Does the Government Have Free Mining Claims Available?


Quick Answer

As of 2016, the Bureau of Land Management requires citizens with new mining claims to pay a $20 processing fee, a $37 location fee and a $155 maintenance charge for 20 acres. The maintenance fee is an annual charge, while the other two are one-time-only charges. Claimants must pay an additional annual fee of $155 for each additional 20 acres. The BLM offers waivers to individuals who state they plan to work the claim for the year, per the BLM.

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Full Answer

The government requires all new mining claims to be registered with the state BLM office within 90 days of the claim's discovery, and claimants must also file with the appropriate county recording office. Individuals with fewer than 10 claims may file a waiver for annual maintenance fees, provided they perform $100 worth of labor. The BLM charges a $10 filing fee for waivers. Those with more than 10 claims must pay maintenance fees, as stated on the BLM website.

The BLM recognizes mining claims on federal lands, and categorizes each according to the type of mining performed at the location. A lode site occurs between rock walls, and cannot be more than 1,500 by 600 feet. A placer mine is an open mineral deposit in gravel or sand. Tunnel sites require tunneling to access a mineral lode. Miners establish mill sites to process minerals acquired through mining activities, according to the BLM website.

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