Stock Raising Homestead Act

There are specific procedures for locatable mineral exploration and development on split estate land. Split estate land is land where the surface was patented under the Homestead Act entries, and the minerals were reserved to the United States under the Stock Raising Homestead Act (SRHA) of 1916.

Public Law 103-23, amendment to the 1916 SRHA, 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 for filing a NOITL on SRHA land, however, a specific form is not required. A nonrefundable filing fee of $30 must accompany the NOITL.

Claimants must file a NOITL (Form 3830-3) 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. A NOITL must contain the following information:

*NOTE: 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.

Statutory Information

The following statutory information must be included with the NOITL:

  1. Surface owner name and address;
  2. Claimant name and address;
  3. Legal description of the land covered by the NOITL. The legal description shall be based on the public land survey or other sufficient description so that the NOITL can be noted to the public land status records;
  4. A map of the land subject to mineral exploration; and
  5. Dates of when exploration and/or location of claims will begin and end.

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. $30.00 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 Historial Index (HI).

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 the NOITL is received by BLM. The segregation period will not begin until all of the statutory requirements are met. The NOITL is noted on the HI during the 90-day segregation period.  

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 signs the certified card 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.

Plan of Operation (PoO) & Bonding

After mining claims are staked, 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 (PoO) 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 PoO, or notify the claimant/operator of any deficiencies in the PoO. The 60-day time frame to approve the PoO 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 PoO 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 PoO.  

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 land are not reclaimed to pre-mining agricultural production levels.  

An annual surface use payment is required to be paid to the surface owner(s), based upon fair market value of the land.

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-Grandfathered)

Claims that were located and recorded with BLM on SRHA land 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).