What is a Mining Claim?


The Federal Mining Acts give the right for American Citizens to prospect for, and discover, valuable mineral deposits on the public lands. If those public lands are open to location the prospector who discovers valuable minerals has the right to claim that mineral deposit. Once that deposit is claimed that portion of the public land is closed to other prospectors and miners. The claimant has an exclusive right to the minerals found as long as they maintain their right by making annual recordings and filings and by paying fees.

Knowing the current status of mining claims is a critical part of understanding the land status in any given area of the public lands. As well as mining claims these maps have a Land Status layer and a PLSS layer to help you research and visualize the current land status. These maps should not be relied on to be current. Mining locators have 90 days after making their location to publicly record their claim and give the BLM notice of that recording. Additional time should be anticipated before the State BLM office updates the records on the LR2000 database that is used to create these maps.

The mining claims represented on these maps are only displayed to the nearest section and DO NOT display the actual claim location. Sections are about one square mile and actual mining claim locations can vary considerably from their mapped location.

The only way to determine an actual claim location is to obtain the County Recorder Location Notice and amendments for the claim in question, study the mapped location and then find the location marker on the ground. Members of the public and other prospectors do not have the right to determine whether an existing claim location is valid, only a court of record can make that determination.


Basic Map Use

Click on a category on the right hand menu. A list will open below the menu item. When you scroll over the list items they will highlight in green. Click on the highlighted item of your choice and the map for that item will open in a new window.

All of the maps are interactive Each map is created when you click the refresh (two arrows chasing each other), move the map or zoom in or out. Pick the layers you want to display and zoom in to see more detail. Use the information button (the big i) to see more information about the features near your click point. Within the results shown there are often links to even more detailed information.

If there is a particular map subject you would like us to include in the collection just let us know and we will do our best to put that together for you.

For More Information on using Land Matters Maps Click on the "HOW TO USE MAPS" button on the right and follow the links there or click on the "HELP" button at the top of each mapping window.