Locatable & Saleable Minerals

Locatable Minerals

Locatable Minerals, also known as "hardrock minerals" include base metals, precious metals, industrial minerals, and precious or semi-precious gemstones.  The public can gain ownership of these hardrock minerals by locating mining claims.

Hardrock mining employs more people in the district than any other business. With an average of 1,900 people employed at area mines, approximately 5,600 more are employed in support services providing goods and services for Nevadans and their families. District mines produce gold, silver, barite, diatomite, lithium, magnesium, turquoise and specialty clays.

The Battle Mountain District Office manages the largest BLM non-energy minerals program in the United States. This consists of permitting, compliance enforcement, monitoring and reclamation cost estimating. In April 2007, the active minerals case file consisted of 93 Plan Level Operations (those exceeding five acres of ground disturbance) and 214 Notice Level Operations (those with less than five acres of ground disturbance, typically for mineral exploration). Additionally, there are 466 expired Notice Level Operations.

Plan Level Operations require BLM site inspections four times per year if hazardous chemicals such as sodium cyanide or sulfuric acid are used in the metal recovery process. Notice Level Operations must be inspected twice per year in addition to pre-acceptance of the proposal and post reclamation at the end of operations. Expired Notice Level Operations require field inspections to document what the remaining reclamation obligations are and notification sent to the operator and claimant. The needed field inspections total more than 1,089 per year.

During 2004, the first long term trust fund under the new Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 43, Subpart 3809 regulations was established for the Phoenix Mine. A second trust fund was established in 2005 by Cortez Gold Mines for its Pipeline Mine. The trust funds set aside nearly $2 million to generate funding for mitigation of potential environmental impacts after mining ceases and reclamation has been completed.

The District encourages sustainable development to find productive post mining land use of existing infrastructure. Rather than demolish structures and support facilities constructed for mining, the infrastructure could be converted to house a host of other industries and provide continued employment long after mining has depleted a non-energy resource. Some examples are wind and solar electricity generation, manufacturing and municipality support.

Battle Mountain District Locatable Mineral Statistics

2007 Mineral Production Statistics* 


Battle Mountain DistictNevadaUSAWorld
Gold (oz)931,4415,853,0008,037,68678,769,329
Silver (oz) 2,046,000 8,847,000  
Barite (tons) 316,610 515,000  
Copper (lbs) 20,000,000   

*Nevada mining statistics are compiled each April by the Nevada Division of Minerals, are not available until May each year and were not available at publication of the Battle Mountain 2008 Mineral Facts.

  • Battle Mountain District manages 10.5 million acres of public lands
  • Commodities found within the District include gold, silver, barite, diatomite, lithium and magnesium
 Notice Level Operations in FY07                         Plan Level Operations in FY07

New Notices55
Extended Notices16
Expired Notices46

Plan of Operations Approved in FY 20071
Active Mine Plans of Operations93     

Mining Claim Statistics
 Battle Mountain DistrictNevada
Number of Mining Claims65,673195,360
Maintenance Fees Collected in 2007*$7,821,250$22,190,500

*Maintenance fees are not returned to BLM; they are deposited into the General Treasury Fund.

Saleable Minerals

Saleable Minerals include common mineral materials like sand, gravel, stone, pumice, clay, and petrified wood.  The general public may purchase saleable minerals at the BLM Field Offices, which are sold at fair market value under the 43 CFR 3600 regulations.  Sand and gravel are the most common mineral materials consumed by the public in the Battle Mountain District.

Battle Mountain Saleable Mineral Statistics

 Gravel Pits in Battle Mountain District
Total number of active or pending gravel pits


Number of Community Pits


Number of Common Use Areas


Number of Negotiated Sales


Number of Free Use Permits


Free Use Permit Statistics for Counties in the Battle Mountain District


Number of Pits









New Sand and Gravel Permits Authorized in 2007 
Negotiate Sales


Free Use