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Who can own a mining claim?
person who is a citizen of the United States or has declared an
intention to become a citizen with the Immigration and Naturalization
Service may locate and hold a mining claim or site. A corporation
organized under State law is considered a citizen and may locate and
hold a mining claim or site. A corporation is held to the same
standards as a citizen. Non-citizens are not permitted to own or have
an interest in mining claims or sites. There is no limit to the number
of claims and sites that you may hold as a qualified claimant, as long
as the requirements of the General Mining Law have been met.
Q. What is a mining claim?
mining claim is a selected parcel of Federal land, valuable for a
specific mineral deposit or deposits, for which you have asserted a
right of possession under the General Mining Law. Your right is
restricted to the development and extraction of a mineral deposit. The
rights granted by a mining claim protect against a challenge by the
United States and other claimants only after the discovery of a
valuable mineral deposit. The two types of mining claims are lode and placer. In addition,
mill sites and tunnel sites may be located to provide support
facilities for lode and placer mining claims.
What are the differences between a lode claim and a placer claim?
Claims cover classic veins or lodes having well-defined
boundaries and also include other rock in-place bearing valuable mineral deposits. Examples include quartz or other veins
bearing gold or other metallic mineral deposits and large volume, but low-grade disseminated metallic deposits, such as
Carlin-type gold deposits and copper-bearing granites. Lode claims
are usually located as parallelograms with the side lines parallel to
the vein or lode (see Figure). Descriptions are by metes and
bounds surveys (giving the length and compass bearing of each boundary
line from a central point
or monument to each corner post, and then sequentially around the
perimeter of the claim). Federal statute limits a lode claim to a
maximum of 1,500’ in length along the vein or lode. The width
a maximum of 600’, 300’ on either side of the
the vein or lode. The end lines of the lode claim must be parallel to
qualify for underground extralateral rights. Extralateral rights
involve the rights to minerals in vein or lode form that extend at
depth outside the vertical boundaries of the claim.
all those deposits not subject to lode claims. Originally, placer
claims included only deposits of mineral-bearing sand and gravel
containing free gold or other detrital minerals. By congressional acts
and judicial interpretations, many nonmetallic bedded or layered
deposits, such as gypsum and high- calcium limestone, are located as
placer claims. Where possible, placer claims are to be located by legal
maximum size of a placer claim you may locate is 20 acres. An
association of two locators may locate 40 acres, and three may locate
60 acres, etc. The maximum area of an association placer claim
permitted by law is 160 acres for eight or more persons. The maximum
size of a placer claim for a corporation is 20 acres per claim.
Corporations may not locate association placer claims unless they are
in association with other private individuals or other corporations as
co-locators. The key word here is locators. We have an association of 8
persons that have, in most cases, located 160 acre claims.
Can I build a house on the property?
No. This is for mining purposes only. The US Gov't owns the land,
you will be deeded the "placer mineral rights". You may not construct
permanent structures, mobile structures, or store equipment without the
prior approval of an authorized Federal official. Intermittent or
casual mineral exploration and development do not normally justify the
use of such structures.
What does it take to change from an
Unpatented Claim to a Patented Mining Claim?
October 1, 1994, the BLM has been prohibited by Acts of Congress from
accepting any new mineral patent applications. The moratorium has been
renewed annually through the various Interior Appropriations Acts. It
is unknown how long this moratorium will continue.
Can I keep all of the gold that I
A. Yes. Additionally, there are no royalties due to the US Gov't as on
some other claim types.
How long can I camp on the property?
A. 14 consecutive days in the same spot if camping. If you are mining,
there are other conditions that apply. Please check with the BLM here.
Is there water, electric, or gas
A. No water, no electric, no gas, need to bring your own....
Can you provide proof that you own
A. Yes, upon request.
Have you personally found gold in
A. Yes. I have recovered several very nice nuggets using my metal
detector. Not all areas are going to produce the same.
Why are you selling this claim?
A. Because we have several others, more than we can mine in ten
What does it cost each year to
maintain a mining claim?
A. Either a one time $10.00 fee for filing a waiver with the BLM...if
you qualify for the "small miners exemption", plus the recording fee at
the county where the claim is located, which is about $10-14.
pay an annual maintenance fee to the BLM of $140.00.
in an "affidavit of assessment work". See specific details from the BLM
web site here.
How long can I keep the claim?
A. Forever, so long as you follow the maintenance requirements.
Are there taxes on mining claims?
A. Not in Arizona. California has taxes on mining claims.
Are others allowed to mine on
this property or is the claim owner the only one allowed to mine and
And can I 'rent' the claim' to others?
A. Yes, the mineral rights will be exclusively yours. No one may
legally remove minerals from the claim, without your permisson. Yes,
your interest is in "real property", so you may lease, rent, sell,
inherit, will etc.
What if I find a vein in solid rock,
A. You could file what is known as a 'lode' claim to
interests. (see section above)
Q. I thought that the BLM
limited the filing of mining claims to 20 acres per person, how can you
sell a 160
acre claim, do you need 8 people named on the quitclaim deed?
A. Actually the 20 acre rule applies to the
the claim. A company or corporation that files a mining claim is
limited to 20 acres per claim. Once recorded, the original
locators may transfer their
interest in the claim to other individuals. The BLM generally expects
that, for example, if 5 persons originally locate a mining
they must transfer their interest to 5 persons. You may do the same if
gift a family member, or sell the claim to other's.
Portions of this page copied from BLM sources