U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Notice to Mining Claimants
The mining laws permit the prospector and miner to make reasonable use of a mining claim as long as the use is incident and necessary to prospecting, mining and processing operations under the 43 CFR 3809 & 3715 regulations. However, an erroneous impression sometimes exists to the effect that the act of staking a mining claim is the shortest route to obtaining public land for a homesite, weekend retreat, or other similarly unlawful purpose.
The United States has paramount ownership in the land in which it has a duty and right to protect against waste and unauthorized use. A mining claimant has merely a possessory interest in a valid location, for the purpose of mining until his location is canceled.
Any use of the surface for the purpose of mining on an unpatented claim is only allowed by permit. Use of the surface for purposes unrelated to mining is unauthorized and therefore, considered to be in trespass. Whether the claim is valid or invalid, the BLM will proceed to terminate the unauthorized use and collect any damages from the beginning of the wrongful occupancy.
The unauthorized use of a mining claim can become a very serious problem for the claimant, particularly when a valuable improvement is constructed or placed on an unpatented claim. A person stands to lose all of his/her investment because of such trespass action. In many cases, we have found that unauthorized use began because of the claimant’s lack of knowledge of the mining laws. Therefore, we are cautioning owners of mining locations in an effort to prevent any future difficulties and to encourage the proper use of public lands.