U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
http://www.blm.gov
September 21, 2012
 
In Reply Refer To:
3830 (320) P
 
EMS TRANSMISSION 10/11/2012
Instruction Memorandum No. 2012-197
Expires: 09/30/2013
 
To:                   All State Directors, (except Alaska)
 
From:               Assistant Director, Minerals and Realty Management
 
Subject:           New Procedures for Collecting Maintenance Fees for Unpatented Placer Mining Claims
 
Program Area: Mining Law Administration.
 
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) outlines new procedures for collecting and earning maintenance fees for unpatented placer mining claims. 

Policy/Action: In accordance with Section 430 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (FY 2012 Act) (December 23, 2011), which amended Section 10101 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (30 U.S.C 28f), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will calculate and collect the required maintenance fee as it pertains to unpatented placer mining claims based on the number of acres contained in the mining claim. The BLM will collect both the initial and annual fee (currently $140) for every 20 acres or portion thereof contained in a claim. To ensure the BLM properly collects and earns the maintenance fees for placer mining claims, the National Operations Center (NOC) completed modifications to the Collections and Billings System (CBS) and the Legacy Rehost 2000 (LR2000) system. These modifications will assist CBS and adjudication personnel in the calculation, collection, and subsequent application of the placer mining claim fees to the proper fund code. The FY 2012 Act did not make any modifications to the collection of fees for lode mining claims, mill sites, or tunnel sites. An Interim Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on July 27, 2012 (77 FR 44155), and was effective immediately upon publication. This rule amends the current fee schedule at 43 CFR 3830.21. In accordance with the new rule, the BLM will collect initial and annual maintenance fees for placer mining claims in accordance with the FY 2012 Act and will implement the following procedures in all state offices, except Alaska.[1]

CBS Procedures

1.  Since CBS personnel may not be able to determine the acreage for a placer mining claim based on the information provided by the claimant, when an office receives a new placer mining claim for recordation, CBS personnel will continue to apply the location fee ($34), processing fee ($15), and maintenance fee ($140) to the following Commodity, Subject, and Actions (CSA): 
Commodity – Locatable Minerals
Subject – Mining Claims – New, Unadjud, One or More Auth Nos
Actions as applicable – New Mining Claim Processing Fee $15, New Mining Claim Location Fee $34, and New Mining Claim Maint Fee $140 
2.  CBS personnel will place any additional money received for an initial maintenance fee payment in the following CSA:  Locatable Minerals / Mining Claims-Not New-Unadjud, One Auth No. Only / Mining Claim Money Received. By using this CSA, the additional money received for the initial maintenance fee will populate in action remarks in LR2000 along with action code (AC) 392 – Money Received. 
3.  When an office receives an annual maintenance fee payment, CBS personnel will process the payment according to their current procedures. Mining law adjudication will apply the proper amounts in LR2000 for each mining claim, as applicable so that these amounts earn in CBS through the nightly interface. 
Mining Law Adjudication Procedures: 

1.  Populating the Acreage Field in LR2000: The NOC has completed modifications to LR2000 that will assist mining law adjudicators to ensure receipt of the correct fees for each placer mining claim.  One of these modifications is the addition of an acreage field (Case Acres) in the Case Header Details. Since the correct fee for placer mining claims will depend on the total acres in the claim, all BLM state offices must continue to populate the case acres field in LR2000 for existing and new active placer mining claims. 

2.  Computation of the Maintenance Fee: The maintenance fee will be computed on a per claim basis depending on the acreage in each individual claim. In other words, if a claimant has more than one placer mining claim with varying acreages and wants to know the total maintenance fee payment due, the BLM will calculate the fees by first determining the payment due for each claim and then totaling all the computed payments into one single payment. 

