|Rye Patch seeks injunction against Coeur Rochester|
|Written by Dee Holzel|
|Friday, March 16 2012 04:41|
LOVELOCK — Rye Patch Gold is seeking a preliminary injunction on allegations Coeur Rochester is not playing nicely in the ongoing legal dispute over mining claims.
In documents filed in 6th Judicial District Court, RPG accused its neighbor of claim jumping, angle drilling, and construction of barriers on public lands to prevent RPG from mining activities.
The issue is before Judge Michael Montero, who has not issued any orders – yet -- concerning the matter. At the time of this post, Coeur Rochester had not responded to the allegations.
CASE HISTORY: The dispute between Coeur Rochester and Rye Patch Gold erupted when the latter filed mining claims on property currently being mined by Coeur. The move by Rye Patch was made possible due to the failure by Coeur Rochester to pay $75,000 in federal maintenance fees on 541 claims in Pershing County, which were due on or before August 31, 2011.
On September 1 the claims were closed and the mineral rights became available for any member of the public to claim, which Rye Patch did. However, Coeur continues to assert its right to the claims since the company is working the property and has done so for many years.
In December of 2011 Montero issued an order that parceled the disputed property in Pershing County so each side could continue to go about its business until the matter could be decided in court. A two-week trial on the matter is scheduled to begin on Nov. 5.
CURRENT MOTION: The motion for preliminary injunction by Rye Patch against Coeur Rochester was filed on March 6. In that document RPG alleged Coeur has not been a handsome neighbor.
The document alleged Coeur Rochester staked over Rye Patch Gold’s claims, also known as claim jumping, then moved in with heavy equipment to excavate roads and drill pads and went about exploration drilling on lands within the boundaries of the claims held by Rye Patch.
Additionally, Rye Patch alleged Couer Rochester conducted exploratory drilling by setting up heavy equipment on private lands and drilling at an angle onto lands for which RPG holds the mineral claim.
Rye Patch also alleged Couer Rochester constructed barriers, berms, fences and gates on federal public lands, on roads designated as Pershing County public roadways, to prevent RPG from entering those lands to work on its claims.
RPG asked the court to “enjoin CRI from trespassing against the LH claims and from constructing barriers to Rye Patch Gold’s access to the federal public lands and on and across the Pershing County Public Highways and other historic public roads.”
WITNESS ACCOUNTS: The documents filed with the district court outlined confrontations between Rye Patch and Coeur Rochester employees and contractors.
Witness statements were made by William Howald, president of Rye Patch Gold, and two geologists for that company, Robert Ghiglieri and Ronaldo Marcio Pinto de Silva.
Howald said in his statement on those occasions when RPG employees have asked Coeur employees to leave areas staked by Rye Patch, they left only to return when it appeared RPG staff had left the area.
Howald wrote he was on RPG’s LH claims on Feb. 9, 2012 and observed contractors with Coeur Rochester conducting angle exploratory drilling. He allegedly told a Coeur Rochester employee they were committing mineral trespass, and they left the area.
But not for long. Howald wrote they came back with another Coeur Rochester employee who brought a letter from the BLM which authorized them to conduct exploration work in the area.
Howald observed the letter only concerned surface disturbances on Coeur Rochester patented land. The two disputed the actions the letter allowed.
Photographs of the drilling rig were attached. Additionally, Howald attached a copy of a letter sent to Coeur Rochester General Manager Cindy Jones in which he informed her employees from CRI were trespassing onto RPG claims.
Ghiglieri’s statement recounts an incident in which he approached a drilling rig to inform them their operations were on claims held by RPG, and that they were trespassing, but he was confronted by an attorney for Coeur Rochester.
He alleges the attorney, identified by him as Bob Marshall, said the he didn’t think the claims were Rye Patch Gold’s and reportedly said, “We’re not taking any more threats.”
When Ghiglieri protested that he had not threatened anyone, the attorney allegedly countered the threats came from another RPG geologist.
Ghiglieri protested he didn’t think that was true and asked the attorney and drill crew to leave the area. He then took pictures of the drilling equipment and its location.