Free miners staking claims on the Juan de Fuca lands owned by Ender Ilkay are giving legitimate free miners a bad name and exploiting the public’s ignorance on the process. So says Christian Knoglinger, a free miner who has had claims in the Loss Creek area and is a self-taught geologist.
He went on to explain the process of staking a mineral claim.
“When you stake a claim you have up to three years to prove there is something of value. You have to submit samples yearly or pay a fee in lieu of work uncompleted, otherwise the claim gets forfeited.”
In the statement made by Zoe Blunt that the free miners can go onto Ilkay’s property and inspect outgoing loads, Knoglinger said that since it is private land they are requested under the Mineral Tenure Act to ask permission from Ender Ilkay to go onto his land.
“They can’t just go there,” he said.
The following is from the Mineral Tenure Act which regulates Free miner certificates:
”It is important to note that the free miner is not required to seek the owner’s consent, although the Ministry recommends that a free miner inform a property owner of his or her intentions prior to entering upon the property to carry out any exploration or development work.”
If they follow the legitimate process and an assay shows there is something of value the free miner then has to deal with the province and obtain a placer or mining lease. Loose gravel would qualify as a placer lease, while bedrock would constitute a mining lease. There is also the responsibility of purchasing liability insurance.
“Then they have to put up a surety which is determined by the ministry and it is at least $100,000 before they stick an excavator in. This is used to restore the land to the former state,” said Knoglinger.
Free miner’s certificates are issued for a period of one year.
Under the Mineral Tenure Act, Claim or lease change 6:31 (3) The chief gold commissioner may register the following against a claim or lease:
(c) notice of a complaint under section 40; Complaints as to valid title 40 (c) a claim has been acquired or held for purposes other than an mining activity.