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Palo Verde Valley Blythe/Quartzsite Times | Blythe, California and Quartzsite, Arizona

home : latest news : local August 28, 2015


7/31/2014 10:54:00 AM
Miners challenge Bureau of Land Management over fee increase
Miners were surprised recently after receiving notification by registered mail from the BLM that changes have been made to their yearly fees in order to hold their claims.
Miners were surprised recently after receiving notification by registered mail from the BLM that changes have been made to their yearly fees in order to hold their claims.
Jeanette Hyduke
Palo Verde People

Miners were surprised recently after receiving notification by registered mail from the BLM that changes have been made to their yearly fees in order to hold their claims.

When a person finds ore that he can work that could make him financially independent, he can file for a lode claim or a placer claim. A lode claim consists of 20 acres. This is usually for underground mining. He can claim a Placer claim, which consists of 160 acres. This claim is usually used to mine in the washes or shallow mining and also to protect the lode claims.

For many years, the annual assessment fee was $5 for each claim to be filed. However, over the years the price for the fees has risen. Until this year, the price per claim was $160 for each claim. Now it has been raised to $155 for each 20-acre claim.

This year, the placer claims that consists of 160 acres has now been broken down to make each placer claim into eight 20-acre claims. Thereby raising each placer claim to $155 for the eight 20-acre that the placer claims. This raise in fees caused many small miners to go out of business.

When miners added up the cost of their placer claims, especially if they owned more than one placer claim; the news was overwhelming. There are several large mining claims in the area south of Palo Verde. In addition, there are many small mine owners in the area.

Those who come out to try their luck in the washes south of town, usually own placer claims. But now, many doubt that they can hold on to their claims. If these fees are not paid by Sept. 1, the claims will be lost. When the BLM in Sacramento was asked why the change, they had "no comment."

Many of the old-time prospectors say that it is impossible for the younger generation to be able to prospect or take up claims soon.

Some years ago, the BLM closed much of the desert off for wilderness areas. This change made it possible for people to walk in by foot. However, when a prospector located a claim, in order to work it, he had to get a plan of operations with the BLM. This can be costly while it took years to be approved; many times it was not approved.

Many of the mining claims and small owners have decided to band together and challenge the BLM.

"Enough is enough," said long-time mining man, George Anderson. "We are going to have to fight for our rights, or miners will lose their freedom forever."

Palo Verde Improvement Association's recent Fourth of July program was successful. Those who won outstanding prizes were Barbara Hopton and Abery, who won the two-day trip to Lauglin, Nevada, Mike Valenzuela, Joyce Hester, and Deaven Tuckey. In addition, all the men who attended were given a free car wash.

A couple of residents had to be taken to the hospital last week after working in their yards they got too hot. Both were kept in the hospital over night. It is important that during this monsoon/summer season people take great care to keep cool.


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