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. Regulations governing mining claim maintenance fees can be found at 43 CFR Parts 3834, 3835, and 3836.
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 maintenance fee and small miner’s waiver must be paid or filed in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) state office of the state where the claim or site is located. 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 by operation of 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 $10 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 filed with the BLM.
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 $10 processing fee per site for filing a NOIH.
How To Pay Your Fees
Claimants (except those in Alaska) may pay their annual maintenance fee online through the BLM Payment Portal (https://payp.blm.gov). This site is available 24 hours a day. The BLM payment portal provides the ability to query eligible mining claims and sites for payment through an interface with the Legacy Rehost 2000 (LR2000) public reporting data base; select claims and sites to be paid; and then transfer to Pay.gov for payment of the maintenance fees for the selected claims and sites. At this time, only credit card payments are accepted and treasury limits apply.
Claimants who file on paper must include a document listing the claim/site name(s) and the BLM serial number(s) assigned to each claim for which the fees are being paid. Form 3830-5 (lode claims) and Form 3830-5(a) (placer claims) may be used to list claims and sites when making payments by check or credit card directly to the BLM state office for the state where the claims or sites are located.