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BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

Rules and regulations for the working of gold mines. Issued in conformity with the Gold Fields Act, 1859 British Columbia. Governor (1858-1864 : Douglas) 1859

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TXTHEREAS, it is provided by the Gold Fields Act,   1859, that the  Governor for the time being, of British
Columbia, may, by writing under his hand and the Public Seal of the Colony, make Rules and Regulations in the nature of by-laws, for all matters relating to Mining.     Now, therefore, I JAMES DOUGLAS,
Governor, &c., do hereby make the following Rules and Regulations, accordingly :—
I. In the construction of the following Rules and
Regulations, unless there be some contrariety, or
repugnancy thereto in the context, the words " Governor," " Gold Commissioner," " Mine," " to mine,"
shall have the same meanings as in the Gold Fields
Act, 1859. The expression "Bar diggings" shall mean
every mine over which a river extends when in its
most flooded state. " Dry diggings" shall mean any
mine over which a river never extends. " Ravines"
shall include water courses whether usually containing
water or usually dry. " Ditch" shall include a flume
or race, or other artificial means for conducting water
by its own weight into or upon a mine. " Ditch head"
shall mean the point in a natural water course or lake,
where water is first taken into a ditch. And words in
the singular number shall include the plural, and the
masculine gender shall include the feminine.
II. All claims are to be as nearly as may be, in
rectangular forms, and marked by four pegs at the
least, each peg to be four inches square at the least,
and one foot above the surface, and firmly fixed in the
ground. No boundary peg shall be concealed or
moved, or injured, without the previous permission of
the Gold Commissioner.
III. The size of a claim, when not otherwise established by a by-law, shall be, for bar diggings, a strip
of land twenty-five feet wide at the mark to which the
river rises when flooded, and thence extending down
direct into the river indefinitely. For dry diggings, a
space twenty-five feet by thirty feet. For ravine diggings, a space of twenty-five feet along the bank of
the ravine and extending up to the top of each bank.
In quartz claims the size, when not otherwise established by by-law, shall be one hundred feet in
length, measured along the vein or seam, with
power to the miner to follow the vein or seam and
its spurs, dips, and angles, any where on or below
the surface included between the two extremities
of such length of one hundred feet, but not to advance
upon or beneath the surface of the earth more than
one hundred feet in a lateral direction from the main
vein or seam, along which the claim is to be measured.
All measurements of area are to be made on the surface of the earth, neglecting inequalities. Every claim
is to have a distinguishing number marked on its
boundary pegs.
IV. If any Free Miners, or party of Free Miners,
shall discover a new mine, and such discovery shall be
established to the satisfaction of the Gold Commissioner, the first discoverer or party of discoverers, if
not more than two in number, shall be entitled to a
claim double the established size of claims in the
nearest mine of the same description, (i.e. dry, bar, or
quartz diggings.) If such party consist of three men,
they shall collectively be entitled to five claims of the
established size, on such nearest mine, and if of four
or more men, such party shall be entitled to a claim
and a half per man. A new stratum of auriferous
earth or rock, situate in a locality where the claims are
abandoned, shall for this purpose be deemed a new
mine, although the same locality shall previously have
been worked at a different level. And dry diggings dit -
covered in the neighbourhood of bar diggings shall be
deemed a new mine, and vice versa.
V. The registration of claims shall be in such manner and form as the Gold Commissioner shall in any
locality direct, and shall include, besides the matters
mentioned in the Gold Fields Act of 1859, all such
other matters as the Gold Commissioner shall think fit
to include.
VI. No transfer of any claim or of any interest
therein, shall be enforceable, unless the same, or some
memorandum thereof, shall be in writing, signed by
the party sought to be charged, or by his lawfully
authorized agent, and registered with the Gold Commissioner.
VII. Any person desiring any exclusive ditch or
water privilege, shall make application to the Gold
Commissioner having jurisdiction for the place where
the same shall be situated, stating for the guidance of
the Commissioner in estimating the character of the
application, the name of every applicant, the proposed
ditch head, and quantity of water, the proposed locality of distribution, and if such water shall be for
sale, the price at which it is proposed to sell the same,
the general nature of the work to be done, and the
time within which such work shall be complete; and
the Gold Commissioner shall enter a note of all such
matters as of record.
