Where can I get a mining claim in the Eastern States?
On Public Domain lands in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, mining claims may be staked (located) for hardrock minerals.
Public Domain lands in other states under Eastern States' jurisdiction are not open to the location of mining claims. Mining claims can be located on open public domain land administered by another federal agency (most commonly on Forest Service land) which are open to mineral entry.
What are Public Domain lands?
Public domain minerals are those minerals that have never left Federal ownership. Reconveyed minerals are considered public domain minerals under the mining laws. Lands that have left Federal ownership and then later acquired by the United States are said to be acquired lands. Mining claims cannot be staked on acquired minerals; a prospecting permit (43 CFR 3500) is required to prospect for acquired minerals. Claims may not be located in areas closed to mineral entry by a special act of Congress, regulation, or public land order. These areas are said to be "withdrawn" from mineral entry. Privately owned lands, trust lands, sovereign lands, national parks and monuments, as well as Indian and military reservations, are excluded from location of mining claims.
In Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, the proper BLM office to file a copy of an official mining claim record is the BLM Eastern States Office located in Springfield, Virginia.
Special note for Quartz in Arkansas. Quartz is a locatable mineral, but P.L. 100-446, Section 323, was put into law September 27, 1988. Quartz on the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas ceased to be locatable on Public Domain nor leasable on Acquired status lands and made it salable, under Forest Service authority. For more information, please visit the Forest Service's quartz program webpage.