Placerville Gold Mine Dispute Recalls Wild West Past

PLACERVILLE, Calif. (AP) — The Wild West spirit of California’s Gold Rush is living on in a dispute between government agencies and a Sierra Nevada landowner.

Joseph Hardesty and his partners reopened the Big Cut Mine near Placerville in what authorities call an egregious case of illegal mining. They used heavy equipment to cut into a steep ridge that has a 160-year history of gold mining activity.

The El Dorado County district attorney charged Hardesty with 14 crimes, including four felonies, while the state leveled fines approaching $900,000.

Hardesty, 54, became a fugitive last week after failing to turn himself in as promised.

He says he has a historic right to mine nearly 150 acres he bought seven years ago as the price of gold began to rise.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Comments

One Comment

  1. dustyblueriver says:

    his land Right! apparently not his right to mine it bad goverment!

  2. rock hound says:

    God forbid some land owner is trying to make a little money off the property he owns. I hope Mr. Hardesty trips over a big fat nugget in the back 40 & lives happily ever after…

  3. Cindy says:

    Nope, in the Wild West, people got to keep the gold they found now the government wants what’s his.

  4. Joe says:

    This USA seems more like the old USSR. Hopefully one day I will leave this God forsaken country for a better one. Maybe europe or South America. The US government and all of these laws have taken our forefathers gave us away.

    1. JustCause says:

      What’s stopping you? One less person for the tax payers to support.

      1. LEESE says:

        THE PEOPLE DID NOT ONLY MINE THEY RIPPED OFF OTHER PEOPLE TOO.

  5. Larry Whiting says:

    Welcome to California, now bend over!

    1. LEESE says:

      THE PEOPLE DID NOT ONLY MINE THEY RIPPED OFF OTHER PEOPLE TOO. THEY HAD PENDING LAWSUITS PENDING.

  6. Ein Prospektor says:

    This article is almost completely devoid of all detail whatsoever. We don’t know if he sought any permits. We don’t know the specific charges. We don’t have any sense of the dimensions of the hole he dug. We have no information to judge whether the miner was a scofflaw or if it’s truly a case of government intrusion. Is the AP really as mindless as Twitter or Facebook?

  7. Jessy says:

    I do believe the government just wants there cut and should stay out of it i also do believe if he is guilty of only this he should stand up for what he was doing i believe he is running form more then this!

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