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Bill Southern    1,093

You guys have no idea how much education you regurgitate in these discussions, for one I thank you. Carry on......

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LukeJ    485

I agree with Bill.  

Very informative....   Thanks guys

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homefire    1,543

1 / The real property of the mineral estate is transferred when you monument and stake your location homefire. It is at that moment your personal property and will remain your property as long as you occupy and maintain your claim. There is no waiting period or agency approval involved. The serial number only designates a particular case file at that State BLM office.

***  Ok, I  locate a Placer.   I Monument  , stake out my Claim claim corners to the Approved 20 Acres.    At this point your saying Occupying and maintaining , Doing improvements I Own the Mineral Rights?   What Document of Ownership / Title do I have without BLM Records ?  

2 / The serial number has no connection to mineral rights. There are BLM serial numbers with associated case files for many types of cases besides mining claims. Look around the LR2000 and you will see case files with serial numbers for many different reasons.

*** This I understand.  Many types of Claims.  Tunnel, Smelting , Placer, Load or what ever.

3 / The valuable mineral deposits on the public lands open to location are reserved for prospectors and locators. The BLM can't have mining claims nor can it sell or lease valuable mineral deposits. The surface of a mining claim belongs to the United States until it is patented. Until then the BLM has a minor duty to the surface estate. They are tasked only with preventing undue or unnecessary damage to the surface resources. The BLM's other functions are administrative only - not political or ministerial.

*** This is the one I'm having issues with.   Administration by the BLM.   Without Filing  Location Notice,  Small Miners Waiver, Intent to Hold if over a year, County Declaration Recording of said claim I have no Claim.   Failure to File any of the above documents and BLM Invalidates my Claim.   They hold Title / Control of the Surface Resources. How can I retain my Authority over the Mineral Rights at this point ?  You don't.  Someone else comes along and files the Appropriate Documents and now are the Bona Fide Owners to said Mineral Rights.  Correct ?

4 / All appropriation of valuable minerals on the public lands open to location are self initiated by regular citizens under the grant from Congress. The BLM can not and does not have a hand in that appropriation. They can not approve or disapprove valuable mineral ownership on those lands.

***   Back to Number 3     If in fact the BLM   can't Approve ,  disapprove  said mining claim How can they Invalidate my claim?  If My claim lapses long enough they List on LR2000 as Closed and it's open for discovery yet again.  I hold no Claim . 

 

 

 

Now it's OFFICIAL !  I'm Fuddled !

Edited by homefire
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Micro Nugget    200

When Mark Twain once described a mining claim he likened it to a hole in the ground with a liar standing next to it.  Truth be told, the historic evidence is very strong indeed that liars, cheats and scoundrels abound in the precious metal economy.  Gone are the days that disputes are settled by a lynch mob.  Nope, these days the two main choices a fellow has consist either of a common sense resolution or an expensive trip to the courthouse.  And its not just ANY courthouse.  The journey will start at a COUNTY courthouse that will look at what the County Recorder's records say and great weight will be given to what is recorded there.  So the lesson here is, IF you decide to go the claim filing route, then do your due diligence and comply with the claim filing AND recording rules if you want the protection of the law and are willing to pay the price of justice.  Just don't be too shocked at what that price may consist of.

Let's say on one fine day after ten or twenty years of working your butt off looking for El Dorado your metal detector finally uncovers a BIG pocket on open ground.  I mean HEFTY chunks of caliche encrusted cobbles that reveal hundreds of shiny points of gold that wink at your disbelieving eyes as you pour some water and rub your shaky thumbs over them.  You face some immediate decisions.  Your spot is 15 or 20 miles into the boonies from the nearest paved road and then its another 20 or 30 miles to the next town.  You've noticed other vehicles in the surrounding area, but they are a mile or more from your spot.  Are you going to erect a stone cairn, scribble out a location notice and then rush to the Recorder's Office?

Answer #1:  Heck yeah you are because there is enough serious gold at stake and you want the protection of the law.

Answer #2:  No way!  You decide to work in stealth mode hoping to  pull out as much as you can before somebody notices.

