Mining Claims -- Frequently Asked Questions
How do I locate a mining claim or site:
You may prospect and locate claims and sites on land open to mineral entry. Before you can locate a claim, you must determine if the lands are open to mineral location. Mining claims must be located on lands where the U.S. has ownership of the mineral rights. No claims can be staked on lands transferred out of Federal ownership where the minerals were not reserved to the U.S. No claims can be located on lands closed to mineral entry under certain acts, regulations, or public land orders. We refer to these as withdrawn lands. Administrative sites, recreational sites, national parks, national monuments, Indian reservations, most reclamation projects, military reservations, scientific testing areas, most wildlife protection areas (such as federal wildlife refuges), and lands withdrawn from mineral entry for other reasons are closed to mineral location. The BLM State Offices and Field Offices have appropriate land and mineral status maps and records for you to make this determination.
On lands open to location, you may prospect and properly locate claims and sites. You cannot locate on lands that are already claimed. You must review the BLM and County Recorder's office records to determine if an active mining claim/site already is located on the land. If the land is open to location, the next step is staking the claim on the ground.
You must complete a separate notice/certificate of location for each claim/site. The date of location is the date you locate the claim on the ground. The land description of the claim/site must include all the land that the claim covers; for example, S½NW¼, NW¼NW¼ and SW¼NE¼ of Sec. 6, Township 5 W., Range 1 N., Salt Lake Meridian, Utah. Placer claims and mill sites should be located by survey subdivision. Lode claims must have a tie to a permanent object such as the survey marker; for example, 200 feet south and 100 feet east of the NW corner section of Sec. 6. A map outlining the claim/site boundaries within a section must be completed for lode claims and tunnel sites.
BLM maintains an automated land and records system (LR2000) of all mining claims/sites. Several reports are available for your use. See additional mining law information linked on right side.
Where do I record a mining claim or site?
The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) and the implementing regulations at 43 CFR 3833 require claimants to file a copy of the official record of the notice of location with the BLM State Office within 90 days from date of location. The BLM considers a claim or site forfeited by operation of law if the claimant fails to record with the BLM within the 90-day period.
The original notice of location must be filed with the proper County Recorder's office within 30 days (in Utah) from the date of location.