Solid minerals are generally categorized as being either leasable, locatable or mineral material [salable]. The Minerals for America brochure, found at most BLM offices, explains more about these categories. Online brochures for (1) Mining Claims and Sites on Federal Lands, (2) How to Obtain Sand, Gravel, and other Mineral Materials, and (3) The Federal Coal Leasing System can be found at www.blm.gov/nhp/300/wo320/index.html. The following is some information about the three categories of solid mineral on public lands and mineral estate administered by the Bureau of Land Management within Daggett, Duchesne, and UintahCounties. For more information about where public lands are located (including mineral estate reserved under patented surface estate), come to our office at 170 South 500 East in Vernal, Utah. Our telephone number is (435) 781-4400.
Solid minerals include nonenergy leasable minerals such as Gilsonite and phosphate, locatable minerals, which are associated with mining claims, and mineral materials such as sand, gravel, and stone. Responsibilities for leasable minerals include the completing environmental documents for resource exploration, development, production, and reclamation activities. For locatable minerals, the Vernal Field Office Mineral Resources Group is responsible for validity examination and operational supervision of exploration, development, and reclamation actions on unpatented lands. The Mineral Resources Group processes applications for the sale or free use permitting of mineral materials.
BLM Utah Minerals Site
Within the Vernal Field Office, there are federal gilsonite and phosphate leases as well as pending prospecting permit applications for gilsonite and phosphate. Our office has title plats showing the location of leases and pending and authorized prospecting permit applications, as well as, nominations of oil shale RD&D tracts. The BLM Utah State Office in Salt Lake City (324 South State Street, Suite 301; P.O. Box 45155, Salt Lake City, UT 84145-0155) is the office responsible for receiving and processing applications for leasing and prospecting for solid leasables in Utah, pursuant to the 43 CFR 3500 regulations. The Utah State Office also approves all plans for mining and exploring for solid leasables (for more information about how to file for permits and leases, contact Bill_Buge@blm.gov; and for more information about filing exploration-reclamation or mining-reclamation plans, contact Stan_Perkes@blm.gov). Field Offices usually write the environmental documentation related to solid leasable mineral actions.
Field Offices do not accept mining claim or site location notices or, claim or site maintenance documentation! The Utah State Office Minerals Adjudication staff can provide information about the location and maintenance requirements for claims and sites within Utah (see also the “Mining Claims and Sites on Federal Lands” brochure available at most BLM offices as well as the 43 CFR 3830 regulations). You must abide by the surface management or 43 CFR 3809 regulations if you wish to conduct any surface disturbing activities on your mining claim or site on BLM administered public lands or on BLM administered lands that are open to mineral entry. Filings of notices or plans under the 3809 regulations must be made with the appropriate Field Office (that office will maintain files for all active surface management notices and plans as well as cases of use and occupancy on public lands within their jurisdiction). Nonproprietary case file information is open for public review at the appropriate Field Office. If you plan to be camped or temporarily housed on location while conducting surface management operations on public lands or plan to employ a watchman to guard your mining equipment, you must abide by the provisions of the use and occupancy regulations - 43 CFR 3715 [NOTE: these regulations only apply to public lands administered by the BLM].
For more information about the process through which the surface management regulations were changed in 2001, please go to www.blm.gov/nhp/news/releases/pages/2000/pr001121_3809.htm. The 43 CFR 3809 and 3715 links above takes you to the latest version of the surface management regulations.
Salables (mineral materials)
Each Field Office is responsible for accepting and processing applications for sales and permits for sand, gravel, stone and other mineral materials on public lands they administer (pursuant to the 43 CFR 3600 regulations). See the How to Obtain Sand Gravel and Other Mineral Materials pamphlet (http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/non-energy_minerals.html). The Vernal Field Office offers over-the-counter sales of stone for personal [noncommercial] use only from two common use areas; the Buck Canyon area about 50 miles south of Vernal, Utah and the West Wrinkles about 33 miles southwest of Roosevelt, Utah. We also offer sales of sand and gravel from two community pits; the Green River pit about 9.5 miles south of Vernal and the Wild Mountain pit about 25 miles northeast of Vernal. Contact us for further information about our over-the-counter sales. Our office administers several contract sales for sand, sand and gravel, and stone as well as free use permits issued to local Counties, Cities and other governmental agencies. The Vernal Field Office does require a mine and reclamation plan for all contract sales and free use permits, and will, on a case-by-case basis, recover costs for processing all exclusive contract sale applications. The location of sales and permits appear on BLM title plats.
The Forest Service has separate regulations about mining claim exploration or development on National Forest lands as well as for disposal of mineral materials. The Forest Service will direct you to the local BLM office or to BLM’s LR2000 website if you have questions about what mining claims or sites are located on lands administered by the Forest Service. This is because location notices of claims and sites in Utah are required to be filed with the Utah State Office of the BLM in Salt Lake City.
The BLM maintains a computer database with claim and site information which can be searched by claim name and number, claimant name, location [township-range-section] or UMC [Utah mining claim recordation number]. Members of the public, state and other federal agencies can now access BLM's public land and minerals record information at www.blm.gov/lr2000. The LR2000 database includes information on all BLM mineral leases, mineral material disposals (sales/permits), surface management notices and plans, and, oil and gas agreements. You can contact your local BLM office about how to obtain information from this computer database should you have any questions.
You may conduct rockhouding on Public Lands in Utah. The brochure, “Rockhounding of Public Lands in Utah” contains guidelines you should follow.
Certain areas within Utah have been designated as open to recreational dredging and sluicing. The State Engineers office administers the recreational dredging and sluicing program within Utah (click on the “Recreational Sluicing and Dredging Permit Application Form” hyperlink, the last two pages contains a list of streams that are open).