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Eastern States
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General Information:

Use authorizations for solid mineral activities are controlled according to the type of mineral involved, and by the type of Federal ownership on which they are found.  Solid minerals can be broken into four types: (1) coal, (2) leasable minerals, (3) hardrock (locatable) minerals, and (4) common variety materials.  Eastern States does not have any geothermal resources or oil shale resources.

Federal land and mineral ownership is divided into two types: Public Domain and acquired.  Public Domain lands have always been in Federal ownership, while acquired lands were purchased by the government from private individuals.  On Public Domain lands, where Eastern States has jurisdiction over both the surface and the mineral rights, the lands are managed according to multiple-use concepts.  On acquired lands, where Eastern States governs the mineral rights but not the surface, we work closely with the surface manager/owner (most often, the U.S. Forest Service) to encourage access to and development of the minerals.  In either case, Eastern States carries out the planned management, conservation, and development of its solid mineral resources in an environmentally safe and economically sound manner, so that current and future benefits for the public interest will be realized.

Before deciding whether to lease a particular parcel for mining, Eastern States conducts an environmental analysis.  If the area is deemed suitable and it is leased, we then review the proposed mine plan before any mining can begin.  Once development has begun, Eastern States inspects the operation of the mine to make sure that Federal regulations and lease terms are being followed.  This oversight also applies to proper abandonment of the mine.  In the case of coal, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has reclamation responsibility.  The mine operator is required to comply with all Federal and state laws and regulations, especially those that pertain to the protection of air, water, and natural resources, and includes those involving mine safety and employee health.  The overall goal is to allow for the development of minerals and their contribution to the nation's economy in such a manner that other important resources are protected.


At Eastern States, coal deposits are found on federally-owned, subsurface lands in Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.  In terms of use authorization, coal is treated as a leasable mineral whether it is on Public Domain or acquired lands, and all coal leases are sold by competitive, sealed bid.  Royalties must be paid on all producing leases.  The regulations governing coal management are found in the 43 CFR 3400.

Leasable Minerals:

The leasable solid minerals (other than coal) are generally minerals that are found in bedded deposits, which means that they lie in seams or beds which have lateral extent.  The main types of leasable minerals are: chlorides, sulfates, carbonates, borates, silicates, and nitrates of potassium (potash) or sodium and related products; sulfur; phosphate and its associated and related minerals; asphalt; and gilsonite.  These minerals are leasable on both Public Domain and acquired lands.  If deposits are known to exist and to be economically workable, leases are sold competitively. If deposits are not known, a prospecting permit can be obtained on a first-come, first-served basis, which allows the permittee to explore for the mineral.  If the mineral is then found in commercial quantities, a preference right lease can be issued to the permittee.  Royalties must be paid on all producing leases.  The regulations governing these minerals are found in the 43 CFR 3500 regulations.

Please note, the filing fees described in the below handouts are adjusted October 1st of each year.  To see the most current filing fees - Click here 

How do I apply for a Prospecting Permit?            -         BLM Form 3510-1

How do I apply for an extension of my prospecting permit?

How do I apply for a preference right lease?

How do I nominate lands for competitive leasing?

What are the bond requirements for prospecting permits and non-energy leases?

 - Where can I find the bond forms?

How can I assign/transer my prospecting permit or lease?

Hardrock (Locatable) Minerals:

Hardrock minerals are typically metals that have a unique or special use.  Examples include, but are not limited to copper, lead, zinc, magnesium, nickel, tungsten, gold, silver, bentonite, uranium, barite, feldspar, and fluorspar.  In terms of use authorization, hardrock minerals are locatable on Public Domain lands and leasable on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) acquired lands.  A claim can be staked for locatable minerals. There is no legal access to hardrock minerals on non-USFS-acquired lands. 

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.  Regulations for the Mining Law Administration Program (locatable minerals on Public Domain lands) are found in 43 CFR 3800.  For more information, please visit our mining claims webpage.

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.

Common Variety Minerals:

Generally, these materials are sand and gravel and other common variety building materials.  Mineral Material Disposal regulations are found in 43 CFR 3600.  On acquired lands, the Federal surface management agency has jurisdiction over the disposal of common variety materials.