3.  Initial Maintenance Fee Processing – Payment Deficient: When an office timely receives a new location notice for a placer mining claim containing more than 20 acres, CBS personnel will apply the initial maintenance fee of $140 to the proper CSA as stated above. When the mining law adjudicator processes the new filing, the adjudicator will determine the proper acreage of the claim and enter the acreage in the case acres field in LR2000. When the adjudicator enters the acreage for the claim in LR2000, the maintenance fee payment required for the claim will programmatically populate the field named Curr Mnt Fee (current maintenance fee).  If the mining law adjudicator determines that the claimant did not pay the full amount due based on the acreage for the claim, the adjudicator will prepare a 30-day cure notice in accordance with Item 7 – Cure Period below. 
4.  Initial Maintenance Fee Processing – Additional Money Received: When an office timely receives a new location notice for a placer mining claim, CBS personnel will only apply $140 toward the initial maintenance fee regardless of the amount received. CBS personnel will apply any additional funds to the CSA for money received, which will transfer to LR2000 as AC 392 – Money Received. When the mining law adjudicator processes the new claim, the adjudicator will apply any additional maintenance fee payment in LR2000 using AC 685 – Addl/Curable Maintenance Fee. When AC 685 is added to LR2000, the amount owed will populate in the Action Remark field, preceded by a semicolon. The adjudicator will enter the applicable assessment year before the semicolon and the applicable receipt number in the receipt number field. When this data transfers to CBS through the nightly export, the additional maintenance fee payment will earn to the proper CSA. 
5.  Additional Money Received in Response to a 30-Day Cure Notice: When a claimant responds to a 30-day cure notice that the BLM sent requesting additional money for the remainder of a maintenance fee payment, CBS personnel will follow step 2 under the CBS procedures above. If the payment received is for the full amount requested in the cure notice, the mining law adjudicator processing the payment will earn the money using AC 685 – Addl/Curable Maintenance Fee. If the claimant provides a document that reduces the size of their claim, which would change the amount the claimant owes, the adjudicator must first process the document that reduces the acreage of the claim and change the acreage previously recorded so that the amount in the Curr Mnt Fee field will programmatically change to the amount due based on the reduced acreage of the claim. After processing that document, the adjudicator will earn any additional money received for the maintenance fee payment using AC 685.
6.  Annual Maintenance Fee Payments: CBS personnel will apply all money received for an annual maintenance fee payment according to their current procedures. All timely maintenance fee payments (paid at the previous rate of $140 per claim) received for placer mining claims for assessment year 2013 will be curable. The adjudicator will issue a 30-day cure notice as stated in Step 2 under Adjudication Procedures. 
7.  Cure Period: All mining law adjudication personnel will adhere to the following guidelines regarding the cure period when maintenance fee payments are deficient for placer mining claims: 
a.  New Placer Mining Claims: The cure period for new placer mining claims will continue through December 31, 2012. All new placer mining claim location notices (1) timely received on July 27, 2012 (the date of publication of the Interim Final Rule), through and including December 31, 2012, and (2) received without the full maintenance fee payment based on the acreage in the claim will be considered deficient and eligible to be cured. After December 31, 2012, the BLM will return any new placer mining claim location received for recordation without the full maintenance fee payment based on the acreage in the claim to the claimant unrecorded. 
b.  Existing Placer Mining Claims: The BLM will allow any deficient annual maintenance fee payment for a placer mining claim timely received for the 2013 assessment year to be cured as long as the payment received is at least $140. 
For both new and existing placer mining claims, the BLM will send a 30-day cure notice to the claimant(s) requesting additional money and notifying them that they can (1) pay the remainder of the fee required based on the full acreage in the claim, (2) reduce the size of the claim so that a lesser fee is required based on the reduced size of the claim, or (3) relinquish the claim in its entirety. If the BLM does not receive a response to the 30-day cure notice within the time allowed, the BLM will reject recordation of the new claims and will declare existing claims forfeited and void. 
8.  Refunds: In addition to refunds issued under current business practices, the BLM will refund initial and annual maintenance fee payments and location fees under the following circumstances: 
a.  If a claimant responds to a 30-day cure notice issued in accordance with Item 6 above, and informs the BLM they relinquish their placer mining claim in its entirety, the BLM will issue a refund of the initial maintenance fee and location fee payments for a new claim and the annual maintenance fee payment for an existing claim. 
b.  If no response to a 30-day cure notice is received, the initial maintenance fee and location fee payments for a new claim will be refunded after the recordation of the claim is rejected and the annual maintenance fee payment for an existing claim will be refunded after the claim is declared forfeited and void. 
c.   If a claimant timely pays the annual maintenance fee for the 2013 assessment year for a placer mining claim at the previous rate of $140 per claim and decides to request a waiver of the maintenance fee instead, as long as the waiver is timely filed on or before the due date and the claimant is a qualified small miner, the BLM will refund the maintenance fee payment. 
Attached are two documents that provide additional information and guidance pertaining to the new fees for placer mining claims. Attachment 1 gives more detailed instructions to CBS personnel and mining law adjudication teams on how to apply and earn the new fees in CBS and LR2000. Attachment 2 is a question and answer sheet developed from inquiries received from some of the mining law adjudication teams and members of the public regarding the new fee requirements.
 
Timeframe: This IM is effective immediately.
 
Budget Impact: None.
 
Background: The FY 2012 Act amended Section 10101 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (30 U.S.C 28f), by changing the way the BLM calculates maintenance fees for placer mining claims. In accordance with the FY 2012 Act, the maintenance fee for placer claims will now be based on the total acreage in the claim and the maintenance fee (currently $140) will be required for every 20 acres or portion thereof contained in the claim. In order to ensure the BLM properly collects and earns the new fees in CBS, the NOC revised LR2000 and CBS to accommodate new procedures to earn the fees and with this IM, we are providing instructions to CBS personnel and mining law adjudication teams on how to process the fees for placer mining claims.
 
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: This IM transmits interim policy that we will incorporate into H-3830-1, Administration of Mining Claims.
 
Coordination: The Division of Solid Minerals (WO-320) coordinated preparation of this IM through the Solicitor’s Office.
 
Contact: If you have any questions concerning this IM, please contact me at 202-208-4201, or your staff may contact Mitchell Leverette, Chief, Division of Solid Minerals, at 202-912-7113, email address mleveret@blm.gov, or Sonia Santillan at 202-912-7123, email address ssantill@blm.gov. 
 
 
Signed by:                                                                   Authenticated by:
Michael Nedd                                                               Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                                        Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Minerals and Realty Management
 
 
2 Attachments
[1]Since Alaska’s automated data base interfaces with the Collections and Billings System differently than the other BLM state offices, a separate Instruction Memorandum will issue out of the Alaska State Office with the new procedures for Alaska to follow when collecting maintenance fees for placer mining claims.

 
Last updated: 10-11-2012