Jump to content
Nugget Shooter Forums

Mining Law Question??????


rluckadoo

Recommended Posts

My question is the following: Let's assume that I own a placer claim in AZ (although the state is not important because mining law is federal.......right?) and while working the claim crevicing for placer gold, discover a nice gold bearing quartz vein in the bottom of the wash that I just vacuumed. After discovery, I immediately decide that I should file a lode claim on this vein. In theory, could someone stumble by on my claim, see the gold bearing quartz vein, and quickly file a lode claim on top of my placer claim?

In other words, does owning the placer claim where the vein is discovered, give you first rights to filing a lode claim, or can another person zip in there and file a lode claim on top of your placer claim?????

Thanks for your input.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 63
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

The way I understand the current law is that you are precluded from doing what you describe. There is a Supreme Court case right on point - Help Reno Chris, give me the case and site again! As I recall, the case basically states as I recall that if you have a placer claim no person can file a lode claim underneath your claim without your permission, and if you have a lode claim, your surface rights (i.e., your placer rights) are also protected. It issued its opinion to prevent the type of activity you describe, which was apparently common at the time. If Reno Chris does not come to the rescue with the site, let me know and I will find it for you. It has been a long time since I have done legal research, but I still can do it in a pnch. A group of us have both placer and lode claims in AZ, and we wanted to know if we were protected from someone filing a different type of claim either over us or under us. We wanted to know if we had to file both types of claims on the same ground to protect ourselves. The answer is no. If I find the case opinion, which I have somewhere, in the mean time, I will post it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is your answer direct from the BLM book.... And yes, you as the placer claim owner can locate a lode claim on your placer claim.... but no one can locate one without your specific permission

Location of Lode Over Placer Mining Claims and the Reverse:

Placer mining claims have an equality both in procedure and rights with lode claims, but a

lode claim provides no rights to placer deposits and a placer claim provides no rights to

lode deposits (Clipper Mining Company v. Eli Mining and Land Company, 194 US 220

(1904)).

The above-cited Supreme Court decision discusses the fact that a person has no right to

enter upon a valid placer mining claim to search for, or locate a lode claim without the

express permission of the placer mining claim claimant. Overly aggressive lode

prospectors may not interfere with the mining operation of the placer mining claimant. The

BLM strongly recommends that, if a lode prospector wishes to search for minerals on a

valid placer claim, written permission be obtained from the placer claimant.

If a claimant of a valid placer mining claim wishes to search for lodes on their claim, they

may do so; but, they will have no title to lode minerals without filing a lode mining claim

(Campbell v. Mclntyre, 295 F.Cas. 45 (9th Cir., 1924)).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I definitely agree that as a placer claim owner, I could certainly locate a lode claim beneath my placer claims. I am still a little unclear, even after reading the cited cases as to whether someone who stumbled upon a lode vein (let's say while just hiking or riding a four wheeler....both legal on public lands, and actions which would not require my permission) on my placer claim, could file a lode claim underneath my placer. With the statement from the court case that ruled both have equality, and the ruling that a placer claim "provides no rights to lode deposits" as cited in the first source, still makes me wonder if this action could be ruled as legal, especially since the BLM "strongly recommends" written permission......ultimately meaning that they will not take sides at all in the issue, and would issue that lode claim no matter the legality of how it was filed, with the claimants being made to fight it out in court, it a problem arises.

I have another question, which is ultimately the basis for my intro to this topic. If I invited (or hired) a person specializing in lode deposits (such as a mining engineer or geologist) to come on my placer claim to look at some promising potential lode deposits, if this person turned out to be untrustworthy, could they immediately come back the next day, stake out a lode claim and file that claim underneath my placer claim? Now......I know that it would take a pretty low person to do something like this, but we are talking about GOLD here, and that yellow metal makes some ordinarily honest folks do some uncharacteristically dishonest things sometimes.

Because, the way it seems this law is written, it seems like someone could be invited (or hired) to come onto your placer claim, see a nice lode deposit (either with or without your knowledge) and then the very next day, come out and stake that lode deposit right underneath you (because you invited them, and as the owner of the placer claim, you have no rights to the lode deposits there).

Reading this law might even bring question as to whether you could "legally" ask someone to leave your placer claim, if you found them hammering away at a lode claim (taking samples) somewhere on your placer claim???????? I just didn't read enough in that law that was cited, to make me feel more comfortable that owning the placer rights, protects me against someone filing underneath me, at least not without having to go to court to fight it.

