Mining Claims and Sites
The General Mining Law of 1872, as amended
The Mining Law of 1872 governs mining claims and sites located on Federal lands. It declared that public lands that are open to mineral-entry be available for development and extraction of metallic and nonmetallic locatable minerals by United States citizens. The law also encourages mining companies to initiate exploration and development of such minerals.
Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA)
This Act did not amend the 1872 law, but did affect the recordation and maintenance of claims. Persons holding existing claims were required to record their claims with the BLM by October 1979, and all new claims were required to be recorded with the BLM. FLPMA’s purpose was to provide the BLM with information on the locations and number of unpatented mining claims, mill sites and tunnel sites to determine the names and addresses of current owners and remove any cloud of title on abandoned claims.
The purpose of locating a mining claim or site.
A mining claim on Federal land gives a mining company exclusive rights to develop the minerals under the claim beginning on the date the mining claim was located. Within a mining claim, the surface lands remain open to the public for other multiple uses.
Miners may locate mining claims/sites to obtain exclusive rights, beginning on the date the valid claim was located, to develop the minerals under the claim.
A mining claim is located in order to acquire the right to develop the mineral values in a specified area. Locating a mining claim requires a discovery of a valuable mineral. The claim must have a substantial monument on each corner and at the discovery point within the mining claim boundaries. A certificate of location and map along with the proper fees must be filed with the BLM Colorado State Office.