• Gold Diggers Forced to Find New Method for Mining Legitimate Claims
  • January 18, 2017 | Author: Joshua A. Quinones
  • Law Firm: Morris Polich & Purdy LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • The case of People of the State of California v. Brandon Rinehart, presents a fascinating look at the world of gold mining, and the historical perspective it affords of our great state and nation. In short, it asks the question—can the state prevent a person with a legitimate “claim” for mining gold on Federal land within a state from the one type of mining that would viably access the gold at issue? Rinehart contends that the issue is the subject of Federal Preemption and that California cannot effectively prevent his ability to mine the subject claim. In this case, the California Supreme Court has determined that the state may at least temporarily prevent the practice and permits allowing said practice. The practice at issue is known as “suction dredging” and is one of the viable options for mining gold in rivers and waterways. In the case of Mr. Rinehart, he alleges that suction dredging is the only way he can mine this claim. The State of California’s Fish and Wildlife Department has essentially blocked the practice by one means or another for the past 15 years. First, by a moratorium on the practice as it endeavored to determine the environmental impact of the practice and later by limiting or preventing access to the necessary permits to conduct the practice once the moratorium was lifted. Mr. Rinehart has objected to both the scope of the moratorium and the length of time it has been ongoing.