VIII. Unless otherwise specially arranged, the rent to
be paid for any water privilege shall be in each month
one average day's receipts, from the sale thereof, to be
estimated by the Gold Commissioner with the assistance,  if he shall so think  fit,  of a jury.
IX. If any person shall refuse or neglect to take
within the time mentioned in his application, or within
such further time (if any) as the Gold Commissioner
may, in his discretion, think fit to grant for the completion of the ditch the whole of the water applied for,
he shall, at the end of the time mentioned in his
application, be deemed entitled only to the quantity
actually taken by him, and the Gold Commissioner
shall make such entry in the register as shall be proper
to mark such alteration in the quantity, and may grant
the surplus to any other person according to the rules
herein laid down for the granting of water privileges.
X. Every owner of a ditch or water privilege shall
be bound to take all reasonable means for utilizing the
water granted .to' and taken by him. And if any such
owner shall wilfully take and Waste any unreasonable
quantity of water, he shall be charged with the full rent as
if he had sold the same at a full price. And it shall be lawful for the Gold Commissioner, if such offence be persisted in, to declare  all rights to the water forfeited. XI. It shall be lawful for the owner of any ditch
or water privilege to sell and distribute the water conveyed by him to such persons, and on such terms as
they may deem advisable, within the limits mentioned
in their application.' Provided always that the owner
of any ditch or water privilege shall be bound to supply iwater to all applicants, being Free Miners, in a fair
proportion, and shall not demand more from one person
than from another, except whin the difficulty of supply ii enhanced. Provided further, that no person,
not being a Free Miner, shall be entitled to demand to
be s applied with water at all.
XII. A claim on any mine shall, until otherwise ordered by some valid by-law, be deemed to be abandoned,
and open to the occupation of any Free Miner, when
the same shall have remained unworked by some registered holder thereof for.the space of seventy-two hours,
unless in case of sickness, or unless before the expiry
of such seventy-two hours, a further extension of
tine be granted by the Gold Commissioner, who
may grant further time for enabling parties to go
prospecting, or for such other reasonable cause as
he may t'nink proper. Sundays', and such holidays as the Gold Commissioner may think fit to proclaim, are to be omitted in reckoning the time of non-
XIII. Whenever it shall be intended, in forming or
upholding any ditch, to enter upon and to occupy any
part of a registered claim, or to dig or loosen any earth
or rock within [4] feet of any ditch not belonging
solely to the registered owner of such claim, three days'
notice, in writing, of such intention, shall be given, before entering or approaching within four feet of such
other property.
XIV. If the owner of the property about to be so
entered upon or approached shall consider three days'
notice insufficient for taking proper measures of precaution, or if any dispute shall arise between the parties as to the proper precautionary measures to be
taken, or in any other respect, the whole matter shall
be immediately referred to the Gold Commissioner acting in the district, who shall order such interval of time
to'be observed before entry, or make such other order
as he shall deem proper.
XV. In quartz claims and reefs each successive
claimant shall leave three feet unworked to form a boundary wall between his claim and that of the last previous claimant, and shall stake off his claim accordingly, not commencing at the boundary peg of the last
previous claim, but three feet further on ; and if any
person shall stake out his claim, disregarding this rule,
the Gold Commissioner shall have power to come and
remove the first boundary peg of such wrong-doer
three feet further on, notwithstanding that other claims
hiay then be properly staked out beyond him : so that
such wrong-doer shall then have but ninety-seven feet.
And if such wrong-doer shall have commenced work
immediately at the boundary peg of the last previous
claim, the Gold Commissioner may remove his boundary six feet further on than the Open work of such
wrong-doer; and all such open work, and also the
next three feet of such space of six feet shall belong
to and form part of the last previous claim, and the
residue of such space of six feet shall be left as a
boundary Wall.
XVI. Every such boundary wall shall be deemed the
joint property of the owners of the two claims between
which it stands, and may not be worked or injured,
save by the consent of both such owners.
