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Mineral materials are some of our most basic natural resources, such as sand, gravel, dirt, and rock, used in every day building, and other construction uses. These materials generally are bulky and have low unit price. Their sheer weight makes their transportation costs very high. Mineral materials are used to support and maintain both national infrastructure and local community needs for energy, mineral and other developments (e.g., roads, bridges, dams, buildings, and foundations).
Adequate local supplies of these basic resources are vital to economic life of any community. BLM's policy is to make these materials available to the public and local governmental agencies whenever possible and wherever environmentally acceptable.
BLM disposes of mineral materials in conformance with agency land use plans and the National Environmental Protection Act. Anyone removing mineral materials must comply with applicable laws, including the National Environmental Protection Act. The BLM's annual statistics for mineral materials authorizations and production are published in the Public Land Statistics (see past reports).
BLM sells mineral materials to the public at fair market value and uses both competitive and noncompetitive sales. BLM shares a portion 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 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 Resource Area office closest to the area of need or closest to the public land where the desired material is found.
The regulations guiding BLM's mineral materials program are found in Title 43 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Group 3600. Regulations governing contracts and permits for mineral materials are contained in Title 43 CFR, Subparts 3601, 3602, and 3603 respectively. Sales involve a contract form; different forms and conditions are used depending on the variable of the sale (e.g., value, quantity, duration). A performance bond may be required.
2. Permits and Free Use
BLM gives mineral materials free to states, counties, or other government entities for public projects to assist in minimizing the cost of public projects and government. A limited amount may be provided free to non-profit groups. Materials obtained free of charge cannot be bartered or sold.
There is no limit on the quantity of a such a disposal to governmental entities, but the permit has a maximum term of 10 years. The public can collect small quantities of petrified wood (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.
Regulations governing free use of mineral materials are contained in Title 43 CFR, Subpart 3604.
3. Inspection, Production Verification and Enforcement
BLM conducts inspection and production verification to assure compliance with the terms of the contract or permit, and for prevention and abatement of unauthorized use. Inspection schedules for authorized operations are generally determined by the quantity of the sale or permit.
4. Prevention and Abatement of Unauthorized Use
BLM conducts inspections to assure that operations have been authorized and are conducted in compliance with the terms of those authorizations, regulations and applicable laws. Examples of information checked during inspections:
- all removals have been authorized by the BLM
- accurate quantities have been reported to BLM
- appropriate payments have been made for all materials removed
- sites are properly maintained and reclaimed
- unauthorized dumping is prevented and cleaned up
5. Automated Record System and Data Entry
BLM enters records of disposal actions, bonding, production, trespass or unauthorized use and other data into BLM's automated record system LR2000. The system interfaces with BLM's financial Collection and Billing System (CBS).