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Offline WaulespanTopic starter
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« on: February 14, 2011, 06:40:16 pm »
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Several times I have asked the UK Crown Estate agents to explain how the Royal Mines Acts give absolute ownership of all gold in the UK to the Queen. No answer. The explanation for this silence is derived from -

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"By virtue of the act of parliament passed in the first of William and Mary, Sir Carbery in the year 1690 took in several partners, and divided his waste into four thousand shares, and got Mr Waller, a miner from the north, to be his agent........and began to work mines in his own lands.

The society of miners royal finding them rich, laid claim to them by their patents, the act not being sufficiently clear. The ensuing lawsuit between Sir Carbery and Mr Sheppard, on behalf of the company, resulted in the procurement in 1693 of 'a  most glorious act' which empowered all the subjects of the Crown of England to enjoy and work their own mines in England and Wales, notwithstanding they contained gold or silver, provided the king, and those that claimed under him, may have the ore, paying the proprietors for it................

The conclusion I find is that landowner, a prospector licenced by the landowner or anyone prospecting on access land only has to declare their finds to the Crown agents. The UK Crown is obliged to pay the going rate to the prospector/panner. Not worth their effort for small amounts, explaining why they don't issue panning licences or prosecute the 2 jewellery companies who claim to source their Welsh gold from panners.

The Crown agent's silence on the legal position explains why they ducked out of the discussions between the official agencies and reps from the British Goldpanners Association.
Could it be alleged that the Crown agents have been conning many thousands if not millions of pounds from private companies for bogus prospecting and mining rights, when the position was actually that landowners and panners had an absolute right under the statute  1698 to prospect, without prior consent from the Crown? Looks like it to me. Explains the current reluctance of the agents to get involved in the silly hype started by CCW and other agencies.
Who Ha!!!


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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2011, 07:22:17 pm »
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Hey Brian we should get our own mine,  good fer the goose good fer the gander

john

Posted on: February 14, 2011, 07:06:48 PM
Brian does this meen that the like treasure you have to hand it over to the crown ( compulsery ) and they give you the market rate?

but what if you don't want to sell it?

john

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Offline WaulespanTopic starter
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2011, 05:14:46 am »
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Hi John, firstly I'm going to phone the House of Lords Library today and hopefully confirm the existence of Sir Carberry's 1693 Act.
Secondly, the agents have not yet explained how gravel between boulders in a river, or loose gravel can be considered a mine. The Royal Mines Acts only refer to mines, which exploit either veins of gold bearing quartz within seams of rock or well defined placer deposits. Mining the stuff spread about in rivers cannot be legally licenced by the Crown on any commercial scale, so what the Crown can't legally licence it can't control. The Crown has no interest in licencing or monitoring small scale panning in any case, they leave eco regs to the various authorities in Wales and Scotland, who are hopeless and collectively disorganised.
So, not having a legal interest in rivers, probably no duties due. However, I have offered to pay duties anyway, as this would give my stock a royal stamp of approval, but they probably don't want to take my 4% and do me the favour. The Crown agent's rules appear to be based on an assumption that the Royal Mines Acts gave the Crown ownership of all gold everywhere in the UK and at one time in the Empire and Commonwealth, but their website doesn't refer to these Acts at all. I can see why they avoid doing so. 
Now, thinking about starting an actual mine, yes the Crown here has entitlement to something, but if the 1693 Act is real and not repealed, the Crown can't even licence or restrict mining, the licencing system could be a mere convention, and the Crown has to pay the miners. But I'm jumping the gun on this one slightly. I have identified a few places with gold in rock which might be accessible in the Forest of Dean, but this could be a sticky area re planning laws. The best approach is geological study.
I'll post further info when I get something from the Lords.
Regards
Brian

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« Last Edit: February 15, 2011, 05:18:07 am by Waulespan »
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2011, 06:09:05 am »
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Hello Waulespan

Thank you for the interesting conundrum. It would be interesting to see if that 1693 Act has been repealed.

Hardluck

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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2011, 07:01:02 am »
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The librarian was very helpful with interpreting some wording.

The 1693 Act attributed to Sir Carbery is actually the 1693 Royal Mines Act, which definitely has not been repealed. So what is its effect on mining and panning today?

