unfortunately, "corruption is not really subject to policy."
—President, junior mining company.

Russia has unfavorable policies, including “political, regulatory and legal harassment [freezing accounts] because of refusal to cooperate with continuing and increasing ‘payoffs.’”
—Evaluations Manager, senior mining company.

In South Africa the leaking of a draft Mining Charter for the new Minerals and Petroleum Bill that hinted at compulsory majority ownership of new mining projects had a significant effect on foreign investment and confidence.
—Director, senior mining company.

Since all of our mining properties are located in California, much of this survey has limited value; however I conclude my summary with the following observations. The respondents consider regulatory duplication and inconsistencies as a strong deterrent to exploration investment greatest in Russia. California is the third worst location only above Russia and Wisconsin. California ranks third from the bottom regarding environmental regulations, slightly ahead of Washington and Wisconsin.

A statistic worth intellectual pondering was a mathematical table of respondents who indicate factors that encourage exploration investment. A comparison of the percentages found in the column for “Mineral Potential Assuming Current Regulations” and Mineral Potential Assuming No Land Use Restrictions” places California as the geographical political entity surveyed with the highest percent difference between the two columns at 68%. Go figure.

It will prove helpful for individuals considering an investment in remote or exotic lands to have at least a base understanding of political stability, infrastructure, labor relations, regulations and restrictions. For me, it is only a tangential interest. One undeniable truth about a mining company is it cannot move its mineral deposit to a more favorable location. I like California, especially now that most mining companies view the state near the bottom of desirability. Mister Pocket, we’re breaking rock to find you.
 By bluejay

01/11/2003  5:57PM

It's nice to hear your ideas which I totally agree with. Sadly, I missed your articles that you did for the paper. Is there any chance they could be put on the Forum? It would be great if you did some current stuff. I have heard your name around as being a very knowledgeable mining person
 By Jack Hawkins

01/10/2003  11:40PM

Full Disclosure: I have owned shares in Original Sixteen To One since 1987, when I wrote a series of articles on Gold Mining for the Mountain Messenger newspaper in Downieville. I am also a retired stockbroker.

The 16 to 1 is the oldest gold mine in the United States since Homestake was sold to Barrick. The stock reached a high of around 7 1/2 in the nineties; the last sale on the Pacific Exchange was 75 cents before it was delisted when the exchange went Archipelago.

I am writing you now because the mine is still operating in Alleghany, California, with about ten employees. It desperately needs capital to beef up operations for the gold bull market. If you or anyone you know has an interest, I think a call to Mike Miller, Predident, at [530] 287-3223 would be worthwhile. I think a few million dollars is all they need, and a substantial interest could be purchased.

If you want more details, please telephone me at home:[650] 948-4388. Jack Hawkins
 By Michael Miller

12/31/2002  12:16AM


A principle explanation of our political leaders moving within the legal system to bring about a strong nation by a rigid enforcement of the law follows. Political necessity exists as nationalization for social order through identifiable approaches based on personal cultivation. Political order has its basis for reaching harmony in a moral order. What has been lost for decades, probably dating back to the industrial age, which brought about a new social order must be identified before society can address the problem. Fix the cause, not the symptom. [The expression of a new social order cannot actually create or manifest into a new social order. All verbal attempts have fallen short. A new social order becomes identifiable as an after shock of political science and economics.]
We have become a political group. No longer will I ask my fellow employees to assume and act like the professionals we are. The Original Sixteen to One mine Inc. (OAU) our employer is one of the most respected gold mining companies of the 20th Century. Only Homestake Mining comes to mind as better known. Its founder, George Hearst, began his mining education among the rocks of the Northern mines of California before he developed Homestake Mine in South Dakota. Newmont Mining, a close contender of the Sixteen to One mine and Homestake, only takes a back seat because of its length of origin. Its founder, Fred Searls, shaped his underground pie in Alleghany searching for the Red Star mine ran by OAU.
 By R-Bob

12/28/2002  7:33PM

Intuition: of course you do it.
 By gfxgold

12/28/2002  1:13AM

Mike, what you are proposing does not surprise me in the least! You've known for a long time that the northern property has not been worked to the extent that it has on the southern end of the Sixteen. That's why you've always had a keen interest in the Red Star. It had never been worked to it's full potential. There were some nice sized pockets found just south of the Red Star. It would be interesting to see if there were any nuggets left in the gravel, too.(Mmmm, I wonder how much water is in that old channel). It would be quite an undertaking but, it would be a more direct and efficient route than trying to use any existing tunnels. Another benifit that I could see is a new area for waste rock and it's a long way from the creek! I say, "Go for it."
 By Michael Miller

12/27/2002  11:34PM

Buried in our[shareholders] and our [America] foundation are some of the earth's great natural specimens.....which formed before man arrived, as well as all plants and animals. On the other hand, rapid, explosive, violent, wonderful processes may have formed the earth's noble metals in concentrated veins. All rules are off when it comes to mining high-grade gold in this area only...."take your chances and chances will be taken."
Straight mining talk follows. I propose sinking the nORTH sIXTEEN sHAFT portal at SW corner of the Red Star. With proven production from the Sixteen to One Shaft and Tightner Shaft, the reward potential far exceeds in value the risks of undertaking the venture. The central location of our deposit between the Rainbow and Bald Mountain is the proposed portal. The first 170 feet is lava before it penetrates the tertiary gravels. [The Sixteen to One vein is reported to jut into the rich bed-rock of the old river.] Assuming: a 35 degree dip in the vein; 600 lineal feet of shaft quartz exposure; 368 feet of vertical drop from bed-rock to the 250 level of the Tightner workings; Red Star 350 level is 185 vertical feet below Tightner 250 level.

