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[Mr. Ralph L. Schauss furnished the following relevant information in a statement dated November 17, 1977:)
The federal decision which I refer to at various times during my testimony is MacGuire v. Sturgis, 347 F. Supp. 580 (D. Wyo. 1971). That case was decided on June 3, 1971 by the Honorable Ewing Kerr, United States District Court Judge for Wyoming In that case, Plaintiff requested a declaratory judgment for exclusive possession of certain uranium claim groups in Converse County, Wyoming. After a discussion of the facts, the Court concluded that the Plaintiff was entitled to "the future exclusive possession thereof so long as he, or his successors in title, remain in possession thereof, working diligently toward a discovery." Before stating that conclusion, the Court set forth certain rules to govern the validity of a right to possession of claims on a "group" or "area" basis. That is, his comments wre directed toward the situation where a prospector stakes a group, not only one, uranium claim and was only doing exploration or assessment work on selected claims within that group. The Subcommittee is referred to 584-585 of the Opinion for those rules. The Subcommittee's specific attention is called to subparagraph (e) (page 585] wherein Judge Kerr stated the following to be one of the prerequisites for exclusive possession:
"The nature of the mineral claimed and the cost of development would make it economically impractical develop the mineral if the locator is awarded only those claims on which he is actually present and currently working.”
In other words, Judge Kerr stated that as long as the other prerequisites were present, a locator of mineral could do his exploratory and assessment work as to the "group" of claims and not have to do the $100 assessment work on each individual claim. That position is consistent with reality in wide portions of mineral land in the West.
There is another factor which accounts for the fact that the figures testified to by me, Mr. Gibson, and Mr. Murphy do not add up to $100 per claim for assessment work. In addition to my reliance upon the decision of Judge Kerr as described previously, I was familiar with the "resumption” theory existing under 30 U.S.C. § 28 (fourth sentence) and Wyoming mining law. It was and is my understanding that under this theory a claim owner who fails to perform assessment work for one or more assessment years and who resumes assessment work before there is relocation by another, is protected in his claim ownership as though no failure to do assessment work had ever occurred. For example, I had a circular published by the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Circular No. 1278 entitled ''Information in Regard to Mining Claims on the Public Domain.” Paragraph 12, page 2, of that circular reads, in part:
"Failure to perform the assessment work for any year will subject the claim to relocation unless work for the benefit of the claim is resumed before a relocation is made. The determination of the question of the right of possession between the rival or adverse claimant to the same mineral land is committed exclusive to the Court."
This understanding of the “resumption" theory is well-known among prospectors and developers in Wyoming.