The licencing system runs contrary to the meaning given to the 1693 Act by the article on Sir Carbery, which would oblige the crown to pay miners directly, that is if they are lucky enough to strike a rich lode. But how did they calculate what the gold was worth back then, and was the cost of investment to be taken into account? How exactly was gold valued in sterling in 1693 and onwards, and did William and Mary and Queen Anne etc expect a discount on account of being in charge? A prospector has to invest millions to open and operate even a small mine like the Clogau was. It is massively speculative, so the Crown want?s its cut of this speculative investment, whereby the Crown can receive millions even if very little gold is found. There is no provision in the Royal Mines Acts 1688 or 1693 for licencing prospecting. It would appear that prospecting companies do not realize that they only need the consent of the landowner to prospect, along with registration of their interests with the Land Registry. When a company strikes a rich lode, it must then negotiate a price with the Crown. But the Crown wouldn?t want to pay the market price, especially if it is very high, it just hasn?t got the funds. In the case of a rich strike the mining company and the Crown would probably in retrospect prefer to have had a mining licence in place. However, in the case of a small scale mining operation, for instance hand picking surface lodes, a licence would be much too expensive. I would advise a landowner in Wales who finds a surface lode to dig it out, inform the Crown how many ounces or grams it has found, and ask for the going rate, which is at least three times spot price. Imagine the response from the agents ?Sorry sir, we can?t afford it. Eh, can we sell you a retrospective licence for a million quid now?? If your gold stock is worth more than a million, take the deal, if not, the Crown has reneged on the terms of the 1693 Act and you are free and clear to sell it on the open market, subject to any annoying lawsuits.
The same argument would apply to river gold, even if that could be deemed to be mining, which is still a gray area. To avoid doubt and gain Royal approval, I have offered to pay the duties, no reply.
In my view it is quite enough for mining companies to have to invest millions obtaining permission from the landowner, build infrastructure, pay staff and various taxes as well as depending on wildly fluctuating gold prices, without having to pay the Crown what is in effect a gambling tax. I?d go further, a mining licence is like a massive scratchcard, the card being a mountain, the boxes being quartz veins which might or might not contain prizes!
If mining companies are happy with this compromise that is up to them.
However, if I find a surface lode in a mountainside, if it is on public access land I will quote the 1693 Act, I am a subject of the Crown. If it is on private access land, or private non access land, I will of course need the consent of the landowner for anything more than geological sampling. A sheep farmer in Wales would be delighted to be informed he or she has a gold lode under the grass or hidden behind a waterfall. How grateful though? The farmer wouldn?t own the gold of course, but he couldn?t chuck me off access land, only non access land. I?d advise the farmer to keep the discovery a secret between us to avoid a gold rush, and share the profits if the Crown didn?t pay up. Foreigners need not rely on this freedom to dig though! Is this the last remaining sliver of British freedom a man, or woman can rely upon?
The press probably wouldn?t touch this story, too many feathers would be ruffled. And if some bright spark started digging, he might be digging his own way out of a job, the government might tie up loose ends and repeal the 1693 Act. I?ll save it for my book then.
I raised these questions on another forum last year, before I?d put all of the pieces together, and some members there were very interested and supportive. But several, including the site admin were very defensive, as if I was revealing too much. Many of those who have managed to keep their little stream or burn to themselves or can?t get out as much as they would like sometimes get jealous and don?t want newcomers. Freedom of information to all I say. In reality, very few people these days can have the time, determination or funds to seriously treasure hunt or prospect in more remote areas, especially in all weathers. When I see someone new on the river I wish them luck and give them lots of good tips. Usually they give up after a few hours or days, but last year one musclebound local forestry worker dug a massive hole between a group of large boulders about 200 yards downstream of me. Nothing wrong with a nice clear pool in the middle of the river for fish to rest in, but the authorities weren?t amused, as it was rather obvious evidence that quite a lot of silt must have been disturbed. He got about one ounce over about three months, and good luck to him. But guess what, the authorities tried to blame me for my friend?s work, he turned from poacher to gamekeeper to keep his job and has been scaring others away since then. I?ve got a reporter at a local paper looking into the background to these events, especially the official mopic approach. So I wouldn?t recommend anyone going up there with rose tinted safety glasses just yet. Still, it is nice to potentially have the entire river system in North Wales to myself for the spring and summer.


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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2011, 09:23:55 am »
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Hi brian it's good to see ya makin headway on this one , thanks for the info

john

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Offline WaulespanTopic starter
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2011, 10:02:32 am »
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Thanks John, I'm glad it makes sense, if it didn't I'd be sure of a puzzled reaction

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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2011, 10:27:09 am »
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Quote:Posted by Waulespan
Thanks John, I'm glad it makes sense, if it didn't I'd be sure of a puzzled reaction


Actually, if it didn't make sense we'd find you a lifetime position in a government agency somewhere in the world.

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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2011, 10:36:34 am »
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Nice compliment Aggie. I used to be a deputy Chief Executive of a national charity, where I learned that government rules can often be used to hold them to account. Anyhow, do you think I'm giving too much away here? Research is often inspired for me by the process of typing at speed, trying to put all of the puzzles together. Sometimes it is like mixing lego, chess, jigsaws and skittles together.

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« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2011, 10:52:29 am »
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Actually, no, I don't think you're giving too much away.  Part of the purpose of this forum is to promote and protect the hobby.   What you are doing and writing appears to fit that purpose well.

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