A gold mine in rural Montana has witnessed tensions rising between a private militia and the federal government over the course of this month. The owners of the White Hope Mine recently sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service warning them to keep their employees off the mine’s claimed property.

“Anyone entering onto the White Hope Mine, without previous coordination, will be charged” and arrested, according to the letter, which is also part of the court record.

“At no time will weapons be allowed onto White Hope Mining Claim,” the letter stated.

Ironically, despite the “no weapons” statement, armed militia members are on the White Hope Mine Claim. They were hired by the mine owners to “protect” their land. The federal government however, seems to be fighting back.

From Talking Points Memo:

U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter filed a civil suit Tuesday in federal court in Helena, Montana against George Kornec and Phil Nappo, owners of the White Hope Mine near Lincoln, Montana. The suit alleged the miners opened a road, built a garage and cut down trees on their mining claim without authorization, stored another individual’s explosives on the site, and illegally turned members of the public away from the land by locking the gates to the property shut and posting no-trespassing signs.

The suit also highlights that the defendants are working in concert with the Oath Keepers, a group of current and former U.S. military and law enforcement who claim to uphold the Constitution.

The militia groups stated that they are determined to keep the lands free from a government presence.

“We are committed to securing the mine site of George Kornec and Phil Nappo, owners of Intermountain Mining LLC, which was requested due to threats to their mining venture,” they stated. “There is a dispute between the actions taken by the United States Forest Service and the miners. Our goal has been and will continue to be to secure that area from threats until a legal action takes place within the court system.”