As a PRACTICAL matter, which way would you, dear reader, decide to go?  Might be interesting to hear some opinions.  What may seem obvious to one prospector may not appear so obvious or even make common sense to another.

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LipCa    185

Homefire...

" will remain your property as long as you occupy and maintain your claim. "

Filing your papers is part of maintaining your claim.... right? 

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LukeJ    485
1 hour ago, Micro Nugget said:

Answer #1:  Heck yeah you are because there is enough serious gold at stake and you want the protection of the law.

Answer #2:  No way!  You decide to work in stealth mode hoping to  pull out as much as you can before somebody notices.

As a PRACTICAL matter, which way would you, dear reader, decide to go?  Might be interesting to hear some opinions.  What may seem obvious to one prospector may not appear so obvious or even make common sense to another.

Answer #2

I'd think that the more you pull out of the spot, the 'obvious stuff',  the more difficult it would be for the next guy to even make a discovery. 

Not everyone is a 'pro'.  (Whatever that means)

Of course you'd have to obscure things before you leave for the day.  Throw dirt back if necessary.   Maybe go at 'odd' times.

If it's a really rich discovery, and the pocket goes down past 'pick and shovel' depths.  Then file the claim and get some equipment.

All I know...    if I had found what you described...   I would be taking it out of there...  One Tacoma short bed at a time.

:fl:

Luke

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SanDomingoJim    218

I would have to go with choice #2 ...first, take the easy gettin gravy on top.  Second, conceal and work covertly if possible, and third file a claim on the remainder if circumstances permit it.    :brows:

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homefire    1,543

Held a claim by association for a number of years.  Never ran into any of the above issues.  Everyone sorta parted ways and it got relinquished due to the Lack of Interest.  Held just enough gold to play.  Some day maybe I'll have a go at it again.  It would have to be Payable to put up with all the chit.

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Desertpilot    89

I'm with SDJim and Luke,

If it's a small pocket or patch I would clean it out and press on. If it's a large deposit that will take some time to recover and I'd be able to back pack equipment into or drive to then I would stake a claim. I have two small patches waiting for cooler temps to clear and I'm not going to bother staking because they will be cleaned up by the time I get my paperwork back from BLM and filed with the county recorder.

DP

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clay    294
16 hours ago, homefire said:

1 / The real property of the mineral estate is transferred when you monument and stake your location homefire. It is at that moment your personal property and will remain your property as long as you occupy and maintain your claim. There is no waiting period or agency approval involved. The serial number only designates a particular case file at that State BLM office.

***  Ok, I  locate a Placer.   I Monument  , stake out my Claim claim corners to the Approved 20 Acres.    At this point your saying Occupying and maintaining , Doing improvements I Own the Mineral Rights?   What Document of Ownership / Title do I have without BLM Records ?  

2 / The serial number has no connection to mineral rights. There are BLM serial numbers with associated case files for many types of cases besides mining claims. Look around the LR2000 and you will see case files with serial numbers for many different reasons.

*** This I understand.  Many types of Claims.  Tunnel, Smelting , Placer, Load or what ever.

3 / The valuable mineral deposits on the public lands open to location are reserved for prospectors and locators. The BLM can't have mining claims nor can it sell or lease valuable mineral deposits. The surface of a mining claim belongs to the United States until it is patented. Until then the BLM has a minor duty to the surface estate. They are tasked only with preventing undue or unnecessary damage to the surface resources. The BLM's other functions are administrative only - not political or ministerial.

*** This is the one I'm having issues with.   Administration by the BLM.   Without Filing  Location Notice,  Small Miners Waiver, Intent to Hold if over a year, County Declaration Recording of said claim I have no Claim.   Failure to File any of the above documents and BLM Invalidates my Claim.   They hold Title / Control of the Surface Resources. How can I retain my Authority over the Mineral Rights at this point ?  You don't.  Someone else comes along and files the Appropriate Documents and now are the Bona Fide Owners to said Mineral Rights.  Correct ?

4 / All appropriation of valuable minerals on the public lands open to location are self initiated by regular citizens under the grant from Congress. The BLM can not and does not have a hand in that appropriation. They can not approve or disapprove valuable mineral ownership on those lands.

