If you go for a hike or take a backcountry drive across Arizona’s public lands, you’re sure to see some of the southwest’s most important and beautiful natural resources. But, it’s what you won’t see that might surprise you.
There’s a lot that goes on under the Arizona ground. In fact, the BLM administers approximately 17.5 million subsurface acres, and supervises mineral operations on about 73,000 acres of Native American lands across the state. Additionally, BLM administers both mining claim records and mineral leases on land managed by other federal agencies.
The BLM’s mineral programs can be categorized into three major mineral resource types: locatable, leasable and salable minerals. Locatable minerals include gold, silver, copper and other hard rock minerals. There are more than 40,000 active mining claims recorded on Arizona’s public lands, where exploration and development of these vital assets provides materials found in everything from computers to dental fillings. Arizona’s public lands also provide a good source for salable minerals, such as sand, gravel, stone and clay, permitting over 2 million tons worth over $2 million annually. These minerals are sold to applicants at fair market value. BLM Arizona also provides salable minerals to state, county and municipal highway departments for road construction free of charge.
Mining Claims and Sites on Federal Lands (pdf brochure - 900k)