XVIL In staking out plots of land for Free Miners
and traders for gardening and residential purposes, under the powers in the said Gold Fields Act, 1859, contained, the Gold Commissioner is to keep in view the
general interests of all the miners in that locality, the
general principle being that every garden benefits indirectly the whole locality, and also that the earlier application is to be preferred; but where the eligible
spots of land are few, or of scanty dimensions, and
especially where they are themselves auriferous, it may
be injudicious that the whole or the greater part should
fall into the hands of one or two persons ; and therefore, in such cases, the Gold Commissioner may, in the
exercise of his discretion, allot small plots only to each
XVIII. Any person desiring to acquire any water
privilege shall be bound to respect the rights of p irties
using the same water, at a point,.below, the place where
the person desiring such new privilege intends to use it.
XIX. Any person desiring to bridge across any
stream or claim or other place for any purpose or to
mine under or through any ditch or flume, or. to -Carry
water through or over any land already occupied by
any other person may be enabled to do so in proper
cases, with the sanction of the Gold Commissioner.
In all such cases the right of the party first in possession whether of the mine or of the water privilege is to
prevail, so as to entitle him to full compensation and
indemnity. But wherever due compensation by indemnity can be given, and is required, the Gold Commissioner may sanction the execution of such new work on
such terms as he shall think reasonable.
XX. Applications for leases are to be sent in
triplicate to the Gold Commissioner having jurisdiction
for the locality where the land desired to be taken is
situated. Every such application shall contain the
name and additions of the applicant at full length, and
the names and addresses of two persons residing in
the Colony of British Columbia, or Vancouver Island,
to whom the applicant is personally known. Also, a
description accompanied by a map of the land proposed to be taken.
XXI. Leases will not be granted in general for a
longer term than ten years, or for a larger space than
ten acres of alluvial soil (dry diggings), or half a mile
in length of unworked. quartz reef, or a mile and a
half in length of quartz, that shall have been attempted
and abandoned by individual claim workers, with
liberty to follow the spurs, dips, and angles, on and
within the surface, for two hundred feet on each side
of the main lead or seam, or, in bar diggings, half a
mile in length (if unworked), along the high water
mark, or a mile and a half in length along high watef'
mark, where the same shall have been attempted and
abandoned by individual claim workers.
XXII. Leases as above, will not in general be
granted of any land, alluvium, or quartz, which shall
be considered to be immediately available for being
worked by Free Miners, as holders of individual
claims. Nor will such a lease in any case be granted,
where individual Free Miners are in previous actual occupation of any part of the premises unless by their consen',
XXIII. Every such lease shall contain]all reasonable
provisions for securing to the public rights of way and
water, save in so far as shall be necessary for the
miner-like working of the premises thereby demised,
and also for preventing damage to the persons or property of other parties than the lessee. And the premises thereby demised shall be granted for mining
purposes only, and it shall not be competent for the
lessee to assign or sub-let the same, or any part of
parts thereof without the previous license in writing
of the Gold Commissioner. And every such lease shall
contain a covenant by the lessee to mine the' said
premises in a miner-like way, and also, if it shall be
thought fit, to perform the works therein defined within
a time therein limited. And also a clause by virtue
whereof the said lease and the demise therein contained
may be avoided in case the lessee shall refuse or neglect
to observe and perform all or any of the covenants
therein  contained.
XXIV. Every applicant for a lease, shall at the time
of sending in his application, mark out the ground
comprised in the application, by square posts firtnly
rv.--.-^-...-. fixed in the boundaries of the land, and four feet
above the surface, with a notice thereon that such land
has been applied for, stating when and by whom, and
shall also fix upon a similar post at each of the nearest
places on which miners are at work, a copy of such
XXV. Objections to the granting of any such
lease shall be made in writing, addressed to His
Excellency the Governor, under cover to the Gold
Commissioner, who shall forward all such objections,
together with his Report thereon.
XXVI. Every application for a lease shall be accompanied by a deposit of twenty-five pounds sterling,
which shall be refunded in case the application shall be
refused by the Government, and if the application shall
be entertained, then such sum of twenty-five pounds,
shall be retained for the use of Her Majesty her heirs
and successors, whether the application be afterwards
abandoned or not.
Issued under the Public Seal of the Colony of British Columbia, at Victoria, Vancouver Island, this seventh
day of. September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine, and in the
twenty-third year of Her Majesty's Reign, by me,
By Command of His Excellency,
William A. G. Young,
Acting Colonial Secretary.


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