Plumas County Review Casts Doubt on Mining Rights for Engels-Superior Mines


Plumas County recently commissioned an independent review of vested mining rights for the Engels-Superior Mines, situated in the county. Best Best & Krieger LLP (BBK), a prominent law firm, undertook this investigation, posting its findings in a detailed memorandum on April 15, 2024.

The memorandum addresses a request by California-Engels Mining Company (owner) and US Copper Corp (applicant). This request pertains to the Engels Mine and Superior Mine located in Indian Valley on the Feather River watershed.

The memorandum, accessible on the Plumas County Zoning Administrator website, illuminates the historical context and legal intricacies surrounding the mining operations. It discusses five determinations sought by the applicant, including the mining history, vesting date, extent of mining, continuity of mining rights, and intent to continue mining.

While the review acknowledges evidence supporting certain aspects of the requested determinations, it also raises concerns about gaps in proof, particularly regarding the continuity of mining rights and the intent to continue mining. BBK’s analysis suggests insufficient evidence to establish vested rights for the Engels-Superior Mines, posing a significant challenge to US Copper Corp’s mining aspirations.

This development signifies a setback for US Copper Corp, a Toronto-based company, as it potentially lacks the legal basis to sustain mining activities on the property. Without vested rights, the company may encounter hurdles in obtaining permits or negotiating agreements to continue operations. Alternatively, it might need to explore alternative locations for its mining endeavors.

The memorandum’s release marks a crucial moment in the ongoing debate over mining rights in Plumas County. It has implications for the mining industry and environmental conservation efforts. As stakeholders assess the findings, the future of mining in the Engels-Superior Mines hangs in the balance.

Per Planning Director Tracey Ferguson, The request to determine vested mining rights for the Engels-Superior Mines is scheduled to go back before the Plumas County Zoning.