More thoughts or clarification definitely appreciated..................... I think a lot of folks will be interested in this topic.

Here is your answer direct from the BLM book.... And yes, you as the placer claim owner can locate a lode claim on your placer claim.... but no one can locate one without your specific permission

Location of Lode Over Placer Mining Claims and the Reverse:

Placer mining claims have an equality both in procedure and rights with lode claims, but a

lode claim provides no rights to placer deposits and a placer claim provides no rights to

lode deposits (Clipper Mining Company v. Eli Mining and Land Company, 194 US 220

(1904)).

The above-cited Supreme Court decision discusses the fact that a person has no right to

enter upon a valid placer mining claim to search for, or locate a lode claim without the

express permission of the placer mining claim claimant. Overly aggressive lode

prospectors may not interfere with the mining operation of the placer mining claimant. The

BLM strongly recommends that, if a lode prospector wishes to search for minerals on a

valid placer claim, written permission be obtained from the placer claimant.

If a claimant of a valid placer mining claim wishes to search for lodes on their claim, they

may do so; but, they will have no title to lode minerals without filing a lode mining claim

(Campbell v. Mclntyre, 295 F.Cas. 45 (9th Cir., 1924)).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All

I think if an ore body were found under a placer claim ? The placer claim owner would not nesseccarily have first crack at it or any type of eclusive right to it. If a load claim were filed over a placer in this instance and adjoining load claims filed you could have the load removed from under you !! I think ?? Mining taxes are due on the sale of placer recoveries on Load mining taxes are due the year of recovery. Meaning you could work placer mining and not sell the recoveries for years having no tax consiquence until the recoveries are sold. On Load mining taxes are due based on recovery the year of recovery even if the recoveries are not sold. Happy Huntin John B.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The key to this discussion is that once a valid placer claim is filed it is against federal law for anyone else to search for any minerals on that claim without owner permission so any such lode found by others would have been done by an illegal act and therefore not valid. The owner of the placer can certainly file a lode over himself (as long as he gives himself permission) LOL. If the lode continues underground to a point off of the placer claim it can be claimed by another and be valid even though its right under the placer. Whomever has the earliest dated paperwork on the lode in that case should win in court but he has has the best attorney will often win.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gee.... read what I posted. They must have permission from the placer owner...........I did not make up any of that, it comes direct from the BLM book on locating mineral claims. So a person that stumbled on to a lode under your placer cannot file under you without your SPECIFIC permission! If you hire a Geologits to evaluate your lode, that is not giving that person permission to file under you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gee.... read what I posted. They must have permission from the placer owner...........I did not make up any of that, it comes direct from the BLM book on locating mineral claims. So a person that stumbled on to a lode under your placer cannot file under you without your SPECIFIC permission! If you hire a Geologits to evaluate your lode, that is not giving that person permission to file under you!

El Dorodo,

Thank you for citing the US Supreme Ct. case I could not remember. I think all of the posts that followed ours restated what we said exactly. Your case citation validated my memory of the status of the current law. The concept that one need give themself permission to place a load claim under their own valid placer clame or visa versa is rather riciculous on its face. As you and I both said, no claim can be filed without the permission of the holder of the claim. Or, put another way, first in time, first in right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a question............

I have seen NO mention of a location marker of ANY sort...

It would be quite easy for one to stumble upon your exposed vein, and finding no marker, proceed to BLM or whomever

had land mgmt. over the parcel, and file...

And if you failed to file immediately, and they walked in with Cash-In-Hand, you lose....

In days gone by, they would leave someone on the land, till it was recorded, to prevent just such a thing...

I'd check the time of the filing if you find that they did in fact try to file over the top of you.....

If you want the laws to work for you, they will.........but only if you know what they say....the OTHER guys sure don't...

for what it's worth.

~wyld~

Link to comment
Share on other sites

El Dorado,

I actually read what you posted several times and actually accessed the case through a "find law" website (thank you for the information on the case), where individuals can go and read the entire case and all the references to prior case law, and writeups of the judges. It is very interesting reading and would be advised reading for anyone owning placer or lode claims. However, I am printing a very interesting statement by the supreme court justice, who in this statement references a previous case in a Colorado court.

