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United States v. Pittsburgh Pacific Co.
United States Interior Board of Land Appeals
30 I.B.L.A. 388, 84 I.D. 282 (1977)
Pittsburgh Pacific Company (Pittsburgh) (defendant) applied for a mineral patent for 12 20-acre lode mining claims located within the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota. Pittsburgh claimed to have discovered 160 million tons of low-grade iron ore and intended to mine 96 million tons under a plan of operations that was predicted to involve over one-half billion dollars in gross revenue. The Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture requested that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (plaintiff) file a contest complaint against Pittsburgh’s patent application, arguing that there had been no discovery of valuable mineral deposits and the claims were invalid. The BLM filed the complaint, alleging that Pittsburgh had not proved its discovery of valuable deposits and that there were errors in the geological and economic analysis Pittsburgh performed. The BLM argued that Pittsburgh did not prove there was a sufficient water supply for the operations, that Pittsburgh did not prove that it could acquire the requisite acreage for the anticipated construction at a reasonable price, that Pittsburgh did not have adequate financing, that Pittsburgh had not properly estimated labor costs, and that Pittsburgh had not accurately calculated the expenses of complying with environmental-protection laws. The administrative-law judge (ALJ) dismissed the contest proceeding. The BLM appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Goss, J.)
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