By: J.C. Allen
Hey, hey fellow prospectors!! This is JC, welcome to another episode of The Gold Prospecting Show! In this episode, I’m going to change things up a little bit, and are going to cover how to file a gold mining claim.
Telling The Government Where To Find Your Gold Using Their Survey System
What everything’s based off of, how you do it, I spent a lot of time here last week at the County recorder’s office going through it, so hopefully I can make it easier for you because we’re all prospecting hoping to find the mother lode and what you do that, you got a file a claim which means doing a lot of things with paperwork!
Anyways here we go let’s get started at the kick it off it’s going feel little bit like Yosemite Sam fallen off the cliff, you’re going deep into the paperwork hole but it’s not that bad!
This is a transcription of my recent How To File A Gold Mining Claim After You Know Where To Find Gold Part 1! Listen to the audio version here.
I tell you in fact the reason why I was at the recorder’s office is week was I’d stumbled across a newspaper article about a bachelor dying on an old ranch here locally and I was just curious how long had he lived on the ranch you know what exactly what the history was because I do metal detect as well for my prospecting looking for old coins and interesting relics and things like that and thought hey here’s a guy died with no family let me see what I can find.
Well it turns out that the ranch the guy was on, was this guy’s original homestead he got the first water right certification back in 1913 and when he died he had lost possession of the ranch for back taxes or a mortgage that he was unable to pay off, which obviously says that it might not be much coin around there but maybe he was keeping his coin as working capital.
That’s the other thing I was thinking if you can borrow money and a lot of people do that today even if they have the money to to buy something out right they will actually go and finance it. I’m not one of those people but you know the guys may have been keeping their cash for of those times where they really needed it.
But anyways this guide homesteaded on this ranch from 1913 until the time he died in 1930 because even the guy who got the ranch from him let him stay there in the house so…I’m going to try to track that down a little bit further see if I can find some more information on that one!
The One Stop Shop For Learning About Property Ownership for Filing Your Mining Claims or Other Purposes
But anyways back to the County recorder’s office I’m also going to put this up as a video and as I walk through things if you want a reference that just go to “e Gold Prospecting .com/12”, that’s the number 12, and it’ll take you to all of the pictures and resources in the video once I get that up as well so you can actually see what I’m talking about.
The County recorder’s office essentially is the place to go whether your metal detecting or gold prospecting! If you are metal detecting you’ve got a go in there to find property ownership and other things to up to track down who owns a piece of land for you to get on and prospect, which will be something that I’m doing here in the little bit with that ancient homestead, not ancient, but heck that was 100 years ago now, so I guess it’s getting up there in age.
If you are doing any gold mining as well you have to do that same process. And all of that is based off of the public land survey system. Now that was a system that was set up back in 1851 and essentially everything that was developed since then is based off of this survey system. It is essentially a way for the government to lay out, lineup, and track everything and according to Wikipedia that’s just a quick spot that I went to get just the basics for us the details.
Public Land Survey System (PLSS) Governs Your Ability To Know Where To Find Your Gold & Stake Your Own Claim
I know how it, the PLSS, all works but to to explain it makes it a little bit easier to have something in front of you but starting about Ohio and then drifting down the Ohio River through Illinois Indiana and down the Mississippi across Alabama and down in the Florida everything, except the original 13 colonies it looks like, was laid out with this public land survey system.
It’s based off of meridians and a Meridian is a agreed-upon line running north-south that everything is based off of them and there’s a point of beginning and everything references off of that. So all of your townships all of your ranges all of your sections and everything is based off of that here in more than three quarters of the landmass of the country.
What it they have done is, they use that to then track property ownership and when people were homesteading they would come in and the 160 acres was a quarter section so a section was 640 acres so a quarter section would be 160 acres and that’s what they were homesteading on. Once they proved it up they were able to I get a land patent on it, which is something that I found for this this guy here in the local area and those are all available there in the recorder’s office.
A Township is broken up into 36 sections so each quarter section obviously is in there so whatever number that is, 36×4, is the number of homesteads that could of been in a section. One thing that I was looking at was here locally a lot of the homesteads…they were everywhere so guys would be homesteading as much as they could. Now all of that is been bought up and acquired by older families who did not go into debt, didn’t have to mortgage their properties, and in fact have been able to accumulate up to you know 2000 to 3000 acres of land out here for running cattle.
Those homesteads right now there’s one owner but each homestead each hundred and 60 acres or so had a house it had a laundry line it had things like that.
So that’s the background of the public land survey and what I want to do now is run you through the actual step-by-step process of filing a gold mining claim!
That’s little bit of the background now were just going diving the details for little bit I’m not going to go too long and to this I don’t want bore you to death and risk you driving off the road if you’re driving at the same time but it’s not too bad!