The supreme court justice in this case states:

"We agree with the supreme court of Colorado as to the law when it says that 'one may not go upon a prior valid placer location to prospect for unknown lodes, and get title to lode claims thereafter discovered and located in this manner and within the placer boundaries, unless the placer owner has abandoned his claim, waives the trespass, or, by his conduct, is estopped to complain of it.' Perhaps if the placer owner, with knowledge of what the prospectors are doing, takes no steps to restrain their work, and certainly if he acquiesces in their action, he cannot, after they have discovered a vein or lode, assert right to it, for, generally, a vein belongs to him who has discovered it, and a locator permitting others to search within the limits of his placer ought not thereafter to appropriate that which they have discovered by such search. "

The way I read this statement correctly and understand what it is stating, someone can discover a lode on your placer claim and actually file the lode claim underneath you if 1. you abandon your claim, 2. you waive the trespass (give permission or invite them onto your property), 3. you know someone is exploring on your property and don't take actions to stop them.

So, again it makes me wonder if you are protected against a "friend" or an acquaintance, you allow to come on your property to explore with you, detect with you, or to go hiking, or rock collecting, or possibly even a geologist or minerals expert you might hire or give permission to evaluate the property (for an appraisal or for any reason) who discovers a vein while he is there. Sounds like they would definitely have a right to file a lode claim underneath you if you allowed them to be there, or knew they were there and didn't take action before the filing to get them off your property.

Very interesting and informative reading. Here's the website to view the entire case:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getc...4&invol=220

Thanks for the info!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yo Guys, as has been alluded to by several respondants to this post, veins kinda go where they wanna go, be what they wanna be....So you have a placer claim

that covers X ground, but someone comes along and discovers a mineral vein X feet outside your claim border, but the vein continues underneath your placer claim...This brings up two thoughts...First, the load claimer has you dead to rights as far as whats on the vein underneath the ground for sure....Where the gold on the surface ceases to be lode and becomes placer gold is a point of discussion...Generally, some part of the traditional 1,500 feet of vein that goes underneath your placer ground belongs the the lode claim...Beyond that raises another question....This is interesting and for some folks pertient and important...I look forward to your thoughts on this wrinkle....Cheers, Yer Unc, now strictly a placer guy...maybe... :innocent0009: , in the Dubyah

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All I can say if you want to give up on what the BLM says,and make this way more complex than it need to be, then that is your choice but the well known current law says no one can locate a lode claim under your placer without your permission. Never fear though.... B Hussein Obama will get all that changed in the very near future

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve,

I am with you!!! I am not disagreeing with you............but, also know that when a case such as this arises, it is not the BLM who underwrites the final decision. They will wipe their hands of it as quickly as possible. The decision in a case such as this would be made in the court of law and will be made with regard to all available case law, with the US Supreme court decisions being the ultimate "word of reason". The decision on a case like this will not come from the BLM "rule book". Unfortunately it would be much more complex than what could be found in there. I have spent the evening researching case law on all cases which just referenced the decision of this case in their verdict. The mountain of cases is limitless and would take years to decipher. So it is not that I am making it "more complex than it is", mining case law has made it that way over the last 150 years (not me). I don't like complexity much either, but, I am realistic enough to know that it is much more complex than what the BLM could put in a quick reference guide to mining claims.

I guess I want to know what the courts said when it came before them (especially the US Supreme court), and don't really care that much what the BLM thinks, because ultimately they (the BLM) will recuse themselves of the case very quickly, and then it will be up to the court to decide.

Thanks again for citing the case. It was extremely interesting reading!!!! (also.........agree with you 100% on the new US pres.)

Uncle Ron,

The question you were asking about was also referenced in detail in that court case. I won't go into the details here, but you can check it out on the website that I linked above.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

rluckadoo

I won a case a couple years ago ,just as you are describing.

No ONE can legally file over your placer claim and gain any rights

without your written permission.

Also it is up to the person staking a claim to verify that the ground

is open. Even if your corner posts are missing ,it doesn't give a right

for anyone to trespass.

Corner posts get knocked over and carried off all the time. Ignorance

is no excuse,and will not stand up in court period.

The BLM geo communicator,makes it real simple to get the corner coords

of any claim. Before going into a claimed area its not a big deal to research

the claims and get GPS coords for the corners,or pretty darn close.

I can teach a monkey how to find claim corners. If a person doesn't

understand what he is doing,or doesn't want to take the time to be legal,

they don't have any business staking claims,or prospecting. There is too

many ways to know where a claim is to try and sell a BS story to a judge.

If you are paying your claim fees every year on time ,your claim is pretty

bullet proof ,against claim jumpers.

If you are claiming assessment work as fee payment,make darn sure

your assessment work is done,and follows the requirements that meet

federal law as legitimate assessment work,and keep all records,pictures,

and any other documentation.

