Terry Platts is a hard rock miner in Idaho's Smoky Mountains. He describes his mill, one of the few left standing in the United States.
"The 1872 mining laws were written primarily in favor of the miner. To a miner it's like the Bill of Rights."
"The Forest Service has consequently installed all of these rules and regulations that supersede the 1872 mining law. So today the mining laws may be in the background and may allow you to mine, and may allow you to do certain things, but you’re still under the strict control of the Forest Service and the mineral division of the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management."
"If I’d taken up golf, I probably would have been dollars ahead. But you do what’s in your blood, and what you love, and what you care about. And we certainly have a love affair of the country, and we have a love affair of what we’re doing here."
"Small mining is just about extinct. It takes a big mining company, it takes a lot of money, to follow the new rules that they have. As far as hard rock and other types of mining like this, we are definitely a breed that’s almost done."