Explanation of Location 

A mining claim is a selected parcel of Federal land, valuable for a specific mineral deposit or deposits, for which you have asserted a right of possession under the Mining Law. Your right is restricted to the development and extraction of a mineral deposit. The rights granted by a mining claim protect against a challenge by the United States and other claimants only after the discovery of a valuable mineral deposit.  

The two types of mining claims are lode and placer. In addition, mill sites and tunnel sites may be located to provide support facilities for lode and placer mining claims (43 CFR Part 3832).    

Lode Claims

Lode claims cover classic veins or lodes having well-defined boundaries and also include other rock in-place bearing valuable mineral deposits. Examples include quartz or other veins bearing gold or other metallic mineral deposits and large volume, but low-grade disseminated metallic deposits, such as Carlin-type gold deposits and copper-bearing granites. 

Lode claims are usually located as parallelograms with the side lines parallel to the vein or lode. Descriptions are by metes-and-bounds surveys (giving the length and compass bearing of each boundary line from a central point or monument to each corner post, and then sequentially around the perimeter of the claim).

Federal statute limits a lode claim to a maximum of 1,500 feet in length along the vein or lode. Their width is a maximum of 600 feet, 300 feet on either side of the centerline of the vein or lode. The end lines of the lode claim must be parallel to qualify for underground extralateral rights. Extralateral rights involve the rights to minerals in vein or lode form that extend at depth outside the vertical boundaries of the claim.  (43 CFR Part 3832, Subpart B). 

Placer Claims

Placer Claims cover all those deposits not subject to lode claims. Originally, placer claims included only deposits of mineral-bearing sand and gravel containing free gold or other detrital minerals.  By Congressional acts and judicial interpretations, many nonmetallic bedded or layered deposits, such as gypsum and high-calcium limestone, are located as placer claims. Where possible, placer claims are to be located by legal subdivision, such as the E1/2NE1/4NE1/4, Section 2, Township 2 South, Range 4 East, Salt Lake Meridian, Utah (30 U.S.C. § 35 and 43 CFR 3832, Subparts A and B).  The maximum size a placer claim may be is 20 acres. An association of two locators may locate 40 acres, and three may locate 60 acres, etc. The maximum area of an association placer claim permitted by law is 160 acres for eight or more persons.

The maximum size of a placer claim for a corporation is 20 acres per claim. Corporations may not locate association placer claims unless they are in association with other private individuals or other corporations as co-locators. (43 CFR Part 3832, Subpart B). 

Lands in a placer claim must be contiguous: Two or more persons, or associations of persons, having contiguous claims of any size may make joint entry thereof although such claims may be less than 10 acres each. A placer claim that is divided into separate tracts of land by land that is closed to location cannot be considered as a single location. (Note: If section contains survey lots, you must describe placer claim by survey lots, tracts, and/or protraction block (PB).)   

It is well established that lands covered by a single placer claim must be contiguous; two separate tracts that corner are not contiguous and cannot be included in a single location.