The BLM won't question it unless they want to throw you off the land for

their own purposes.

But a rival claimant can cause you grief, if they can show any fraud in your

assessment requirements.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Sawmill!! I would be interested to hear more about the case you won. If written permission is required from the current placer owner (me), then I feel much better about it. I am not staking new claims, just making sure I have the proper protection for the ones I already own. I just know that as gold prices continue to rise, and as the world economy continues to worsen, more and more defense and protection of "good" claims are going to be required, by their owners. I always pay my maintenance fees, so there can be no question regarding assessment work.

I would be interested in learning how to use the geo communicator to accurately locate claim corners. I plan to get on there right now to see if I can figure it out. Hey, if a monkey can do it......................then surely.........................

Thanks again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All

Tresspassing on a mining claim is only the act of attempting mineral recovery nothing else (unless a mining or exploration permit is issued and a given area closed for the claiment). Theft is the recovery of minerals on a mining claim without permission from the claiment(s). On a placer claim it is only mineral recovery of surface and pediment soils. If someone wanted to come onto my placer claim and drill to determine if there are load ore bodies below surface soils. I don't think you could stop them. If an ore body is found below my placer claim and lode claims filed over my placer claims I couldn't stop them. If the Lode claim owner decided to tunnel under my placer claims and work his claim he could. Ron I don't know where this mythical 1500' came from and it would be irrelavent on a load ore body. If the lode claiment wanted to open pit mine my placer claim for his ore body that would be a legitimite conflict since it would cause disruption and disturbance to my claim. A Load claim by itself includes placer and placer claims cannot be filed over a load claims. Mine dumps and tailing piles are considered placer if not created by you. Meteorites are not covered by mining claims and are NOT locateble minerals and are random events ,even thought they may contain minerals. I think ??? Happy Huntin John B.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lode claim and a placer claim both have equal standing

for the claimants rights of possession. If you have a discovery

and your fees and paperwork is in order,no one can come on your

claim to prospect or mine without your consent.

As long as you have a discovery that can be proven,you don't need

permits or any other blessings,to ward off any invasion by other miners

or the Federal Government. A valuable discovery is easier to prove on

a placer claim.

Also with the invention of fees,and casual use in the 70's ,A discovery

is not as important as it used to be for maintaining your rights of possession,

against other miners.

You can not gain any rights by filing over another claimants valid claim

without permission of the senior claimant.

If you let someone come on your claim and prospect or mine and don't

protest their actions, they can call it a peaceful entry. The court will

view it as passive consent on your part,if you let the intruders continue,

without taking action.

Having No Mineral Trespass signs on your claim is a protest, writing a

letter to the trespassing parties,or having a lawyer do it is a protest.

Asking them to leave and reporting it to the sheriff is a protest. Also

send a letter of protest to the BLM . The BLM will put all letters they

receive from a claimant into the claim files ,with a date stamp,also they

will send a return copy. This documents your protest,and goes a long way

in court.

I am attaching the real laws concerning Placer versus Lode claims.

There has been too much urban legend,and old wives tales posted.Mineral_deposits_are_located_either_by_lode_or_placer_claims.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am still a little unclear, even after reading the cited cases as to whether someone who stumbled upon a lode vein (let's say while just hiking or riding a four wheeler....both legal on public lands, and actions which would not require my permission) on my placer claim, could file a lode claim underneath my placer.

Short answer, NO. If they find a vein outside your claim, they can not tunnel under your claim boundaries. That is illegal in Arizona. Colorado might have different rules, but here that is ILLEGAL. So NO, they can NOT.

It was all stated in Steve's post, but can get confusing if you don't understand what they are saying :)

Also, not to cloud up the issue, but as stated above no-one is allowed to search for MINERALS ON YOUR CLAIM. PERIOD. It doesn't matter how they do it, if they leave the minerals there or not, they are in violation of the law if they are looking for minerals on your claim without your permission. Period.

Hope that clears the air here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Randy, Greg, Steve and All

Are you guys reading something I'm not ??? Randy your assesment is not what I'm reading and there is a defined diferentiation of types of claims and what they cover ?? I'm resonably certain my post is correct and the laws pertain to type of claim. Tresspassing on a placer claim is only the act of looking for placer not load . Tresspassing on a load claim is the act of looking for placer or load. I just read the link in Sawmills post and that's what it says !! Am I missing something ?? Happy Huntin John B.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John B

There is a reason mining lawyers make the big bucks. :laught16:

I will try to explain it a little better so it makes sense.