***   Back to Number 3     If in fact the BLM   can't Approve ,  disapprove  said mining claim How can they Invalidate my claim?  If My claim lapses long enough they List on LR2000 as Closed and it's open for discovery yet again.  I hold no Claim . 

 

 

 

Now it's OFFICIAL !  I'm Fuddled !

Your documents of ownership are the public records you make at the County Recorder. The Location notice and all your subsequent public records (labor, intent to hold, amendments, quitclaims, leases etc.) form your public record of your ownership. You will need that public record if you want to sell or patent your claim. If there is a court dispute over ownership your certified public records establishing your ownership will be recognized by the court as evidence of your ownership. You make your public record at the county and file your required informational notices with the BLM.

LipCa answered your question about maintenance of the claim. Your required annual Public Record, labor and BLM filings amount to maintenance. No maintenance = no claim. The BLM doesn't invalidate your claim if you fail to perform your required annual maintenance - without the required maintenance you abandon your claim. When you abandon your claim it becomes open to location. This has been true since long before the BLM was given the right to have informational notices in 1976. Abandonment of mining claims goes back thousands of years in mining custom and law.

The BLM has the right to extinguish abandoned mining claims from their ACTIVE status case files since 1976. They do this by changing the case file status to CLOSED. The case file still exists. Case files are never destroyed because they are a required timeline of public land status.  An order by an administrative (IBLA) or Federal court can cause the BLM to change the CLOSED case file status to ACTIVE. This happens a lot.

I hope this defuddles yur fuddling?

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homefire    1,543

Had a working knowledge of filing prior.   Have Filed all appropriate documents as required  just did not know the whole Nuts and Bolt of it all on the actual legal end. 

Thank You for the Incite.  If I should ever endeavor on the venture again I will be way better prepared.

 

Thank You.

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clay    294

A little history about the BLM and mining claims might help here.:4chsmu1:

The primary duty of the BLM is to maintain a current and historical timeline of public land status. They do this through the General Land Office which has been around since 1812 and was assigned  along with the Federal Grazing Service in 1946 to form the BLM. The BLM was not formed by an Act of Congress it was put together as an administrative agency by the Secretary of the Interior to assist in the duties of the Department of the Interior. It wasn't until 1976 with the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) that Congress gave the BLM any power beyond those already given to the General Land Office and the Grazing Service. The BLM is relatively new in American history and to this day it remains a Bureau of the Department of the Interior. The DOI is an executive (Presidential) department created to carry out the laws as passed by Congress. No executive department can create laws - they can only enforce laws passed by Congress.

The BLM complained to their boss the DOI for many years that they just didn't have enough resources to check the County Recorder every time they were asked by their boss to approve a right of way for a road or to facilitate the sale of sand and gravel etc. There were a lot of things the BLM was asked to do with the public lands that they couldn't legally do if there was a mining claim where they wanted to do it. For years the BLM would barge ahead with a new road or stock tank or powerline and get sued by the claim owner who didn't have a clue what was happening until a bulldozer showed up and started destroying their mining works. The claim owners would sue, and of course win. The DOI would get a rash from Congress because they weren't doing their job and it was costing a boatload of money to pay for the damages. The DOI would give the BLM a rash and the BLM would complain "we just didn't have enough resources..." Congress would approve more money and the whole cycle would start again. This only got worse over time as the 1955 Surface Materials Act promised to bring in a lot more money as long as the BLM did their job. By the 1960's things were really out of hand. The BLM was paying out more in court judgements than they were bringing in through grazing, leasing and sales. The court judgements and resulting bills were mounting. It wasn't just the miners but the groups that had paid for a right of way or grazing improvements that were suing for their losses too.

Congress got tired of throwing more money at a problem that wasn't getting fixed. By 1975 the proposal of pretty much closing the public lands to the people and putting them in the somewhat sometimes capable hands of the DOI and Forest Service became the current political fad. Congress was set to eliminate any possibility of the people getting any more public land and go to a system of leasing and sales. Welcome to the 70's and the advent of the modern environmental movement.

