January 18, 1979 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-SENATE 8973
ZWEIFEL MINING CLAIMS, CUSTER
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, 1n
the past year Montanans have observed
with considerable alarm the extensive
m1ning claim activities ot Mr. Merle
ZweUel, an operator originating 1n the
State ot Oklahoma. There has never been
any · cleazo explanation ot the intent ot
his extensive operatloll8. Claims h ave
been generally Umlted to Federal lands,
and in recent months field personnel of
the Bureau of Land Management and
the U.S. Forest Service have been keepIng
a close eye on his activities.
I have just received a detailed report
from the forest supervisor of Custer
National Forest, in Montana, giving me a.
report on his contacts with Mr. Zwel1el.
Also, Yellowstone County officials have
taken action to halt this activity.
Mr. President, I ask unanJmous consent
that news articles and c..orrespondence
I have received from the U.S . Forest
Service be printed RECORD.
There being no objection, the items
were ordered to be printed in the RECORD,
as follows: ·
U.S. DEPARTMENT OP AGRICULTURE,
CUSTER NATIONAL FOREST,
BUHngs, Mont., January 15, 1973.
Hon. Mna: MANBFIELD,
DEAR. SENATOR J4ANSFIELD: This replies to
your December 7, 1972, letter to Chief McGuire
about Mr. Merle Zweltel's mining
claims on the custer National Forest In Eastern
Mr. Zweifel, to date, has recorded the location
or nine hundred seventy-two 160-acre
association placer claims on the Ashland
Division of the Custer National Forest. However,
he has made no surface disturbance and
no attempt to contact the Custer to request
permission to drive bulldozers on his mining
claims to perfect a location.
Attached 18 Mining Engineer Burleson's
most recent reply to Mr. Zweltel. The Custer
Natlon!IJ Forest does not reoognlze Mr. Zweifel's
claims, and wlll not allow him to do
work on the National Forest except by special
use permit with bo~dlng to Insure.
On January 8, Yellowstone County Attorney
Harold Hanser secured .a temporary InJunction
to prevent further tiling of placer
mining claims by Mr. Zweifel (BUllngs Gazette
article attached) . It Is planned that the
County Attorneys of Custer, Fallon, Musselshell,
Powder River, and Rosebud counties
wlll also seek slm11ar Injunctions.
Here again It would appear that this situation
demonstrates the need to revise or replace
the General Mining Lllows of 1872. You
are probably aware of the position taken by
the Regional Forester of the Northern Region,
Forest Service, through Senate SubCommittee
testimony here In Billings and
other statements, some o! which the Majority
Leader ot the Senate has read Into the Congressional
Record. We honestly believe new
Legislation 18 needed In the tl.eld of minerals
to better provide for environmental protection
In connection with proper mining activities.
We share with you In your concern of destruction
caused by dozer activity on the
Custer National Forest, and we do not Intend
to Idly permit auch to happen here.
D. c. MAciNTYRE,
CUBTBil NATIONAL FoREST,
BtlUng1, Mont., December 14, 1972.
Mr. MEsLE I . Z'WED'EL,
Dun MR. ZWED'I!:L: The Custer National
Forest recognlz4:6 the rights and prlvUeges
of all qual111.e4 persons to enter the Ashland
Divlsion for all proper and lawful purposes,
Including that of prospecting, locating, and
developing the mineral resources thereof. I
should further like to quote from 43 Code of
Federal Regulations dated January 1972,
8974 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-SENATE January 18, 1973
Part 383G-Locatlon of Y:inlng Claims, Subpart
3831-W.hta to Ktneral Lands, 3831.1
Manner of initiating rights under locations:
"Rights to mineral lands, owned by the
United States, are initiated by prospecting
tor minerals thereon, and, upon the dlscottery
of mineral, by locating the lands upon
which such dtacovery has been made. A location
Is made by staklng the corners of the
claim, posting notice of location thereon and
complying with the State laws, regarding
the recording of the location in the county
recorder's omce, dlsoovery work, etc. As supplemental
to the United Sta.tes mining laws
there are State statutes relative to location,
manner of recording of mlnlng claims, etc.,
in the State, which should also be observed
In the location of mining claims. Information
as to State laws can be obtained locally
or from State omclals."
In my opinion, you have not compiled
with the requirements or the General Mining
Law of 18711 as amended, nor bave you
complied with the Montana State Mining
Law as enumerated above in 3831.1.
From the statements In your letter or November
8, (paragraph 2, page 1 and paragraph
3, page 2) It appears that you have not
made a valid dlsoovery. It this Is so, then
you have acquired no rights to the mining
claims that you have recorded in the Powder
River County Courthouse.
concerning the exploration work. which
you mention several times in your letter, If
you will refer to your copy of the Minerals
Reeource .Management Guidelines of the
Northern Region of the Porest Service, on
page 4 you will note that a special use permit
with the posting of a suitable performance
bond to Insure compliance with the
terms of the permit Is required for all work,
other than bandtools, on a mining claim
where the discovery of a valuable mineral
deposit cannot be demonstrated.
With this preponderance of evidence, that
you have not complled with the State laws
nor made a discovery of a valuable mineral
deposit as required by Federal law, we cannot
recognize your claim as encumbrances to
Should you decide to do exploration work,
I would suggest ·that you submit suitable
plans for this work to meet Federal and
State mining laws and the Northern Region
of the Porest Service guidelines.
JOHX B. Buax..soN,
Ecut Zcme Mining Engineer.
Coun HALTS SPZCULATDi'G BY ZWKD'KL-YELLOWSTONJI:
CotJNTT Acrs; 0rHDa LIKJ:LT
(By Richard H. Oelsaler)
Merle I . Zweifel, high-flying prospectoF and
jet-age mineral speculatot', was grounded
Tuesday In Yellowstone County. _
The Shawnee, Okla., operatot- was halted In
Billings by District Court Judge Robert H.
Wllson's Issuing a temporary injunction preventing
further ftling of placer mlnlng claims.
And by Wedneeday ftve more southeastern
Montana counties hope to halt Zweifel 1n
their respective jurts
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