Recording a Mining Claim or Site
As established by Section 314 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), as amended, claims and sites must be recorded with the proper BLM state office within 90 days of the date of location and recorded with the proper county in accordance with their requirements. In Alaska, claims and sites can also be recorded with the BLM district office located in Fairbanks.
County: State laws require filing the original location notice or certificate in the county recorder’s office, county clerk’s office, or borough office. The proper county or borough is the one in which the claim or site is located. Each state has its own requirement for when a location notice must be filed and recorded. The maximum period is 90 days from the staking of a claim or site on the ground. However, some states require earlier filings, such as 30 or 60 days from the date of location. Location notices must contain the following basic information (43 CFR 3832, Subpart A, and 43 CFR 3833, Subpart A):
- The date of location on the ground;
- The names and individual mailing addresses of the locator(s);
- The name of the claim or site;
- The type of claim or site (lode or placer claim or mill site or tunnel site;)
- The acreage claimed; and
- A description of the parcel on the ground Local printing companies, office supply stores, stationery stores, appropriate state agencies, and BLM offices are some sources where state location notices and certificate forms might be obtained.
BLM: FLPMA (43 U.S.C. § 1744) requires claimants to file a copy of the official record of notice or certificate of location with the BLM within 90 days after the date of location. Claimants must record any amendments (changes) in claim boundaries and any changes in ownership with the BLM. Claimants are also required to submit a map of the claim or site boundaries. Other documents filed under state law must also accompany the copy of the official record filed with the BLM. Even if state law does not require recording, claimants must still file the proper documents with the BLM.
Federal recording regulations in 43 CFR 3833 specify the information required. These requirements may also be obtained from BLM state or field offices. A nonrefundable processing fee is required to record each new location, along with a location fee and initial maintenance fee. These fees are due at the time of recording. See Table 1 for the schedule of fees. FLPMA requires a finding of abandonment if claimants fail to record with the BLM, county, or borough within the prescribed 90-day period. A separate location notice must be used for each mining claim, mill, or tunnel site.
Amendments and Transfers of Interest: Legal interest in a properly recorded mining claim or site may be conveyed in its entirety or in part (this is governed by state law). Generally, a quitclaim deed or other type of recordable conveyance document is needed for this transfer of legal interest (43 CFR 3833, Subpart C). An amended location notice is necessary to show changes in the description of a claim or site but cannot be used for a transfer of ownership (43 CFR 3833, Subpart B). Transfer and amendment documents must be filed with the proper county and BLM state office. Amendment documents must be filed with the proper BLM state office within 90 days after the amendment is recorded with the county office. The BLM requires a nonrefundable processing fee to file amendments and transfers of interest for each mining claim or site. See Table 1 for the schedule of fees. Failure to file a transfer of interest will result in the BLM only recognizing the last owner of record as the responsible party for maintaining the mining claim or site. No notification of any action or contest initiated by the United States will be served on the new owners until the transfer of interest is filed with the BLM. Failure to file the transfer of interest provides no legal defense against failure to be properly served.
(NOTE: IF YOU PURCHASE, INHERIT, OR OTHERWISE OBTAIN MINING CLAIMS OR SITES THAT ARE SUBJECT TO A WAIVER: YOU MUST ALSO QUALIFY FOR THE WAIVER IN ORDER FOR THE BLM TO CONTINUE TO APPLY THE WAIVER TO THE CLAIMS/SITES YOU HAVE RECEIVED IN A TRANSFER, OR IF YOU DO NOT QUALIFY FOR THE WAIVER YOU MUST PAY THE ANNUAL MAINTENANCE FEE BY SEPTEMBER 1 FOLLOWING THE DATE THE TRANSFER BECAME EFFECTIVE UNDER STATE LAW.)
Abandonment or Relinquishment: If claimants abandon a mining claim or site or relinquish it to the Federal Government, they should file a notice with the proper county or borough office and the BLM state office. No particular form is required; a letter is acceptable. Be sure to include the claim or site name and the BLM serial number. There is no fee to file these documents.
Change of Address: If you move or have a change of address, you should notify the proper BLM state office and provide your new mailing address. There is no fee to file a change of address.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has developed the Mineral & Land Records System (MLRS) to replace the Legacy Rehost 2000 (LR2000) case management system, Alaska Land Information System (ALIS – but note that Alaska records are not available in MLRS at this time), and official land status records (e.g., Master Title Plats, Historical Indices, Tract Books). The MLRS mining claims module was released on January 25, 2021.
MLRS offers various reports providing public mining claims information. To view these reports, visit https://reports.blm.gov/reports/MLRS/.