Mining Law of 1872
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There are three basic types of FEDERAL minerals on Federal lands: locatable, leasable, and salable. These minerals have been defined by Federal laws, regulations, and legal decisions. This pamphlet discusses only locatable minerals.

The major Federal law governing locatable minerals is the Mining Law of 1872 (May 10, 1872), as amended (30 U.S.C. 22-54).
This law provides citizens of the United States the opportunity to explore for, discover, and purchase certain valuable mineral deposits on those Federal lands that remain open for that purpose.
These minerals include metallic minerals and certain nonmetallic minerals. The law also sets general standards and guidelines for claiming the possessory rights to valuable minerals discovered during exploration.

Other provisions provide for the enactment of State laws that are consistent with Federal law. Therefore, most States have enacted laws that prescribe the manner of locating and recording mining claims, tunnel sites, and mill sites on Federal lands within their boundaries.

The Mining Law of 1872, as amended, has five elements:
(1) discovery of a valuable mineral deposit,
(2) location of mining claims and sites,
(3) recordation of mining claims and sites,
(4) maintenance (annual work/surface management) of mining claims and sites, and
(5) mineral patents.

The Mining Law Administration program managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) involves primarily the last three elements: recordation, maintenance (annual work/surface management), and mineral patents. Surface management on National Forest System lands is administered by the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture.
The activities associated with the first two elements are carried out by the claimant.

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*This article was taken from a public online brochure found on the BLM website

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