BLM is authorized to sell mineral materials to the public at fair market value, using both competitive and noncompetitive sales under the regulations at 43 CFR 3600 . The BLM’s policy is to make these materials available for the public and local governmental agencies whenever possible and wherever environmentally acceptable. BLM shares a portion (usually about 50%) of the revenues from the sale of mineral materials with the state where the minerals are produced.
Competitive sales have a maximum initial contract term of 10 years, but there is no limitation on the quantity, and the BLM may issue contracts that can be renewed for additional 10-year terms. Non-competitive sales have a maximum contract term of 5 years, a limit of 200,000 cubic yards (or weight equivalent) per contract and a maximum total quantity of 300,000 cubic yards (or weight equivalent) for all contracts issued to any one entity in any one state in any 12-month period.
There is no specific application form for requesting removal of mineral materials from public lands. Persons interested in buying mineral materials should contact the local BLM district or field office closest to the area of need or closest to the public land where the desired material is found.
Free Use Permit
BLM offers mineral materials free of charge to states, counties, or other government entities for the use of public projects. There is no limit on the quantity of such disposal to governmental entities, but the permit has a maximum term of 10 years. Also, a limited amount may be provided free to non-profit groups. Materials obtained free of charge cannot be bartered or sold.
Mineral Material Permit
Anyone gathering mineral materials in excess of what would be considered recreational rock gathering needs a permit. Gathering large quantities of rock (more than what would fit into a 5-gallon container) is generally allowed within some field office boundaries, as long as the area is not restricted to rock gathering and a permit to do so is obtained. Often, there are many areas within the field office boundaries that are closed to rock gathering, the field office may provide you with a restricted area map to determine which areas are opened to, or restricted from, rock gathering.
Mineral material permits are obtained by coming into the BLM field office. The permit must be purchased before you gather the mineral material. Generally, permits are issued from late April (weather dependent) through November 30th, with all permits expiring on November 30th of each year. Permits are not issued during winter months because of inaccessibility to the areas, and for wildlife habitat purposes. No heavy equipment may be used to remove decorative rock from BLM land. Removal of decorative rock is limited to surface collecting by hand or using hand tools such as pry bars, picks and shovels. Common use area and open rock gathering areas are limited to one ton per household per year.
A community pit is a small area from which the BLM sells mineral materials. The rock can be peeled up or excavated where the topsoil has already been removed. Minimal surface disturbance is allowed for removal of the mineral material.
The public can collect small quantities of petrified wood as authorized under 43 CFR 3620, (25 pounds per day plus one piece, up to a maximum of 250 pounds per year) for free without a permit. Quantities in excess of these amounts require purchase at fair market value under a sales contract.
BLM Field Office Salable Minerals Websites:
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR), Title 43, Part 3600 - Mineral Materials Disposal
eCFR, Title 43, Part 3620 - Free Use of Petrified Wood
How to Obtain Mineral Materials from BLM-Administered Federal Lands Brochure
USDA Forest Service, Minerals Management Website