Mining Law of 1872


Explanation of Discovery

Locatable Minerals

Locatable minerals include both metallic minerals (gold, silver, lead, etc.) and nonmetallic minerals (fluorspar, asbestos, mica, etc.). It is very difficult to prepare a complete list of locatable minerals because the history of the law has resulted in a definition of minerals that includes economics.
Also, certain minerals have been formally excluded from the operation of the law. Starting in 1873, the Department of the Interior began to define locatable minerals as those minerals that make the land more valuable because of their existence, are recognized as a mineral by the standard experts, and are not subject to disposal under some other law.
Locatable type minerals on most lands acquired (purchased or received) by the United States and on Indian reservations are leasable.
Therefore, it is easier to list minerals that are not locatable because of the complexities listed above.

Since 1955, common varieties of sand, gravel, stone, pumice, pumicite, cinders and ordinary clay are salable, not locatable.
Use of salable minerals requires either a sales contract or a free use permit.
Disposals of salable minerals from BLM administered lands are regulated by Title 43, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 3600. Sales are at the estimated fair market value.

A free use permit may be issued to a Government agency or a nonprofit organization.
Disposals from National Forest System lands are regulated by Title 36 CFR Subpart C, 228.40.
On National Forest System lands, you may need a special use permit from the Forest Service.

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

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