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I agree with much of what Chris and Clay have stated with the caveat that even the most sage advice is subject to countless variables. Filing and maintaining a valid claim is not an exact science. There is no set of perfect standards -- only better and worse waypoints to guide one through a sea of murky waters. At the end of the day, if parties to a dispute push the matter to the limit, it comes down to an adjudication in a court of law where the disputed facts are determined by a jury of your "peers" (insert modern composition of a jury here and luck of the draw) and the applicable law is determined by a judge who may or may not have a firm comprehension either of mining law or state real property law. Formal adjudication of mining claim disputes can be very expensive -- its the daily grist of mega-billion dollar mining firms, but can be a strange and lonely place for a small scale type of guy such as is more likely than not the same type of guy who frequents this and other forums seeking absolute answers to unanswerable questions.

What many non-lawyers lose sight of, or at least do not grasp, is that although federal mining law establishes a national general framework of standards, procedures and precedents, nonetheless that very same federal law often defers to a state's prerogative to fashion its own property laws. These state laws can vary from state to state. In California they largely are contained in the California Public Resources Code. They establish the state standards, procedures and precedents of RECORDING a property interest. Recording laws serve the function of determining the existence and/or priority of legally recognized notice. The concept of legally recognized NOTICE often lies at the heart of mining claim disputes and it is a blend of FEDERAL and STATE laws that govern the outcome of such disputes.

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While all of that may be true, thousands of people file and maintain claims every year without issue or drama.

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SLNugget, very true,and if someone tries to overfile your claim,a real mining lawyer

can evict them quick,at little cost.

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Locators of mining claims are fallible human beings. It is in the nature of man to make mistakes. The state and federal mining laws allow for errors to be corrected up to a point. But if your claim contains a fatal, non-correctable defect, then not even a "real" or "imaginary" mining lawyer can help you out if someone else over files CORRECTLY. Well, maybe imaginary super lawyer can. This is so because real lawyers cannot create missing or fatally defective evidentiary facts. A mining claim is only as valid as the law allows. It is public, not private, land. If an individual fails to perform his initial due diligence, another individual has every right to disregard and over file. The core legal issue in every one of these types of mining claim disputes turn on the concept of "good faith". So Chris and Clay have stated excellent ways to begin a due diligence search. The rest is up to each individual not to screw it up.

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Micro Nugget

I was making reference to a valid mining claim in my statement,that is maintained,

and located ,with common sense and due diligence. No lawyer can protect,someone

that doesn't have a legal defense or standing.

Also my reference to a real mining lawyer,means someone that is a specialist in

that field of law,with a winning track record. You wouldn't go to a tax lawyer to defend

a murder case. Too many lawyers now will jump on a case ,without even having any

experience ,in that field. When I ask a lawyer a simple legal question,and they have

to research it ,that tells me I need another lawyer.

Due diligence is the reason that I brought up the idea of using a BLM land use plat,

to locate non mineral owned withdrawn land. There is several areas in Arizona where

the BLM owns the surface,but not the mineral rights. Filing a claim on those spots will

automaticaly void the claim,and if you attempt to work the area it is mineral trespass.

The County does not keep track of those records. I have watched 4 individual claimants,

file on these,and all have been evicted. The last one got hit for mineral trespass,and is

still in trouble. If they would have talked to the local BLM geologist ,he would have saved

them a lot of time and trouble. Just a few hundred yards in either direction,and they would

have been legal.

Even the land use plat can be out of date,that is why I contact the mineral officer or

geologist. They will be aware of any new developments or changes in land use status.

A thorough on the ground search for monuments is a real good idea too. Claimants in

Arizona have 90 days to record a claim after setting a discovery monument. If it is a

large association claim ,that monument could be hard to find. This is why I don't trust

those so called claim maps,for research.

A professional operator always includes the BLM and or the Forest Service in his

research,or intentions from the start. Sneaking around or making assumtions is just

a real good way of setting yourself up for future trouble.

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We are on the same page Saw. Stupid is as stupid does and that is what I observe at the root of many mining claim disputes. Happily, what I see on this forum is that some folks at least attempt to learn and are not afraid or embarrassed to ask questions. Ain't no man yet descended who knows it all. This forum is a good place to pick up useful information. The misinformation usually gets jumped on and exposed by those who know better and are willing to share.

As an aside, just the other day we called BLM in Sacto for probably the tenth time to check on why the LR2000 still didn't reflect stuff that was filed a half year ago. We were assured that our stuff had been received and filed, but due to cutbacks and personnel losses there was a growing mountain of paperwork awaiting installation into the system. The point being that a bit of latitude must be factored into any due diligence research to allow for such delays in these days of generally lowered expectations. But you are 100% spot on that a bit of common sense and courtesy will go a long way, for example by simply picking up the phone or dropping in to chat in a friendly tone with the experienced BLM folks who are in a position to help.

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