There was just one problem with the plan. Mining. Mining made the country rich. The scheme whereby the the miner footed the entire bill of prospecting doing discovery work, developing the deposit, mining, refining, transporting and marketing the valuable mineral of the public lands has worked really well. Get the little guy to take the risk and everyone benefits from the jobs and wealth created. Mining was a significant driver of the economy and if mining rights and patents were removed from the public lands the miners had no incentive to continue looking for undiscovered deposits. Taking all the risks and fronting all the capital and labor on the gamble of discovering a paying deposit just wasn't going to fly if the miner then had to pay for the minerals he had discovered.

So a master plan was put into effect. The public lands in the future would no longer belong to the people as they had since 1803. All the opportunities for citizens to get a piece of the public land pie would be abolished and the Federal government would take over ownership of the public lands from the people. There would be no more patents or settlement on the public lands. This was sold as preserving the lands for future generations but the real effect was to lock future generations out of the possibility of benefiting from the public lands, as their ancestors had always done. The new policy was preservation at any cost. Taxes were needed to pay for preservation so the lands that had made us a wealthy nation would be a net expense into the future instead of a net benefit.

The people of this nation paid for every square inch of the public lands many years ago. That payment was in the form of huge quantities of mined gold - two million ounces alone for the Louisiana Purchase and Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo and much more for Alaska, Gadsen etc. as well as millions of lifetimes of labor to improve homesteads and millions of men's blood to take the land through war. The people themselves, my ancestors and possibly yours, paid for these public lands. This wasn't done through taxation but though wars and sinking funds financed by land purchases. With one fell swoop in 1976 that was thrown out the door with this one statement of policy that is the opening line of the FLPMA.

Quote

The Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States that the public lands be retained in Federal ownership, unless as a result of the land use planning procedure provided for in this Act, it is determined that disposal of a particular parcel will serve the national interest.

Not yours anymore. It's the government's now unless the government wants to sell it. That simple. Or was it? There was still that sticky bit about mining being so valuable to the national interest. So Congress in their wisdom made one exception to taking the public lands from the people. The Mining Grant was to be preserved. Miners could still prospect, claim, mine and patent the public lands. This was the only freedom to take the public lands by claim of right and patent preserved out of nearly 50 other ways that had been valid just the day before. Only miners were allowed a little bit of the freedom the public had earned and enjoyed for nearly 200 years.

But... But... But the BLM said "we just don't have enough resources..." and an exception was made to that freedom. The BLM got the right to be informed directly by the claim owner that there was a current claim on the public land. If they didn't get the annual informational notice they were allowed to ignore the claim for planning purposes and the miner could not sue over damages. Instead of having to look up the public record like every other person and government employee the BLM was now entitled to a personal signed informational notice as to the status of the mining claim every year. Then there was the fact that with the passage of the FLPMA the law now said the public lands had to be protected from undue and unnecessary damage. Part of that whole preservation for the future thing the enviros wanted. So the BLM and the Forest Service were given the duty to keep mining from damaging any more of the surface stuff than was necessary to accomplish mining of their located valuable mineral deposit. Congress might want to sell off those surface resources some day. 

Two changes to the mining law - that's all that happened with the FLPMA. Oh... and the BLM finally got recognized as an official agency of the Federal government after 30 years of being nothing but a letterhead. They were still a Bureau of the DOI but they actually got assigned a job by Congress that wasn't already assigned to the General Land Office or the Grazing Service.

I've tried to stick to the facts in this little history. I left some stuff out and concentrated on some stuff more than other stuff but what I wrote is fact you can take to the bank. Now for my two cents of opinion (your bank will not deposit this check):

Miners are the last free men on the public lands. Miners have a right to the public lands that no other citizen has. That's a big honor and in my mind a big responsibility to my way of thinking.  The ability to make a claim of right to the public lands used to be common knowledge among the people of this nation. It's more than likely the land your houses and businesses are on are former public lands located and patented by our ancestors. All other citizens have lost the ability to work hard, improve the land and claim it for their own. Miners can still do that. :yesss:

Miner's can have their right to the Public Land taken away by Congress just as the rest of the citizens did. If modern miners are fooled into believing their claim of right is the same as every other use of the public lands they will end up acting as if their unique rights to the public lands are subject to the same rules as a lease or sale. Believing that the BLM is in charge of approving a mining claim is just the tip of this dangerous perception shift.

