Treasure license issued for Oak Island dig
By Adam Jacobs
Lunenburg Progress Enterprise, October 22, 2007
OAK ISLAND — After waiting more than a year, Dan Blankenship and his partners can once again begin digging for the elusive Oak Island treasure.
In April of last year a group from Michigan bought a portion of Oak Island from Mr. Blankenship’s long-time partner, David Tobias. Since that time, Mr. Blankenship and the new owners — who own about 78 per cent of the island — have been trying to secure a treasure trove licence, allowing them to legally dig for and keep whatever treasure they find. And the new partnership is wasting no time.
“We’re starting as soon as we can,” Mr. Blankenship said. “It depends on getting available equipment. Right now the drillers around here are all busy. That’s what we’re working on.” He added part of the holdup was the licence was invested in a Nova Scotia company with vested interests in Delaware, making it difficult to acquire.
“We had to hire lawyers out of Delaware and get over that hurdle,” he said. “We had to close out that company … but at least it’s finally done and at last we finally have it.”
Rick Ratcliffe, registrar for the Department of Natural Resources, confirmed the licence has, indeed, changed hands. “For that to have happened the request of transfer had to be made by, in this case, the previous owners,” he said. “Once that is done it has to be approved by the minister. In this case that has already happened.”
The licence, now held by Mr. Blankenship, is valid until July 2, 2008. Licences are generally granted in five-year periods. At that time, should he wish to renew, he would have to apply for a successor licence, in essence, a continuation licence to allow him to continue digging.
However, there is no guarantee the province will grant a successor licence. In this case, though, the odds are strongly in favour of the licence being renewed.
Mr. Ratcliffe explained under normal circumstances the person looking to acquire the licence must have permission from the landowner to dig the property.
Because Mr. Blankenship and the group from Michigan own the land they’re digging, they have the option to grant or deny the request of other interested persons.
Before a successor licence can be granted, it must be approved by the provincial cabinet. Little is yet known about the group from Michigan who bought out Mr. Tobias, other than to say it’s a group of oil and gas moguls.
Mr. Blankenship began his hunt for the Oak Island treasure in 1965. In the past four decades he has found artifacts and groundwork he believes are key to unlocking the island’s secrets. “I’ve been on record for a quite a few years. If I’m right as to what was done on Oak Island, nobody has come close to what the real story is.”