Use and Occupancy

Historic View of Mining Site.Use and occupancy inquiries should be directed to the appropriate Field Office.

Staking or operating a mining claim does not give the claimant exclusive rights to the surface resources (unless a right was determined under Public Law 84-167), the right to establish residency, or block access to other users.

Regulations managing the use and occupancy of the public land for development of locatable mineral deposits by limiting such use or occupancy to that which is reasonably incident are found in 43 CFR 3715. These regulations apply to public land administered by BLM. They do not apply to state or private land where minerals have been reserved, nor do they apply to federal land administered by other agencies (such as the US Forest Service).

BLM will prevent abuse of public land, while recognizing valid rights and uses under the mining laws. BLM will take appropriate action to eliminate invalid uses, including unauthorized residential occupancy. Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) has found that a claim may be declared void by BLM when it has been located and held for purposes other than the mining of minerals.