Arizona Mining and Minerals
There’s a lot that goes on under the Arizona ground. In fact, the BLM administers approximately 17.5 million subsurface acres, and supervises mineral operations on about 73,000 acres of Native American lands across the state. Additionally, the BLM administers both mining claim records and mineral leases on land managed by other federal agencies.
The BLM’s mineral programs can be categorized into three major mineral resource types: locatable, leasable, and salable minerals. Locatable minerals include gold, silver, copper, and other hard rock minerals. There are more than 45,000 mining claims recorded on Arizona’s public lands, where exploration and development of these vital assets provides materials found in everything from computers to dental fillings.
Arizona’s public lands also provide a good source for salable minerals, such as sand, gravel, stone, and clay, permitting over 2 million tons worth over $2 million annually. These minerals are sold to applicants at fair market value. BLM Arizona also provides salable minerals to state, county and municipal highway departments for road construction free of charge.
Annual Mining Claim Maintenance Fee Requirements
- State of Arizona Department of Mines and Minerals
- Directory of Arizona agencies, contacts and resources (Arizona County Recorders: Offices)
- Arizona Geological Survey Mining Claim Forms
- Arizona Mining Claim Case Files
Forms and Documents
- Reclamation Bond Calculation Spreadsheet (2018)
- BLM Handbook H-3042-1 Solid Minerals Reclamation Handbook (1992)
- Arizona Mining Permitting Guide (2017)
- Maintenance Fee Waiver Certification ("Small Miner Waiver Form"), 3830-002
- Small Miner Waiver Information Sheet
- Operator Information for Casual Use, Notice, Plan Level Operations, Providing a Financial Guarantee as Required by 43 CFR 3809 and Occupancy as Required by 43 CFR 3715
Annual Mining Claim Maintenance Fee Requirements
What do I have to pay or file?
Pay the 2023 "Maintenance Fee" of $165 per claim, mill site, and/or tunnel site, on or before September 1, 2022. Placer claims over 20 acres must pay an additional $165 per 20 acres or portion thereof. Note: Faxed documents will not be accepted.
Arizona Geological Survey Mining Claim Forms
File a 2023 Maintenance Fee Payment Waiver Certification, BLM Form 3830-2 (PDF), (commonly referred to as the Small Miner's Waiver) on or before September 1, 2022. There is no charge for filing a Small Miner's Waiver.
Pay annual maintenance fees on-line.
If you file the 2023 Small Miner's Waiver (due on or before September 1, 2022, you are certifying you will perform assessment on your mining claim in the "2023" assessment year and you will be required to do the following on or before December 30, 2023:
For all placer and lode mining claims listed on the Waiver, you must file an Affidavit of Assessment Work, which shows the assessment work performed in 2023. For mill sites or tunnel sites listed on the Waiver, you must file a Notice of Intent to Hold for the assessment year 2023; and
Pay a processing fee of $15 per claim/site listed on your Affidavit of Assessment Work and/or the Notice of Intent to Hold. This fee must be received at the time you file your Affidavit of Assessment Work and/or the Notice of Intent to Hold on or before December 30, 2023.
If it is the first year you are filing a waiver, you must file a Notice of Intent to Hold on or before the December 30 immediately following the filing of your waiver. EX. File the waiver for the 2023 assessment year on or before September 1, 2022, and file a Notice of Intent to Hold on or before December 30, 2022, and then file your Affidavit of Labor for the 2023 assessment year on or before December 30, 2023.
REMINDER: For those who filed a "2022 Small Miner's Waiver" by "September 1, 2021," you must file your 2022 Affidavit of Assessment Work for your mining claim to show you performed assessment work, or a Notice of Intent to Hold for your mill or tunnel site on or before December 30, 2022, along with a processing fee of $15 for each claim/site listed on your Affidavit of Assessment or Notice of Intent to Hold.
BRIDGE CLAIMS: If you locate a mining claim prior to September 1 and then wait to record it with BLM until after September 1 (the start of a new assessment year) you will have to submit payment for both assessment years. The initial processing, location, and maintenance fees will be applied to the assessment year in which you located the claim, and at the same time the maintenance fees for the new assessment year are due and must be submitted with the new claim.
What are the requirements for Small Miner's Fee Waiver?
You may file a Small Miner's Waiver (by September 1, 2022) if you own 10 or fewer claims and/or sites throughout the assessment year nationwide and will perform $100 worth of assessment work on your claims for the upcoming assessment year (by December 30, 2023). All claims, mill sites, and tunnel sites must be listed on the Small Miner's Waiver, AND the Small Miners Waiver must contain the original signatures (preferably in blue ink) of all claimants/owners having an interest in the claims/sites. If an agent signs for any of the claimants/owners, a notarized designation of agent, signed by all claimants/owners must be submitted with the waiver. You can find more information within the Small Miners Waiver Information Sheet (PDF).
Where do I file?
Bureau of Land Management-Arizona State Office
One North Central Avenue, Suite 800
Phoenix, AZ 85004-4427
Phone: 602-417-9528 - Information Access Center
Filing requirements are subject to change.