Why Is Filing A Gold Claim Relevant? Oh, you mean other than to keep the profits from knowing where to find gold??
Like I said when we find something that we want to file on there’s a process to follow and I’ll go through that here right now! Precisely why we are getting ready to file a claim, we want to know exactly where other things are claimed, what’s available for claiming, because claim jumping is a serious crime!!
Make sure you even if you’re just gold prospecting that your maintaining your respect for someone else’s gold claim, so it’s always good to know especially if you’re in the active gold areas exactly where things are claimed. There is not a whole lot claimed in my neighborhood until you about two hours away so we can pretty much prospect everywhere! But I did find I like a said two years ago when I started prospecting went right to where an old mining claim was!
How To File Your Own Gold Mining Claim Step One
So the process is pretty straightforward but it can still be difficult and what we’re doing is filing claims on unpatented ground. Essentially it’s ground that the federal government owns and in the mining law of 1872 is the governing law that still governs today!
That is the federal law governing locatable minerals and it declared that all valuable mineral deposits in land belonging to United States to be free and open to exploration and purchase the law provides that citizens the United States the opportunity to explore for, discover, and purchase certain valuable mineral deposits on public domain minerals.
The different staking requirements for the different type of gold (or any mineral) mining claims…
This law was modified a little bit in 1976 and really it didn’t affect the recordation of the process of recording and maintaining claims, but it did require everybody to file claims with BLM. Ever since then the BLM’s been recording them in addition to the County recorder sites and that’s for the BLM to keep track of locations the number of unpatented mining claims, mill sites, and tunnel sites.
Two Types of Mining Claims
- Lode Claims – Deposits subject to lode claims include classic veins or lodes having well-defined boundaries. They also include other rock in-place bearing valuable minerals and may be broad zones of mineralized rock. Examples include quartz or other veins bearing gold or other metallic minerals and large volume, but low-grade disseminated gold deposits. Descriptions are by metes and bounds surveys beginning at the discovery point on the claim and including a reference to natural objects or permanent monuments. Federal statute limits their size to a maximum of 1500 feet in length, and a maximum width of 600 feet (300 feet on either side of the vein).
- Placer Claims – Placer claims are defined as “…including all forms of deposit, excepting veins of quartz, or other rock in-place.” In other words every deposit, not located with a lode claim, should be appropriated by a placer location. Placer claims, where practicable, are located by legal subdivision (aliquot part and complete lots). The maximum size is 20 acres per locator, and the maximum for an association placer is 160 acres for 8 or more locators. The maximum size in Alaska is 40 acres. The maximum size for a corporation is 20 acres per claim. Corporations may not locate association placers unless they are in association with other locators or corporations as co-locators.
Two Other Types of Mineral Entries
- Mill Sites – A mill site must be located on “nonmineral land” and must be noncontiguous to the lode or placer with which it is associated. Its purpose is to support a lode or placer mining operation. A mill site must include the erection of a mill or reduction works and/or may include other uses in support of a mining operation. Descriptions are by metes and bounds if on unsurveyed land and by legal subdivision if on surveyed land (described the same as placer claims). The maximum size is 5 acres.
- Tunnel Sites – A tunnel site is a subsurface right-of-way under Federal land open to mineral entry. It is used for access to lode mining claims or to explore for blind or undiscovered veins, lodes, or ledges not currently claimed or known to exist on the surface. A tunnel site can be up to 3,000 feet in length.
Those are all different levels of gold mining claims are all sort of involved together but a mining claim is a parcel of land for which the claimant has asserted a right of possession and the right to develop and extract a discovered valuable mineral deposit and it does not include other exclusive rights, such as oil & gas leases and other things.
Locatable minerals include both metallic minerals as are your gold, silver, lead, and nonmetallic minerals feldspars, asbestos, mica, and other things that are valuable. They do note here on the BLM site that it’s nearly impossible to list all locatable minerals because of the complexity of legal requirements for discovery but when you find something that you want to claim on the first thing you need to do is determine the land status!
Knowing Where To Find Your Own Gold
Essentially do an LR 2000 search. See if anything is available and in fact I would probably recommend if you’re at that level we want to actually file a claim your first stop should be to the County recorder’s office!!
Each and every year somebody has to file and record that they did their assessment work with both the BLM as well as the County recorder’s office. The LR 2000 is very slow to update!!
That was one thing that Mel with Frontier Gold Prospecting down in Arizona told me, is that the BLM could be 6 to 8 weeks behind!!
Alright, so we want to determine land status first! Is it open for claiming? Are mineral claims are or are not allowed? Is it already claimed or not?
Stay Tuned for: Cross Filing or Over Staking Gold Claims…It happens
Read the rest in our series:
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