Why should this major investment be undertaken ? auriferous or gonzo or gfxgold or someone with a geological or historical or economical who has waited to participate in this forum lets talk about gold mining on this existing "Topic".
 By auriferous

11/24/2002  3:55PM

After leaving the 16-to-1 as Mine Engineer, I worked as a civil engineer in Roseville for four years. I am now also a licensed Mining Engineer in the State of Nevada. I am also now Lead Underground Surveyor (and part engineer/geologist) for Stillwater Mining's East Boulder project. I did not leap blindly into this endeavor. If anyone has any questions about Stillwater or the 16-to-1, please let me know. I'll try my best to answer.

Jason Burke
 By lynwood

11/22/2002  9:51PM

I knew tHis FORUM COULD BE A REAL AREANA FOR TRUTH ABOUT THE EXPANDED WORLD OF MINING. When Miller went after Homestake Mining he knew what he was doing. HM was a casualty of war.
bluejay, you told me a bunch about Stillwater and global mining.
One day during a 5 day MSHA quarterly inspection, Stillwater was issued 135 citations on just the third day!
One regular quarterly inspection.
When the LA Times reports that the Sixteen To One got 180 citations in 17 years, what would readers think about its safety program?
bluejay, thanks for your research. More anytime.
 By bluejay

11/22/2002  2:09AM

It was announced today that Stillwater Mining has proposed selling a majority 51% equity interest to Russian company, Norilsk Nickel. This anticipated transaction follows behind the foreign sale of Homestake Mining to the Canadian miner Barrick Gold. The Homestake shareholders are to blame for allowing this American tragedy.

Clearly, Norilsk Nickel had the financial strength to carve out a better deal for themselves than the ailing Stillwater. Stillwater is still smarting from a battering of filed class action suits that originated following a SEC review of its filed shelf offering. The SEC advised Stillwater that in "their interpretation" of the industry standards the company was overstating their probable reserves.

Stillwater's alleged foul was they were vertically projecting their probable ore reserves in certain ore blocks for distances of up to 1,900 feet beyond sample points. Stillwater Mining stated,"These projections were based on demonstrated ore continuity within the J-M Reef, the Company's knowledge of geologic features affecting ore continuity and reconciliation of prior ore reserve estimates with actual mining results." Stillwater resolved the SEC's concern by lowering the distance of projections to 1,000 feet.

Francis R. McAllister, Chairman and Chief Executuve Officer said, " While the Company's ore reserve methodology has stood the test of 16 years years mining experience, the scrutiny of independent experts and now this review by the SEC, it is important to put this matter behind us with a manner which we believe fair to our shareholders."

The "their interpretation" has significantly cost the shareholders, not the company. In addition, you can always count on the attorney's when they smell blood or have been politically pointed in a specific direction to satisfy someone's greed or necessity against the shareholders.

As a shareholder of Stillwater, there is the smell of a big rat with this deal. Norilsk is giving the company $100 million cash and approximately 876 thousand ounces of palladium in a declining market.

In December of 2000 palladium almost hit $1100 an ounce and today it's on a low of $274 after breaking some support at just above $300 an ounce level recently.

The Russians are shrewd metal traders. In 1996 Boris yeltsin said, We'll sell the world all the palladium that they want." That's when palladium was selling for $125 an ounce. Four years later it hit about $1100. Yeltsin proved to be no less than a market thug, manipulating traders to sell the metal short and in the later process of higher prices squeezing the life out of them when his country withheld palladium from the world market for an extended period and blamed it on labor problems. The labor problems were the result of the government not paying the miners. Trust the Russians, I don't think so.

For the first nine months of 2002 Stllwater reported total cash costs per ounce of $279, not total costs, cash costs. With the last sale per ounce of $274, what do you think will happen if palladium goes further into the tank? Big daddy Norilsk puts his money into the company and takes more stock and the original shareholders take home a smaller piece of the pie. Eventually, maybe, the Russian company owns the whole pie and America has lost another great mining company with the largest single deposit in the world of palladium. That would be nice for Norilsk Nickel, they could be another Debeers(head of the world diamond cartel) and tell you and I and industry what we'll have to pay for their precious palladium.

This deal may have started with someone, guess who, looking for gold. Norilsk Nickel recently acquired a Russian gold producer and now accounts for over 15% of Russia's gold production. Maybe, Norilsk said, if I direct my gold to you, what can you do for me?

If anyone still has any questions about the integrity of dealing with these people give Bill Gates a call and ask him about the experience that one of his companies by the name of Pan American Silver had with them.

This deal if it originated with someone trying to locate a gold source may indicate that some part of the 994,832,857 ounces of gold that is short in the marketplace is starting to wriggle. There currently is a fierce battle being fought between the people who want to hold gold as security against a financial meltdown and the commercial banks who have been selling gold that they do not own. The commerical banks, through derivatives, represent 89% of the total short position. The legitimate hedging gold producers account for the remaining 11%.

It will be another national shame if this is the start of another scheme to steal one more of our important mining companies. It is bad enough when the little gold producing companies are taken to the mat without moral cause but to witness the loss of another big mining company would be a blow to our national dignity

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