On July 7th, 2020, the Plan of Operations was received by the Plumas National Forest personnel. After multiple discussions, a meeting for August 20th was set up with the Forest Service personnel and the Eon Discovery personnel for reviewing the Plan of Operations on site for the Phase I of the Plan, which included opening a tunnel to get back to the area of mineralization. We had been told that if everything looked good, we could possibly get approval to open the tunnel without further environmental studies.
On August 14th, two of us showed up at the mine site, in preparation for the meeting with Forest Service personnel on the following Thursday. Upon inspecting the mine site, the mine tunnel had completely collapsed due to a fire years ago that burned all of the wooden framing inside the mine. We set about building our base camp and planning on how to build a new tunnel to gain access to the mineralized area of the old tunnel. On Monday, August 17th, a thunderstorm came through the area with lots of lightning, setting multiple fires in the National Forest, including a fire one ridge over from where we setting up camp.
On Tuesday, August 18th, the Forest Service representative that we had been in contact with all along came by our campsite and told us that we needed to evacuate the area for our own safety. In addition, the meeting we were supposed to have the next Thursday was cancelled because all of the Forest Service personnel who we were going to meet with were working the multiple fires. We moved to a nearby campground in the valley, only to be moved again after the Forest Service closed the camp ground for their personnel coming into the area to help fight the fires.
At that point, the general thinking of Eon Discovery management was that the fires would be quickly extinguished and we could move on with the inspections and building the tunnel. Unfortunately, the fires lasted quite a while. And the Forest Service closed the National Forests in California. A month after we had first shown up, many of the fires were still raging and we had gotten very little work done as we were unable to spend much time in the National Forest. We had, however, been able to collect almost a half of ton of rocks from the ore piles we had put in front of the mine years ago and were able to crush, grind, and separate the heavy elements from the ore rocks we collected. These heavy elements were then smelted with a flux to separate the gold from the material. The gold collected was then sent off to a refinery for further processing.
After meeting with the Forest service personnel, we were informed that we would need multiple State permits to achieve the Plan of Operations. We initially operated under the previously approved Plan of Operations and that the new Plan of Operations would be based on the work completed for the previous plan (a copy can be found here). However, our file has been misplaced by the Forest Service and they cannot locate the previous corresponding filed. State personnel were contacted and permits developed to submit to the State agencies. Most of the permits have been applied for, however, the State may take up to 180 days to review and make comments on the permits. Once all questions have been answered and the State regulators are satisfied, they will issue a permit. Once the permits have been acquired and the environmental reviews have been completed, the Forest Service will issue an approval letter for the Plan of Operations. We are currently waiting on State agencies to respond to the permit applications before we will be able to move forward.