Procedures for Locating and Recording Mining
Claims and Tunnel Sites on Stock Raising 
Homestead Act (SRHA) Lands

Stock Raising Homestead Act (SRHA) of December 29, 1916, as amended (30 U.S.C. 54 and 43 U.S.C. 299) by the Act of April 16, 1993, Public Law 103-23, and 43 CFR 3838, requires special procedures that must be complied with by claimants prior to locating mining claims on land where the surface is patented and the minerals are reserved to the United States and are disposed under the (SRHA).  

The claimant must submit a Notice of Intent to Locate (NOITL) (BLM Form 3830-3), along with a non-refundable processing fee with the proper Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State Office.  Filing a NOITL segregates the land from all forms of appropriation for 90-days. 

The claimant must serve a copy of the NOITL on the surface owner(s) of record, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested.  The notice shall be provided at least 30 days before entering the lands described in the NOITL and shall contain the following information:

  1. A brief description of the proposed mineral activities;
  2. A map and legal description of the lands to be subject to mineral exploration;
  3. The name, address and phone number of the person managing such activities; and 
  4. A statement of the dates on which such activities will take place.  

A NOITL (BLM Form 3830-3) must contain the following information: 

Statutory Information 

  1. Processing fee (nonrefundable);
  2. Name(s) and mailing address(s) of the NOITL applicant/agent; and 
  3. 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 information that is required before the 90-day segregation period begins and before the NOITL can be posted in the information access center and noted to the public land records.

Regulatory Information 

  1. The name(s) and mailing address(s) and telephone numbers(s) of the affected surface owner(s); 
  2. Total number of acres to the nearest whole acre;
  3. Evidence of surface ownership which can be a current copy of the County Assessor's receipt listing the legal description and person or company paying property taxes, or county tax documents or a title insurance document;          
  4. A copy of the certified/registered card showing proof of service on the surface owner.  If the surface owner refuses service of the NOITL, or the NOITL is returned by the United States Postal Service (USPS) as "unclaimed," the applicant must submit proof to the BLM that the applicant attempted service.  To prove attempted service, the applicant must send the BLM either (1) the envelope used to mail the NOITL to the surface owner and clearly marked "refused" or "unclaimed" by the USPS, or (2) a statement from the USPS stating they attempted delivery on specific dates.  Proof of service, refused or unclaimed service, or last attempted delivery is the date of the USPS notation on the certified/registered card or the date of the card's return to the sender, whichever is earlier.  Pursuant to the SRHA amendment, service is made to the address of record noted in the county tax records.  In accordance with 43 CFR 1810.2(b), refusal of service is deemed served - under our regulations; 
  5. A brief description of proposed mineral activity, including the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the person who will be managing the activities;
  6. A list of the dates on which the proposed mineral activity will take place;
  7. A map that corresponds to the legal description of the lands in the NOITL and includes existing access routes proposed to be used for casual use exploration purposes, primary area of interest, and types of activities to be conducted;
  8. If an agent filed the NOITL on behalf of another party, proof that the agent is authorized to act on behalf of the other party;
  9. Telephone number(s) of everyone filing the NOITL; and
  10. The patent number associated with the lands in the NOITL and the county and state where the land is located.   

Land covered by the NOITL

All land covered by the NOITL must be owned by the same person or group of people.  If you have multiple owners in the area, you must have a separate NOITL for each land owner.  A claimant is allowed 1280 acres covered by an NOITL per surface owner in any one state.  The maximum acreage covered by NOITL's (multiple surface owners) for a single claimant is 6400 acres in any one state. 

Segregation Period  

The 90-day segregation period begins after a complete NOITL containing statutory information and the processing fee is received and accepted by the BLM, then the NOITL is posted in the information access center and noted to the public land records.

The 90-day segregation period ends on the 90th day, even if it falls on a weekend or a holiday.

Exploration and Location of Mining Claims 

The claimant must wait 30 days from the date the surface owner is served with the NOITL (owner signs the certified card) and when statutory requirements are met 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 remainder of the 90-day segregation period, approximately 60 days.

Changes in Surface Owners of SRHA Lands

If the surface owner transfers all or part of the surface to a new owner after you have already recorded a NOITL with the BLM and served it on the surface owner, you do not have to serve a copy of the NOITL on the new surface owners.

Plan of Operation (Plan) and Bonding

After mining claims are staked, a mining claimant or operator may not conduct mineral activities except under the following conditions:  

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

A plan of operations will be filed in 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 in the plan. The 60-day time frame to approve the plan may be extended for an unspecified amount of time, if necessary to comply with other applicable requirements of law.  

The State Office will be notified of a plan if filed within the 90-day segregation period. The 90-day segregation period may be extended by at least 60 days, if additional time is required to comply with other applicable requirements of law.  

The appropriate BLM Field Office will determine the bond amount, prepare the necessary environmental document and estimated reclamation costs for the plan.  

A reclamation bond shall be filed and maintained with the BLM State Office, pending final reclamation of the project area. The State Office will receive, adjudicate, accept, and release financial guarantees (bonds), and collect on forfeitures.  

The operator or mining claimant(s) shall post fees in amounts sufficient to cover tangible losses incurred by the surface owner during operations and permanent losses that may result if the lands are not reclaimed to pre-mining agricultural production levels.  

An annual rental payment is required to be paid to the surface owner(s), based upon fair market rental conditions.

Mining Claims Recorded in Connection with a NOITL 

  1. The claimant must have an approved NOITL on file for the land claimed.
  2. The legal description(s) on the location certificate(s) must be within the legal description given on the NOITL.
  3. 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.

NOTE:  The name of the person or company filing the NOITL does not have to match the name on the notice of location as an agent could be filing for the actual locators.  

After your NOITL expires, you are not allowed to submit another NOITL for the same lands until 30 days after the expiration of the previously-filed NOITL.

Surface Owners of SRHA Land  

The owner of patented surface affected by the Act is not required to file a NOITL. The only requirement of the surface owner is to provide proof of surface ownership.  This can be accomplished by providing a copy of the tax records or title evidence documents.

Pre-Act Mining Claims (Non-Grandfathered)  

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

  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 he/she 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).