The more we misunderstand our unique place on the peoples land the more we encourage others to treat mining as something subject to the popular whim. We see this already with public education in California and elsewhere teaching fake history like "hydraulic mining was banned" (never happened) or "miners ruined the land" (less than .02% of the public lands have been mined). If we can't educate ourselves about our unique rights we might well be consigning a whole nation to ignorance of the critical and ongoing role of mining in this nation. That would be a great loss in my opinion. I hope this little bit of history will help others to look into the actual extent of the freedom inherent in the mining grant. If we can learn this stuff there might be a chance of educating others and getting some of that lost freedom (and property) back into the people's hands.

Educate Yourself and Prosper!

Edited by clay
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Desertpilot    89

Clay, 

That was a awesome post. I really appreciate your input on this and other threads you have commented on. Thanks for helping on my issue and helping me relize what the BLM really does.

Also would like to thank everyone else for commenting. What started as my vent about the BLM and the whole claim filing process turned into a very constructive conversation on filing claims and miners rights.

DP

Edited by Desertpilot
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Au Seeker    1,117
5 hours ago, clay said:

A little history about the BLM and mining claims might help here.:4chsmu1:

The primary duty of the BLM is to maintain a current and historical timeline of public land status. They do this through the General Land Office which has been around since 1812 and was assigned  along with the Federal Grazing Service in 1946 to form the BLM. The BLM was not formed by an Act of Congress it was put together as an administrative agency by the Secretary of the Interior to assist in the duties of the Department of the Interior. It wasn't until 1976 with the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) that Congress gave the BLM any power beyond those already given to the General Land Office and the Grazing Service. The BLM is relatively new in American history and to this day it remains a Bureau of the Department of the Interior. The DOI is an executive (Presidential) department created to carry out the laws as passed by Congress. No executive department can create laws - they can only enforce laws passed by Congress.

The BLM complained to their boss the DOI for many years that they just didn't have enough resources to check the County Recorder every time they were asked by their boss to approve a right of way for a road or to facilitate the sale of sand and gravel etc. There were a lot of things the BLM was asked to do with the public lands that they couldn't legally do if there was a mining claim where they wanted to do it. For years the BLM would barge ahead with a new road or stock tank or powerline and get sued by the claim owner who didn't have a clue what was happening until a bulldozer showed up and started destroying their mining works. The claim owners would sue, and of course win. The DOI would get a rash from Congress because they weren't doing their job and it was costing a boatload of money to pay for the damages. The DOI would give the BLM a rash and the BLM would complain "we just didn't have enough resources..." Congress would approve more money and the whole cycle would start again. This only got worse over time as the 1955 Surface Materials Act promised to bring in a lot more money as long as the BLM did their job. By the 1960's things were really out of hand. The BLM was paying out more in court judgements than they were bringing in through grazing, leasing and sales. The court judgements and resulting bills were mounting. It wasn't just the miners but the groups that had paid for a right of way or grazing improvements that were suing for their losses too.

Congress got tired of throwing more money at a problem that wasn't getting fixed. By 1975 the proposal of pretty much closing the public lands to the people and putting them in the somewhat sometimes capable hands of the DOI and Forest Service became the current political fad. Congress was set to eliminate any possibility of the people getting any more public land and go to a system of leasing and sales. Welcome to the 70's and the advent of the modern environmental movement.

There was just one problem with the plan. Mining. Mining made the country rich. The scheme whereby the the miner footed the entire bill of prospecting doing discovery work, developing the deposit, mining, refining, transporting and marketing the valuable mineral of the public lands has worked really well. Get the little guy to take the risk and everyone benefits from the jobs and wealth created. Mining was a significant driver of the economy and if mining rights and patents were removed from the public lands the miners had no incentive to continue looking for undiscovered deposits. Taking all the risks and fronting all the capital and labor on the gamble of discovering a paying deposit just wasn't going to fly if the miner then had to pay for the minerals he had discovered.

