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Minerals, Rocks and Fossils Oregon/Washington BLM



Minerals, Rocks and Fossils

Bentonite Excavation

The Prineville District BLM works closely with our State office on a wide variety of mineral activities. These processes relate to three different mineral types: locatable, leasable and saleable. In addition, the district manages recreational or "hobby" collecting of interesting rocks, gems, petrified wood, meteorites, fossils and mineral specimens.

Locatable Minerals include metallic minerals (gold, silver, lead, copper, zinc, nickel, etc.), nonmetallic minerals (fluorspar, mica, certain limestones and gypsum, tantalum, heavy minerals in placer form, and gemstones) and certain uncommon variety minerals. In order to get started with a mining claim, here are a few steps that can be taken:

  • Purchase an information packet from the BLM for $3.00 or click here to download and print the information documents yourself
  • Post the corners of your claim with wood or rock markers
  • Get a blank "Notice of Location" form from the county clerk or a stationery store; fill this in with accurate compass bearings and distances to enclose 20 acres or less per person
  • Notarize this form with the local county clerk and keep a copy for the fees
  • Send your certified package to the BLM OR/WA State Office (1220 S.E.3rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204)
  • Include the Notarized Location Notice, the fee of $194 per claim, a claim map, and the receipt from the county clerk

The BLM is responsible for Leasable Minerals such as oil, gas, geothermal, and coal on BLM, National Forest, and other Federal lands, as well as private lands where mineral rights have been retained by the Federal Government. The BLM also leases certain solid minerals, like phosphate, sodium, and potassium, on public and other Federal lands.

Saleable Mineral Materials are some of our most basic natural resources, such as sand, gravel, dirt, and rock, used in every day building, and other construction uses. These materials generally are bulky and have low unit price. Their sheer weight makes their transportation costs very high. Mineral materials are used to support and maintain both national infrastructure and local community needs for energy, mineral and other developments (e.g., roads, bridges, dams, buildings, and foundations).

Adequate local supplies of these basic resources are vital to economic life of any community. BLM's policy is to make these materials available to the public and local governmental agencies whenever possible and wherever environmentally acceptable.

For more information on how to file a mining claim, bonding, occupancy, or other questions, please visit the Oregon/Washington BLM State Office Minerals Program Webpage.