The Full Story
Mining Claim FAQ
This page is dedicated to providing the answers to the most commonly asked questions we receive from perspective buyers.
Where should a Federal unpatented mining claim be on record?
As a basic precautionary standard, the seller of a Federal unpatented mining claim should provide you with an official BLM claim serial number and proof that the mining claim has been properly recorded in the county and with the BLM. Mining claims that are not recorded with the BLM do not give you any rights to federal minerals. Federal unpatented mining claims may be either active or closed on BLM records. A closed mining claim gives you no rights.
If a seller cannot provide an active Federal claim number and proof of County recording -
Is a Federal
unpatented mining claim property?
Yes – An unpatented mining claim is a unique form of property. Your right to the property is restricted to exploration, development and extraction of a mineral deposit at the site. The surface of almost all unpatented mining claims is not private property; the ownership and management of the surface and surface resources remains with the United States.
Can I construct buildings on my claim?
Yes – but with limits. Federal unpatented mining claims only give you rights to the location’s minerals. Surface disturbance such as construction of a building, road, fence or enclosure necessary for mining must be authorized
by the BLM or Forest Service before you start constructing anything. There may be penalties for beginning work without prior approval.
Can I camp on my claim?
Yes – Recreational camping is usually allowed on public lands; you can camp if the area is open to camping. As a mining claimant, you may have the right for extended occupancy on public lands if it is approved by federal land managers. Check with the local BLM or Forest Service office for specific regulations if your mining operation will require you to camp for an extended period of time or occupy an area closed to camping.
How can I determine whether I need a mining permit or not?
The Forest Service does not issue “permits” for mineral-related activities; however, authorization in a plan of operations is needed for some operations. A plan of operations is required for all mining activities that will create a significant disturbance on National Forest System Lands. Gold panning and work with hand tools usually does not require a plan. This is based on the assumption that in most cases significant resource damage will not occur when only hand-held, non-motorized equipment is used.
Can I post private property signs on my claim?
No – a mining claim absolutely does not give you any rights to exclude public
land users from the land.
The public has the conditional
right to cross mining claims or sites for recreational and other purposes and to access federal lands beyond the claim boundaries.
The public may not interfere with exploration or mining activities. Activities that require fencing or the exclusion of the public for legitimate safety reasons may be approved by agencies like the BLM, the Forest Service, the Mine Safety and Health Administration or state mine safety agencies.
How do I find out what I can do on my claim?
If your claim is on BLM-managed lands, you can find
out what you can and can’t do in the regulations in 43 CFR 3715 and 3809. If your mining claim is on Forest Service land, you can find more information in the regulations in 36 CFR 228 Part A.
Most federal agencies have regulations to protect the surface resources of federal lands during exploration and mining activities. You must submit a notice or plan of operations before conducting surface-disturbing activities, except casual- use activities. You must also reclaim disturbed sites after you complete exploration and mining.
You may need to contact other management agencies for additional regulations. State and local governments may have mining and reclamation requirements, as well. You should check with all federal, state and local agencies for complete regulations. We advise mining claimants to be fully informed of all regulations regarding their mining claim.
If the claim is so good why wouldn't you mine it yourself and not sell it?
The mining industry covers an extremely wide spectrum of jobs and careers. From exploration to mining, reclamation, and everywhere in between.
Luckily Gunnison Gold Prospecting has been fortunate to work strictly on the exploration side of the mining industry as that is where our unique skill set and knowledge is best applied.
In short, our skill set is best utilized on the exploration side of the mining industry and we just plain enjoy prospecting more than anything else.