So a master plan was put into effect. The public lands in the future would no longer belong to the people as they had since 1803. All the opportunities for citizens to get a piece of the public land pie would be abolished and the Federal government would take over ownership of the public lands from the people. There would be no more patents or settlement on the public lands. This was sold as preserving the lands for future generations but the real effect was to lock future generations out of the possibility of benefiting from the public lands, as their ancestors had always done. The new policy was preservation at any cost. Taxes were needed to pay for preservation so the lands that had made us a wealthy nation would be a net expense into the future instead of a net benefit.

The people of this nation paid for every square inch of the public lands many years ago. That payment was in the form of huge quantities of mined gold - two million ounces alone for the Louisiana Purchase and Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo and much more for Alaska, Gadsen etc. as well as millions of lifetimes of labor to improve homesteads and millions of men's blood to take the land through war. The people themselves, my ancestors and possibly yours, paid for these public lands. This wasn't done through taxation but though wars and sinking funds financed by land purchases. With one fell swoop in 1976 that was thrown out the door with this one statement of policy that is the opening line of the FLPMA.

Not yours anymore. It's the government's now unless the government wants to sell it. That simple. Or was it? There was still that sticky bit about mining being so valuable to the national interest. So Congress in their wisdom made one exception to taking the public lands from the people. The Mining Grant was to be preserved. Miners could still prospect, claim, mine and patent the public lands. This was the only freedom to take the public lands by claim of right and patent preserved out of nearly 50 other ways that had been valid just the day before. Only miners were allowed a little bit of the freedom the public had earned and enjoyed for nearly 200 years.

But... But... But the BLM said "we just don't have enough resources..." and an exception was made to that freedom. The BLM got the right to be informed directly by the claim owner that there was a current claim on the public land. If they didn't get the annual informational notice they were allowed to ignore the claim for planning purposes and the miner could not sue over damages. Instead of having to look up the public record like every other person and government employee the BLM was now entitled to a personal signed informational notice as to the status of the mining claim every year. Then there was the fact that with the passage of the FLPMA the law now said the public lands had to be protected from undue and unnecessary damage. Part of that whole preservation for the future thing the enviros wanted. So the BLM and the Forest Service were given the duty to keep mining from damaging any more of the surface stuff than was necessary to accomplish mining of their located valuable mineral deposit. Congress might want to sell off those surface resources some day. 

Two changes to the mining law - that's all that happened with the FLPMA. Oh... and the BLM finally got recognized as an official agency of the Federal government after 30 years of being nothing but a letterhead. They were still a Bureau of the DOI but they actually got assigned a job by Congress that wasn't already assigned to the General Land Office or the Grazing Service.

I've tried to stick to the facts in this little history. I left some stuff out and concentrated on some stuff more than other stuff but what I wrote is fact you can take to the bank. Now for my two cents of opinion (your bank will not deposit this check):

Miners are the last free men on the public lands. Miners have a right to the public lands that no other citizen has. That's a big honor and in my mind a big responsibility to my way of thinking.  The ability to make a claim of right to the public lands used to be common knowledge among the people of this nation. It's more than likely the land your houses and businesses are on are former public lands located and patented by our ancestors. All other citizens have lost the ability to work hard, improve the land and claim it for their own. Miners can still do that. :yesss:

Miner's can have their right to the Public Land taken away by Congress just as the rest of the citizens did. If modern miners are fooled into believing their claim of right is the same as every other use of the public lands they will end up acting as if their unique rights to the public lands are subject to the same rules as a lease or sale. Believing that the BLM is in charge of approving a mining claim is just the tip of this dangerous perception shift.

The more we misunderstand our unique place on the peoples land the more we encourage others to treat mining as something subject to the popular whim. We see this already with public education in California and elsewhere teaching fake history like "hydraulic mining was banned" (never happened) or "miners ruined the land" (less than .02% of the public lands have been mined). If we can't educate ourselves about our unique rights we might well be consigning a whole nation to ignorance of the critical and ongoing role of mining in this nation. That would be a great loss in my opinion. I hope this little bit of history will help others to look into the actual extent of the freedom inherent in the mining grant. If we can learn this stuff there might be a chance of educating others and getting some of that lost freedom (and property) back into the people's hands.

