Minerals Program

Minerals Program

With BLM's unique mandate of multiple use, management of the lands is based on balancing the use of lands and resources to obtain an ecologically sound environment, contribute to the mineral and energy needs of a strong economy, and provide a reasonable return to the federal treasury for the use of government lands and resources.

Although the BLM manages 12 percent of Colorado's surface lands, it manages 42 percent of the mineral estate.

The BLM minerals program consists of administrative processing and field work aspects associated with offering minerals for public use, including mining and reclamation plan review, environmental assessment, cost recovery, appraisals, trespass, inspection and enforcement/production verification (I&E/PV).  Active pits are regularly inspected for compliance with the approved mining and reclamation plan.  Production verification is performed to ensure the mined tonnage is reported correctly for royalty payment.  Periodic appraisals are conducted to determine royalty values for different mineral materials. Record keeping and disposal actions include LR2000 entry, case file documentation, and updating MIS for the units of accomplishments.  


Exploration Drill Rig

 


Mineral Development

Mineral development is an important land use within BLM's multiple-use program.  Mineral productin on public land in Colorado involves three distinct categories: locatable, leasable, and salable minerals.

Locatable Minerals
Locatable minerals are solid minerals such as gold, silver, molybdenum, uranium and uncommon varieties of some other minerals.  The minerals are developed and managed as federal unpatented mining claims and sites.

Leasable Minerals
Minerals used for energy are commonly called "energy leasables," which include oil and gas, oil shale, coal and geothermal. These resources are available for development through our mineral leasing program. Leases are issued for specific periods of time, and the lessee pays a rental fee and royalties on the minerals produced. 

In addition, certain other solid minerals available on public land, or "non-energy leasables", including sodium, potassium, potash, trona, and phosphate are available for development through the leasing program. The majority of the minerals leased under this program are developed to make fertilizer and as feed stock (mineral supplement for livestock). 

Salable Mineral Material
Mineral materials are some of our most basic natural resources, such as sand, gravel, dirt, and rock, used in every day building, and other construction uses. These materials generally are bulky and have low unit price. Their sheer weight makes their transportation costs very high. Adequate local supplies of these basic resources are vital to economic life of any community. BLM's policy is to make these materials available to the public and local governmental agencies whenever possible and wherever environmentally acceptable.

BLM sells mineral materials to the public at fair market value, but gives them free to states, counties, or other government entities for public projects. Also a limited amount may be provided free to non-profit groups. Materials obtained free of charge cannot be bartered or sold.  BLM shares a portion of the revenues from the sale of mineral materials with the state where the minerals are produced.


Additional Information:

United States Geologic Survey (USGS), Mineral Resources Program

BLM Montana brochure, Do you really own the minerals under your land?

United States Forest Service (USFS), Minerals and Geology Management

Colorado Geological Survey, Colorado Mineral Resources