Discovery sparks Wyoming opal rush

March 10, 2005 at 10:03 AM
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LANDER, Wyo., March 10 (UPI) -- An opal discovery in central Wyoming has spurred a rush to file mining claims.

There were 51 claims filed as of late Tuesday at the Fremont County Courthouse, Margy Irvine, chief deputy county clerk, told the Casper Star-Tribune. Wednesday was relatively quiet, she said.

The Wyoming Geological Survey released details of the discovery Friday, sparking a flurry of claim staking at the site near Riverton on federal and state land.

The deposit has an abundance of common opal, which has little value, but there is also some valuable fiery opal and traces of precious opal, the report said.

There are indications some of the would-be miners may not know how to stake a claim and filing proper plan.

Randy Hutchinson, a member of the Gold Prospectors Association of America, said he ran into three Colorado men at the site Saturday who were planning to rent a backhoe. He told them they needed to file a plan with state and federal officials before digging.

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