Educate Yourself and Prosper!

Barry, outstanding post! :yesss:

Thanks for the history lesson!!! :thumbsupanim

I'll have to look into being able to give more that one "Reaction" to posts on the forum, your above post deserves more than one, I wanted to give a "irritated" reaction for the part where the land no longer belongs to "The People" and a "Thanks and a Like" reaction for the part that the miners still have that ability to own the land...eerr minerals at least, I guess we miners still have sorta lost the owing the land part since the land patent process has been hobbled due to the processing funding being withheld!!!

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homefire    1,543
2 hours ago, clay said:

A little history about the BLM and mining claims might help here.:4chsmu1:

The primary duty of the BLM is to maintain a current and historical timeline of public land status. They do this through the General Land Office which has been around since 1812 and was assigned  along with the Federal Grazing Service in 1946 to form the BLM. The BLM was not formed by an Act of Congress it was put together as an administrative agency by the Secretary of the Interior to assist in the duties of the Department of the Interior. It wasn't until 1976 with the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) that Congress gave the BLM any power beyond those already given to the General Land Office and the Grazing Service. The BLM is relatively new in American history and to this day it remains a Bureau of the Department of the Interior. The DOI is an executive (Presidential) department created to carry out the laws as passed by Congress. No executive department can create laws - they can only enforce laws passed by Congress.

The BLM complained to their boss the DOI for many years that they just didn't have enough resources to check the County Recorder every time they were asked by their boss to approve a right of way for a road or to facilitate the sale of sand and gravel etc. There were a lot of things the BLM was asked to do with the public lands that they couldn't legally do if there was a mining claim where they wanted to do it. For years the BLM would barge ahead with a new road or stock tank or powerline and get sued by the claim owner who didn't have a clue what was happening until a bulldozer showed up and started destroying their mining works. The claim owners would sue, and of course win. The DOI would get a rash from Congress because they weren't doing their job and it was costing a boatload of money to pay for the damages. The DOI would give the BLM a rash and the BLM would complain "we just didn't have enough resources..." Congress would approve more money and the whole cycle would start again. This only got worse over time as the 1955 Surface Materials Act promised to bring in a lot more money as long as the BLM did their job. By the 1960's things were really out of hand. The BLM was paying out more in court judgements than they were bringing in through grazing, leasing and sales. The court judgements and resulting bills were mounting. It wasn't just the miners but the groups that had paid for a right of way or grazing improvements that were suing for their losses too.

Congress got tired of throwing more money at a problem that wasn't getting fixed. By 1975 the proposal of pretty much closing the public lands to the people and putting them in the somewhat sometimes capable hands of the DOI and Forest Service became the current political fad. Congress was set to eliminate any possibility of the people getting any more public land and go to a system of leasing and sales. Welcome to the 70's and the advent of the modern environmental movement.

There was just one problem with the plan. Mining. Mining made the country rich. The scheme whereby the the miner footed the entire bill of prospecting doing discovery work, developing the deposit, mining, refining, transporting and marketing the valuable mineral of the public lands has worked really well. Get the little guy to take the risk and everyone benefits from the jobs and wealth created. Mining was a significant driver of the economy and if mining rights and patents were removed from the public lands the miners had no incentive to continue looking for undiscovered deposits. Taking all the risks and fronting all the capital and labor on the gamble of discovering a paying deposit just wasn't going to fly if the miner then had to pay for the minerals he had discovered.

So a master plan was put into effect. The public lands in the future would no longer belong to the people as they had since 1803. All the opportunities for citizens to get a piece of the public land pie would be abolished and the Federal government would take over ownership of the public lands from the people. There would be no more patents or settlement on the public lands. This was sold as preserving the lands for future generations but the real effect was to lock future generations out of the possibility of benefiting from the public lands, as their ancestors had always done. The new policy was preservation at any cost. Taxes were needed to pay for preservation so the lands that had made us a wealthy nation would be a net expense into the future instead of a net benefit.

