U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Locate a Mining Claim or Site|
Special Filing Procedures
The Mining Claims Rights Restoration Act of 1955 provides, with certain restrictions, for mining, developing, and utilizing the mineral resources of all public lands withdrawn or reserved for power development. The claimant must file a certificate of location marked to indicate that the mining claim is being filed pursuant to the Act of August 11, 1955, the Act of April 8, 1948, by making a notation on the certificate of location which states “Filed under PL 359.”
Mining claimants who locate placer claims pursuant to PL 359 regulations may not conduct any mining operations for 60 days after filing the certificate of location with the BLM.
Upon receipt of a certificate of location filed under PL 359, the BLM will send a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as well as the surface management agency of the land to inquire as to the status of any energy related projects currently active in which placer mining operations would substantially interfere.
The FERC and the surface management agency have 60 days in which to respond to our request to allow placer mining in the area.
If it is determined that placer operations may substantially interfere with other uses, a notice of intention to hold a hearing will be sent to each of the locators by registered or certified mail within 60 days from the date of filing of the certificate of location. The notice will indicate the time and place of the hearing. Further information on claims filed under PL 359 may be found at 43 CFR 3730.
SRHA lands are different from other Federal lands in that the United States owns the mineral estate of SRHA lands, but not the surface estate. Patents issued under the SRHA and Homestead Act entries patented under the SRHA reserve the mineral estate to the United States along with the right to enter, mine, and remove any reserved minerals that may be present in the mineral estate.
Those interested in mining within such areas must submit a Notice of Intent to Locate Mining Claims on SRHA Lands (NOITL) (Form 3830-3), which is available here and on the BLM Electronic Forms website (eForms). This form and the $30 non-refundable processing fee must be submitted to the BLM Colorado State Office before entry onto the lands.
There are additional procedural requirements to follow when filing the NOITL, which are outlined at 43 CFR 3838. The procedures are outlined and summarized on the BLM Wyoming and the BLM Utah mineral program websites:
Mining claim corners must be clearly marked or staked. Federal law requires that mining claim/site boundary corners must be distinctly and clearly marked to be readily identifiable on the ground (43 CFR 3832).
Generally, to properly follow Federal staking requirements, claimants erect corner posts or monuments on each corner and post a certificate of location on a post or monument at the discovery point or in a conspicuous place within the claim boundaries.
The State of Colorado regulations, as outlined in the Circular No. 3, have additional staking requirements that must also be followed.
Figure 1. Example of Methods of Monumenting Mining Claims. Drawing of an ideal lode mining claim (Metes and Bounds survey method).
Figure 2. Most state laws require conspicuous and substantial monuments for all types of claims and sites.
Additional information on the dangers of uncapped pipe corner monuments may be found by clicking on the brochures below:
Certificate of Location
Recording of a mining claim or site is documented on a certificate of location. In Colorado, there is no official form designated for this purpose. Claimants may use forms available through other states (forms may be changed to indicate state in which the claim is located) such as:
or create a certificate of location form that meets the state and federal requirements.
Federal regulations (43 CFR 3833.11) state that a certificate of location must include the following information:
A certificate of location must be recorded at the BLM Colorado State Office within 90 days from the date the claim is located.
Also, in Colorado, the deadline for recording in the county recorder's office (State of Colorado, County Election Offices/County Clerks and Recorders) in which the claim is located is 30 days for placer claims and 90 days for lode claims (Circular No. 3).
Claims located prior to September 1 and filed with the BLM after September 1 also have to comply with the annual assessment maintenance fee requirement. These claims are referred to as "bridge claims."
A bridge claim is defined as a newly located mining claim that "bridges" the September 1 annual deadline, i.e., located before September 1 but filed with the BLM after September 1.
Claimants must pay the required initial location fees. The fees are outlined below under the heading "Required Fees for Mining Claim(s)/Site(s)".
In addition to the location fees (which includes an initial maintenance fee), and within the 90-day filing period allowed for new mining claims/sites, the claimant must pay the annual maintenance fee(s) for the upcoming assessment year.
If the claimants and all related parties qualify as a small miner, and ONLY at the same time as they record the new "bridge" mining claims/sites, they may file a Maintenance Fee Waiver Certification (Form 3830.005) for the upcoming assessment year.
Required Fees to Locate Mining Claims & Sites for
New mining claim(s)/site(s) located AFTER September 1, 2014
Lode Claims, Mill Sites and Tunnel Sites
The Secretary has authorized an increase in the location fee and annual maintenance fee for mining claim(s)/site(s) on Federal land. These adjustments reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This final rule was published in the Federal Register (Vol. 79, No. 125) on Monday, June 30, 2014, a copy of the notice may be found at: Federal Register/Vol. 79, No. 125/Monday, June 30, 2014/Rules and Regulations, Page 36662-36665.