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.


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. 

MLRS Reports

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

Special Filing Procedures

Power Site Withdrawals

The Mining Claims Rights Restoration Act of 1955 provides, with certain restrictions, for mining, developing, and utilizing the mineral resources of all public lands withdrawn or reserved for power development. The claimant must file a certificate of location marked to indicate that the mining claim is being filed pursuant to the Act of August 11, 1955, the Act of April 8, 1948, by making a notation on the certificate of location which states “Filed under PL 359.” 

Mining claimants who locate placer claims pursuant to PL 359 regulations may not conduct any mining operations for 60 days after filing the certificate of location with the BLM. 

Upon receipt of a certificate of location filed under PL 359, the BLM will send a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as well as the surface management agency of the land to inquire as to the status of any energy related projects currently active in which placer mining operations would substantially interfere. 

The FERC and the surface management agency have 60 days in which to respond to our request to allow placer mining in the area.   

If it is determined that placer operations may substantially interfere with other uses, a notice of intention to hold a hearing will be sent to each of the locators by registered or certified mail within 60 days from the date of filing of the certificate of location. The notice will indicate the time and place of the hearing. Further information on claims filed under PL 359 may be found at 43 CFR 3730.

Stock Raising Homestead Act Lands

Public Law 103-23, amendment to the 1916 Stock Raising Homestead Act, requires anyone wishing to explore land subject to the SRHA for the purpose of staking a mining claim to first file a Notice of Intent to Locate a Mining Claim (NOITL) with the appropriate BLM State Office. BLM carries a form (Form 3830-3) for filing a NOITL on SRHA land. A nonrefundable filing fee of $40 must accompany the NOITL.

Claimants must file a NOITL prior to entering SRHA land to explore for minerals, or to locate mining claims. Filing a NOITL segregates the land from all forms of appropriation for 90-days for the party filing the NOITL. If you own the surface estate of SRHA lands and want to explore or locate a mining claim on the Federally-reserved mineral estate, you do not need to file a NOITL.  A NOITL must contain the following information:

Statutory Information

The following statutory information must be included with the NOITL:

  1. Name and mailing address of the NOITL applicant (Note: phone number is not a statutory requirement); and
  2. Complete legal description of entire area covered by the NOITL. The legal description shall be based on the public land survey or another type of description that is sufficient to note the NOITL to the land status records.

The information above is mandatory statutory information that is required before the 90-day segregation of the land becomes effective.

If any of the statutory information is missing, the NOITL will not be posted to the land status records, or in the public room until all the statutory information is received.

Regulatory Information

The NOITL must include the following regulatory information:

  1. $40.00 Service Fee;
  2. Proof of surface ownership. A copy of the county records showing who is paying the taxes on the property is sufficient proof of ownership. A certificate of title or proof of title insurance will also be accepted;
  3. A copy of the certified mail receipt card proving the surface owner was served a copy of the NOITL;
  4. The telephone number of the surface owner, if available. If not available the claimant must submit a letter to BLM, dated and signed, outlining the steps taken to locate the number.
  5. The telephone number of the claimant;
  6. Total number of acres covered by the NOITL;
  7. Brief description of proposed mineral activity; and
  8. Map showing access routes.
Land Covered by the NOITL

NOITLs are assigned serial numbers and noted on the official land status records.

All land covered by a NOITL must be owned by the same person or group of people. In order for one NOITL to be accepted for multiple surface owners, all owners must jointly own the land described in the NOITL.

A separate NOITL is required for different surface owners.

Each claimant is allowed 1280 acres covered by NOITLs per surface owner. The maximum acreage that may be covered by NOITLs for a single claimant is 6400 acres statewide.

Segregation Period

The 90-day segregation period begins the day after the NOITL is received by BLM with all the required mandatory statutory information. The 90-day segregation period ends on the 90th day, even if it falls on a weekend or a holiday.

Exploration & Location of Mining Claims

The claimant must wait 30 days after the date the surface owner receives notice by registered or certified mail to begin exploration and staking claims. The claimant is not allowed to enter the land covered by the NOITL during this 30-day period. The claimant may explore and stake mining claims during the 90-day segregation period as long as the 30-day waiting period after the surface owner received proper notice has passed[SSI1] .

Plan of Operation (PoO) & Bonding

After the segregation period has ended, a mining claimant or operator may not conduct mineral activities unless the following conditions are met:

  1. Written consent from the surface owner(s); or
  2. An approved plan of operations from BLM.

A plan of operation will be filed with the appropriate BLM Field Office pursuant to the standards described at 43 CFR 3809. Within 60 days of its receipt, the BLM Field Office will approve the plan, or notify the claimant/operator of any deficiencies. The 60-day period may be extended by BLM  if necessary to comply with other applicable requirements of law.

The BLM will prepare the necessary environmental document and estimate the financial guarantee amounts. The financial guarantee will include costs necessary to reclaim the surfaces, compensation for any permanent damages to crops and tangible improvements of the surface owner that resulted from mineral activities; and compensation for any permanent loss of income of the surface owner due to loss or impairment of grazing, or other uses of the land by the surface owner. A fee will be paid by the operator to the surface owner(s), determined by the BLM,  to compensate for the loss of income to the surface owner due to the loss or impairment of existing surface uses for the duration of the mineral activities.

Mining Claims Recorded in Connection with a NOITL 
  1. The location date of the claims must be 30 days after the surface owner signed the certified card and when statutory requirements are met and before the 90-day segregation period expired.
  2. The legal description(s) on the location certificate(s) must be within the legal description given on the NOITL.
  3. The location, recording, and maintenance of mining claims on SRHA land are the same as for other open public domain land.
Pre-Act Mining Claims (Non-Exempt)

Claims that were located and recorded with BLM on SRHA land prior to the April 16, 1993, amendment were not completely exempt. 

  1. Pre-Act claims do not require BLM intervention if surface owner and claimant have an agreement on mining operations.
  2. Pre-Act operations with a BLM bond outstanding are subject to BLM review, but only if surface owner requests it.
  3. Pre-Act claims with no pre-act operations will need either surface owner consent filed with BLM, or to file a Plan of Operation (Plan) and go through the new approval process for use authorization of a Plan.

The claimant needs to submit a letter to BLM stating that the claimant has the consent of the surface owner to operate and that no BLM intervention is necessary. The surface owner must sign this letter. BLM does not need to know the details of the agreement(s).