The people of this nation paid for every square inch of the public lands many years ago. That payment was in the form of huge quantities of mined gold - two million ounces alone for the Louisiana Purchase and Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo and much more for Alaska, Gadsen etc. as well as millions of lifetimes of labor to improve homesteads and millions of men's blood to take the land through war. The people themselves, my ancestors and possibly yours, paid for these public lands. This wasn't done through taxation but though wars and sinking funds financed by land purchases. With one fell swoop in 1976 that was thrown out the door with this one statement of policy that is the opening line of the FLPMA.

Not yours anymore. It's the government's now unless the government wants to sell it. That simple. Or was it? There was still that sticky bit about mining being so valuable to the national interest. So Congress in their wisdom made one exception to taking the public lands from the people. The Mining Grant was to be preserved. Miners could still prospect, claim, mine and patent the public lands. This was the only freedom to take the public lands by claim of right and patent preserved out of nearly 50 other ways that had been valid just the day before. Only miners were allowed a little bit of the freedom the public had earned and enjoyed for nearly 200 years.

But... But... But the BLM said "we just don't have enough resources..." and an exception was made to that freedom. The BLM got the right to be informed directly by the claim owner that there was a current claim on the public land. If they didn't get the annual informational notice they were allowed to ignore the claim for planning purposes and the miner could not sue over damages. Instead of having to look up the public record like every other person and government employee the BLM was now entitled to a personal signed informational notice as to the status of the mining claim every year. Then there was the fact that with the passage of the FLPMA the law now said the public lands had to be protected from undue and unnecessary damage. Part of that whole preservation for the future thing the enviros wanted. So the BLM and the Forest Service were given the duty to keep mining from damaging any more of the surface stuff than was necessary to accomplish mining of their located valuable mineral deposit. Congress might want to sell off those surface resources some day. 

Two changes to the mining law - that's all that happened with the FLPMA. Oh... and the BLM finally got recognized as an official agency of the Federal government after 30 years of being nothing but a letterhead. They were still a Bureau of the DOI but they actually got assigned a job by Congress that wasn't already assigned to the General Land Office or the Grazing Service.

I've tried to stick to the facts in this little history. I left some stuff out and concentrated on some stuff more than other stuff but what I wrote is fact you can take to the bank. Now for my two cents of opinion (your bank will not deposit this check):

Miners are the last free men on the public lands. Miners have a right to the public lands that no other citizen has. That's a big honor and in my mind a big responsibility to my way of thinking.  The ability to make a claim of right to the public lands used to be common knowledge among the people of this nation. It's more than likely the land your houses and businesses are on are former public lands located and patented by our ancestors. All other citizens have lost the ability to work hard, improve the land and claim it for their own. Miners can still do that. :yesss:

Miner's can have their right to the Public Land taken away by Congress just as the rest of the citizens did. If modern miners are fooled into believing their claim of right is the same as every other use of the public lands they will end up acting as if their unique rights to the public lands are subject to the same rules as a lease or sale. Believing that the BLM is in charge of approving a mining claim is just the tip of this dangerous perception shift.

The more we misunderstand our unique place on the peoples land the more we encourage others to treat mining as something subject to the popular whim. We see this already with public education in California and elsewhere teaching fake history like "hydraulic mining was banned" (never happened) or "miners ruined the land" (less than .02% of the public lands have been mined). If we can't educate ourselves about our unique rights we might well be consigning a whole nation to ignorance of the critical and ongoing role of mining in this nation. That would be a great loss in my opinion. I hope this little bit of history will help others to look into the actual extent of the freedom inherent in the mining grant. If we can learn this stuff there might be a chance of educating others and getting some of that lost freedom (and property) back into the people's hands.

Educate Yourself and Prosper!

The Same happened with the U.S. Constitution in a way.   The Federal Government started doing  a few thing they had Zero Constitutional Authority or Powers to do.  No One Complained.  They Continued those Illegal Acts and added some more.  No One Complained.  After Decades and Decades of doing the ILLEGAL Acts they have become De Facto Powers of the Government. 

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