U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Mining Claims and Sites|
Surface Management Provisions for Hard Rock Mining
The term “3809 regulations” refer to the Federal requirements in place for locatable mineral mines and prospecting operations.
Before a claimant can engage in any surface disturbing activity, mechanized exploration, mining, residency, or site occupation, the party with the claim must file a plan of operations or notice of intent with BLM to conduct the appropriate review and permitting outlined by the regulations. The BLM requires an approved plan of operations for mining activity that disturbs more than five acres of public land or that could result in commercial mining.
In addition to state of Colorado requirements, the Federal regulations identify 3-tiers of use on a mining claim based on surface disturbance and commercial use (sales).
Casual use prospecting includes those activities which cause very little or no surface disturbance. For example: collection of geochemical, rock, soil, or mineral specimens using hand tools; hand panning; or non-motorized sluicing. It also generally includes use of metal detectors, gold spears and other battery-operated devices for sensing the presence of minerals, and hand and battery-operated dry washers. Operators may use motorized vehicles for casual use activities only if the use is consistent with the regulations governing such use (43 CFR 8340) including following off-road vehicle use designations and temporary closures ordered by BLM. Casual use operations do not require notification of the BLM; except where specific land use or recreation area plans call for a recreational mining permit. You must reclaim any casual-use disturbance that you create.
A person must file a Notice of Intent to Conduct Prospecting Operations (NOI) with the appropriate BLM field office, as defined in 43 CFR 3809 regulations. Notice level prospecting means any prospecting operation that is motorized, mechanized, uses explosives, or is reasonably expected to result in greater land disturbance other than is caused by the ordinary, lawful use of the land by persons not prospecting. The operator will be required to provide a financial guarantee warranty for reclamation costs of the prospecting operations which is filed and held by Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (CDRMS) in the form of a cash bond, or a corporate or insurance instrument. Surface disturbance is limited to 5 acres.
PLAN OF OPERATION LEVEL
An approved Plan of Operations (mine plan) is required for exploration activities disturbing in excess of 5 acres, bulk sampling of 1,000 tons or more, and all proposed mining or milling operations (regardless of the acreage disturbed). A mine plan is required for any operation causing surface disturbance greater than Casual Use in special status areas as defined in 43 CFR 3809.11. Financial warranty must be supplied for all plan level operations.
Links to 3809 Handbooks
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR) Title 43, Part 3809 - Surface Management >>
eCFR, Title 43, Part 3830 - Locating, Recording & Maintaining Mining Claims or Sites >>
eCFR, Title 43, Part 3832 - Locating Mining Claims or Sites >>
eCFR, Title 43, Part 8340 - Off-Road Vehicles >>
Rules and Regulations for the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety Website >>
Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources, Division of Minerals, Mining Fraud and Mining Investment Website >>
USDA Forest Service, Minerals & Geology Management Website >>
USDA General Technical Report, INT-GTR-35 Revised, Anatomy of a Mine from Prospect to Production (1995) >>