As an owner of mining claims, you are responsible for keeping yourself informed of the changes in the filing requirements and the mining laws. Congress may pass legislation affecting filing requirements and, consequently, the procedure may change. We recommend that you view our website periodically to stay up to date. For additional information contact the Information Access Center at 602-417-9528.
The use of the forms referred to in these filing instructions are optional; however, it is strongly recommended that current forms be used. The Bureau of Land Management Waiver Form must be used—it's not optional. Use of these forms will ensure that you provide the listing of all serial numbers, claim and/or site names, the original signatures required on the filings, and all other information that is necessary for you to complete your filing. These filing instructions and forms have been provided to you as a courtesy.
County Recorder Filing Requirements
In addition to filing with the BLM, file an Affidavit of Assessment Work (Proof of Labor form) or Notice of Intent to Hold with the county recorder's office. The location of this office will always be in the county seat of the county in which your claims are situated.
The following is a list of commonly used mining-related entries in the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR):
43 CFR 1822.10 - How should my name appear on applications and other required documents that I submit to BLM?
43 CFR 1822.14 - What if I try to file a required document on the last day of the stated period for filing, but the BLM office where it is to be filed is officially closed all day?
Note: For documents and fees delivered in person, you or your representative may bring documents or payments to the proper BLM office by close of business on or before the due date. If the office is officially closed all day on the due date, payments may be brought in the next day the office is officially open.
43 CFR 3000.12 - What is the fee schedule for fixed fees?
43 CFR 3710 - Public Law 167; Act of July 23, 1955
43 CFR 3730 - Public Law 359; Mining in Powersite Withdrawals; General
43 CFR 3740 - Public Law 585; Multiple Mineral Development
43 CFR 3800 - Mining Claims under the General Mining Laws (Includes 3809 Surface Management Regs)
43 CFR 3810 - Lands and Minerals Subject to Location
43 CFR 3820 - Areas Subject to Special Mining Laws
43 CFR 3830 - Locating, Recording, and Maintaining Mining Claims or Sites; General Provision
43 CFR 3832 - Locating Mining Claims or Sites
43 CFR 3833 - Recording Mining Claims and Sites
43 CFR 3834 - Required Fees for Mining Claims or Sites
43 CFR 3835 - Waivers from Annual Maintenance Fees
43 CFR 3836 - Annual Assessment Work Requirements for Mining Claims
43 CFR 3837 - Acquiring a Delinquent Co-Claimant's Interest in a Mining Claim or a Site
43 CFR 3838 - Special Procedures for Locating and Recording Mining Claims and Tunnel Sites on Stockraising Homestead Act (SRHA) Lands
43 CFR 3860 – Mineral Patent Applications
43 CFR 3870 - Adverse Claims, Protests and Conflicts
Mining Law of 1872
The federal law governing locatable minerals is the Mining Law of 1872 (May 10, 1872), which declared all valuable mineral deposits in land belonging to the United States to be free and open to exploration and purchase. This law provides citizens of the United States the opportunity to explore for, discover, and purchase certain valuable mineral deposits on federal lands that are open for mining location and patent (open to mineral entry).
Mineral Leasing Act of 1920
This law provided for the leasing of minerals from public lands including oil, gas, coal and other non-energy leasable minerals such as phosphates and sodium. It requires that a royalty be paid on amounts mined and sold.
Materials Act of 1947
This law provides for the disposal of mining materials on public lands, both saleable and leasable. Under this Act, some “common variety” minerals, such as sand and gravel, are subject to sale as opposed to rents and royalties.
Mining and Mineral Policy of 1970
This law declares that it is the continuing policy of the federal government to foster and encourage private enterprise in the development of a stable domestic minerals industry and the orderly and economic development of domestic mineral resources. This act includes all minerals, including sand and gravel, geothermal, coal, and oil and gas.
Stock Raising Homestead Act Amendment of April 16, 1993
Stock Raising Homestead Act (SRHA) lands are different from other federal lands in that the United States owns the mineral estate, but not the surface estate. Patents issued under the SRHA and Homestead Act entries patented under the SRHA reserve the mineral estate to the United States along with the right to enter, mine, and remove any reserved minerals that may be present in the mineral estate.
Federal Land Policy & Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA)
This Act did not amend the 1872 law, but did affect the recordation and maintenance of claims. Persons holding existing claims were required to record their claims with the BLM, and all new claims and sites were required to be recorded with the BLM. The law gave the BLM information on the location and number of unpatented mining claims, mill sites, and tunnel sites; helped determine the names and addresses of current owners; and helped remove any cloud of title on abandoned claims.
The BLM is authorized to charge cost recovery fees under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) and the 2005 Cost Recovery Rule. This year’s adjustment represents the ninth annual update to the fee schedule since the BLM first implemented a cost recovery fee schedule for certain oil and gas activities under the Cost Recovery Rule. The fee schedule is adjusted annually based on the change in the Implicit Price Deflator for Gross Domestic Product (IPD-GDP) from the 4th Quarter of one calendar year to the 4th Quarter of the following calendar year. The IPD-GDP is published annually by the Department of Commerce. Project proponents should discuss cost recovery with their BLM office