Annual Maintenance and Assessment

Maintenance Fees

Claimants are required to pay an annual maintenance fee on or before September 1 of every year to continue to hold their mining claim, mill site or tunnel site. Paying the maintenance fee replaces the requirement of performing annual assessment work on your mining claim.  

Fees can be paid online (except in Alaska) using the Mineral & Land Records System (MLRS), in person at your BLM state office (in Alaska, the Fairbanks District Office also accepts fee payment), or sent via the mail.

Maintenance Fee Payment Waiver Certification (Small Miner’s Waiver)

If a claimant owns 10 or fewer active claims/sites on Federal land nationwide, the claimant may qualify for a maintenance fee payment waiver also known as the small miner’s waiver.  Form 3830-2 must be used when filing a small miner’s waiver request and must be filed or postmarked (if mailed) on or before September 1 every year. There is no processing fee to file a waiver. By filing a waiver, claimants are certifying that they and all related parties own 10 or fewer claims and sites nationwide and that assessment work (see requirements below) has been or will be performed, and that the proper affidavits of assessment or annual labor will be timely filed.

The small miner's waiver can be filed in person at your BLM state office or sent via the mail. If a claimant owns claims or sites in multiple states, a fee or waiver must be paid or filed in each state where each claim or site is located. Failure to timely pay the fee or file the waiver in the proper BLM office will subject your claims or sites to forfeiture of operation by law. 

Annual Assessment Work

Claimants requesting a small miner’s waiver from paying the annual maintenance fee must perform assessment work and spend a minimum of $100 in labor or improvements on each claim, and record evidence of such with the BLM on or before December 30 of the calendar year in which the assessment year ended. The same document that the claimant records with the county must be filed with the BLM. The BLM processing fee is $15 per claim for recording an affidavit of annual assessment. The assessment work must be performed within the period defined as the assessment year. Assessment work includes, but is not limited to, drilling, excavations, driving shafts and tunnels, sampling (geochemical or bulk), road construction on or for the benefit of the mining claim; and geological, geochemical, and geophysical surveys. 

Optional Form 3830-4 may be used for affidavits of assessment work filed with the BLM. This and associated processing fees can be filed and paid online (except in Alaska) using the Mineral & Land Records System (MLRS), in person at your BLM state office (in Alaska, the Fairbanks District Office also accepts fee payment), or sent via the mail.

Note that assessment work is not a requirement for owners of mill or tunnel sites; however, a notice of intent to hold (NOIH) the site must be filed on or before December 30. The BLM requires a $15 processing fee per site for filing a NOIH.

Additional Fee Information

For a list of all mining fees associated with claims and payment options visit our Mining Claim Fees page. Regulations governing mining claim maintenance fees can be found at 43 CFR Parts 3834, 3835, and 3836.