|FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
In 1872, The United States Government granted any citizen the right to
explore, locate and claim certain rights upon public lands. An Un-patented
mining claim is a particular parcel of Federal land, valuable for a specific
mineral deposit or deposits. It is a parcel for which an individual has
asserted a right of possession. The right is restricted to the extraction and
development of a mineral deposit. The rights granted by a mining claim are
valid against a challenge by the United States and other claimants only after
the discovery of a valuable mineral deposit.
With a Unpatented Claim: You are leasing, from the government, the right to
extract minerals. No land ownership is conveyed.
What is a Patented mining claim?
The original mining law gave miners the opportunity to obtain patents
(deeds from the government), much as farmers could obtain title under the
Homestead Act. A patented mining claim is one for which the Federal
Government has passed its title to the claimant, making it private land. A
mineral patent gives the owner exclusive title to the locatable minerals. It
also gives the owner title to the surface and other resources. This means:
You own the Land as well as the minerals.
Who may locate a mining claim?
Any citizen of the United States, a minor who has reached the age of
discretion, a corporation, and non-citizens (aliens) who have declared their
intention to become a citizen. (43 CFR 3832.1)
What types of claims/sites are there?
Placer- All deposits, other than lodes. These include placer deposits of sand
and gravel containing free gold and other minerals. Placer claims are
located by legal subdivision. An individual may locate up to 20 acres with a
maximum of 160 contiguous acres with 8 or more people (an association). A
corporation is consider a single locator. (43 CFR 3842) - A classic vein,
ledge, or other rock in place between definite walls. A lode claim is located
by metes and bounds. The maximum length is 1,500 feet by 600 feet. (43
What are the governing laws for a mining claim?
In 1872, congress passed the General Mining Law which stated that all
un-appropriated lands were open to entry and purchase. In the ensuing 130
years it has been amended by acts of congress and interpreted by
countless court decisions but is largely intact. Currently ores of metallic
elements and uncommon varieties of non metallic deposits are available for
entry and purchase under that act. Mining claims are located; therefore the
term "locatable" mineral.
What type of other permits are there?
The District Ranger may require you file an NOI (Notice of Intent) and/or a
PoO (Plan of Operation). On June 6, 2005 the U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
published its Final Rule on Section 228.4 in the Federal Register. Section
228.4 regards when it is necessary for a miner or prospector to submit a
Notice of Intent (NOI) or Plan of Operation (PoO) with the USFS.
What Activities are Exempt from the permit requirements?
Recreational mining, such as gold panning and mineral collecting that make
use of hand-held equipment such as picks, shovels, gold pans, sluice
boxes, or metal detectors is exempt from permit requirements. A mine permit
is required for portable dredges or other mechanized equipment.
Do I need a permit to dredge my mining claim?
A permit is also required for dredging. You can obtain a suction dredging
permit from any county office of were the mining claim is located. From the
Department of Fish and Game. Dredging is permitted Only for those
persons actually operating the nozzle of a suction dredge within an active
waterway during the suction dredge season.
What must I do to maintain my mining claim (s)?
Once a claim/site is serialized, an annual filing must be made on or before
September 1, of each year to maintain the claim/site. If you have more than
10 claims, you must pay the $140 maintenance fee. If you have 10 or fewer
claims/sites, you may choose to file either the maintenance fee payment or
file the Maintenance Fee Waiver certification (a.k.a. small miners waiver). If
you choose to file a small miners waiver, then you must also perform $100
worth of labor or improvements on all placers or lode claims during the
assessment year (September 1, noon through September 1, noon). An
Assessment Work Notice (Proof of Labor) form must be filed on or before
December 30, along with the $10 filing fee per claim. For mill/tunnel sites, a
Notice of Intent to Hold must be filed on or before December 30, along with
the $10 filing fee per site. (43 CFR 3833.1-5 and 43 CFR 3833.1-6)
What is a small miners waiver?
A small miners waiver is short for maintenance fee payment waiver
certification. A small miners waiver may be filed by those claimants holding
10 or fewer claims/sites, instead of paying the $140 maintenance fee by
September 1, of each year. If you choose to file a small miners wavier you
must also perform assessment work and file an assessment work notice by
December 30, of each year. (43 CFR 3833.1-6)
What qualifies as assessment work?
Some of the activities that qualify for assessment work are construction and
maintenance of access roads, development drilling and sampling, and
buildings that benefit the claim. For more information about what qualifies as
assessment work please contact your local BLM office.
Are there any County Recorder Filing requirements?
In addition to filing with the BLM, file a 2009-2010 Affidavit of Assessment
Work (Proof of Labor form) or Notice of Intent to Hold with the county
recorder's office. The location of this office will always be in the County Seat
of the county in which your claims are situated.
NOTE: If you paid the MAINTENANCE FEE rather than filing a SMALL
MINER'S WAIVER, indicate on your county filing that you have paid the 2010
Maintenance Fee to the BLM and the date on which you paid.
Are there any county taxes due in order to keep my mining claim active?
Annual taxes are due and payable, in States where applicable, to the Tax
Collectors Office by the end of August. Typically, they will send you an
assessment on your property(ies) in the spring followed by a bill they will
send to you in July each year. If you don't hear from them, it is still your
responsibility as the claimant to be aware of your possible tax liabilities each
year, contact the Tax Collectors office, and meet your annual tax
requirements. Your annual taxes are based on their total dollar assessment
of your property(ies) for which they charge you approximately 1% in taxes.
Note to the reader; We strongly recommend that information regarding
mining claims be acquired directly from the BLM. We here at sunset Valley
Mining Company make every effort to provide accurate and complete
information. Sunset Valley Mining Company provides no warranty,
expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of