Patenting a Mining Claim

Note: The Interior and Related Agencies Appropriation Act of 1994 included a moratorium on the acceptance of new mineral patent applications. The moratorium was in effect October 1, 1994, through September 30, 1995. It has been extended by subsequent Interior Appropriations Acts. Therefore, all mineral patent applications received after October 1, 1994, until the moratorium expires, are to be returned to the applicant without further action.

Patenting requires the claimant to demonstrate the existence of a valuable mineral deposit. In addition the applicant needs to (1) Survey, if required, subsequent to location; (1a) Survey application requires initial fee of $750 plus $300 for each additional claim; (1b) Approved survey plat and notice of intent to patent posted on claim; (2) File patent application in BLM State Office accompanied by fees - $250 service charge (1 claim) and $50 for each additional claim; (3) Provide evidence of title and citizenship; (4) Provide statement of expenditures and improvements; (5) Have BLM approval notice published in newspaper; (6) Provide proofs of posting and publications, and corroborated statements.

Under current law, if all requirements have been satisfied, the applicant can purchase a lode claim at $5 per acre and placer claims for $2.50 an acre. Associated mill sites can be purchased at the same price per acre as the type of claim they are supporting.

A patented claim is one for which the Federal Government has passed title to the claimant, making it private land. A person may mine and remove minerals from a mining claim without a patent; however, a mineral patent gives the owner title to the minerals, surface and other resources (timber, vegetative).

Requirements for filing mineral patent applications may be found in 43 CFR 3860. Mineral patents can be issued for lode claims, placer claims, or mill sites, but not tunnel sites.