By making a discovery a claim becomes valid,and the claim owner

gains all the mineral rights on the claim and can hold them,against

all others.

If you screwed up and filed a lode claim,and later discover placer

on the claim, you own the rights,but can not mine the placer. But

you can keep others from obtaining the mineral rights to it because

they can't file a placer claim over you period. If the patent law was

still in effect and you actually got one,then you would be free to mine

the placer.

Most smart prospectors or geologists file placer claims ,if it even looks

like there may be placer on the claim. A placer claim gives you the same

rights of mineral possession and protection.

But it also lets the claimant prospect as he goes about his placer work,

and keeps others out. If the claimant makes a lode discovery ,he can file

a lode claim over his own placer claim. Then he can mine both placer

and lode deposits.

The extralateral thing is not a sure deal. Yes it is legal in Arizona because

it is Federal Mining Law, not State. But there is more law suits and legal stuff

involved than you could ever imagine. Only a real mining lawyer could even

begin to explain all the hair splitting and details involved.

Hardly any mining company or miner with experience would get tangled up

with the extralateral thing. That is one reason big mining companies stake

big areas. They don't want some claim next to anyone else,where they may

have to fight to chase a vein. The court costs and years in court can amount

to more than the ore is worth.

The BLM will not issue exploration permits or a plan on a claim that is in

conflict between claimants. Nor will they issue either one to a rival claimant

after you make a protest. They do not get into claim fights and have to stay

neutral until disputes are settled in court,or an agreement is made between

the claimants.

If someone shows up on your claim telling you they have the right to drill

or prospect,it is pure BS. Tell them to get lost and don't come back.

Been there done that. :laught16:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow.....After reading your above post Sawmill and those from John B and others, government "sponsered confusion" seems to be the course of action or "Plan of The Day" and court litigation the means of draging a little guy and the uninformed to thier knees, due to the dollars required to plead ones' case!

This is an excellant "thread" and very informative by all participants. Keep it rolling!

Gary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John B

fwiw. I've always understood the law the same as you. You can put a load through a placer. The Colorado ruling mentioned seems contrary to our understanding, could be that its the placer claim owners responsibility to protect his claim and protest any prospecting. In other words a good lawyer can get around the permission issue if you take no action to stop the load miner.

Carl

Link to comment
Share on other sites

that is right... and a mining attorney can certainly stop someone in their tracks if they try to claim a lode under your placer without your specific permission. Remember the BLM is only a regulatory agency, not the enforcement arm of the law in these situations. That is why I quoted the regulations right out of the book. A judge will interpret from those regulations.

Someone can still file the paperwork and the BLM will accept that paperwork right or wrong, but it is up to you to protect your mineral rights. If it is a large mining company that wants that lode, sell it to them for a fixed price plus royalties......

Another thing to keep in mind, the BLM has a legal advocate. Not many know about that, and you can request an opinion from that person, but it will have no legal standing in a court.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Carl and GotGold

Your mineral rights are just like any other right.

If you are not savvy about the basic laws,or not willing to defend your

rights you can lose them.

The odds of going in on someones claim,and gaining rights is so slim

that no real mining company or miner will even consider it.

A savvy claim owner willing to stand up against them, can wreck their day,

and cost them a fortune,and in the end they will still lose.

Only a total scumbag or idiot would even attempt to over file a claim.

The courts have pretty much the same opinion,and tend to rule for the

senior claimant in nearly every case.

Guys sitting around listening to their buddies pump them full of BS and

fiction about mining laws,are the ones most likely to try a dumb stunt like

over filing. They can't win unless you let them,but they will try.

In the end they lose,and can lose lots of cash in the process.

Lotsa Luck, El Dorado, Myself,and others have been through this mess.

When we say something it is from experience not guess or something we

heard at the bar. The best part is we have won,so we must have done

something right. All it takes is one phone call to a good mining lawyer,and

you can put some serious hurt on over filers,or common claim jumpers.

I am just trying to help claim owners know that they do have rights,and

know when and how to protect them. Also if any potential claim jumpers

are lurking ,it will give them something to chew on,before they get in

trouble,or make a total ass out of their selves. :laught16:

I am not worried about mining companies ,or would even give it a second

thought. If they want your piddling little claim,they will offer to buy it or make

a deal. They don't want one or two claims anyway. Nine times out of ten most

claim jumpers is just some half wit armed with a lot of bogus information.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...