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Warning for Mining Claim Owners


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If you own a mining claim in the lower 48 you may need to check the current status of your claim with the BLM.

On November 17th the BLM closed 28,340 mining claims.

On this same day last year they closed more than 20,000 mining claims. Many of the mining claims closed last year were closed in error. Although the BLM has reopened many of those mining claims closed in error last year many claim owners were left in limbo while the BLM tried to sort the mess.

Unfortunately you may find it difficult to check claim status with the BLM. At the same time the BLM closed the 28 thousand plus mining claims they shut down access to the MLRS claims mapping and removed 91% of claim owner names from the search databases and maps. Now it appears they have also shut down the online records entirely. There is no indication if or when any of these public services will be returned.

Land Matters Mining Claim maps have been updated since the claims were closed. The 28,000+ mining claims have been removed from the Land Matters claims maps. If you look on Land Matters and your claim isn't listed there is a very good chance your claim was closed.

The mass mining claim closure took place on November 17th and the Land Matters mining claim data is current as of November 20th. I think at present Land Matters is the only source for this closure information and they have the most current claims information. If you know of other more current claims maps please share them here.

You can also do a search on the Land Matters mining claim maps by the claim owner name and get the info on all your claims in one window. Land Matters did not remove claim owner information like the BLM did so you may have more luck searching Land Matters than searching the BLM (IF BLM returns the search tool functions)

Land Matters also sent out a very large report early this week to their Claims Advantage Members with every closed claim listed with individual maps and links to the BLM records. Now you know why they call it the Claims Advantage.

Land Matters educational charity was founded in 2014 for just these circumstances. After the BLM geocommunicator claims and land status map was taken down without notice or explanation in 2012 we noticed a lot of public information being removed from public access. We decided to do what the government has failed to do and aggregate and present this public information in a place that would be available to all people all the time.

I just looked and the Land Matters servers have been providing this updated mapping for the last 1,650 days without a single glitch. More than 100,000 maps are served some days.

And here is the remarkable thing. All these years and all this work are the result of an all volunteer non profit organization that relies exclusively on individual donations. Land Matters has no grants, has no advertising income, doesn't sell data and doesn't receive federal or state money. It really is a user supported resource. Thanks to all of you.  :thumbsupanim
Of course the Land Matters website is even busier with the BLM land mapping being closed. This has been a boom year for Land Matters user growth but like most small non profits it's been a tough year for donations. If you have found value in Land Matters and would like to see Land Matters continue to bring you public information there is no better time to make a donation. Or you could become a Claims Advantage Member by donating $100 or more and we will send you a copy of the 28,000 closed claims report along with another 23 (twice a month) for the next year.

I don't know yet if any mining claims that were closed shouldn't have been closed. I've heard a few complaints but I haven't had time to check them out. I certainly hope that isn't the situation this year. If I owned a mining claim I would be checking the status.
Edited by clay
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56 minutes ago, Beeper Bob said:

Why can a small company do so much of a better job that the governments huge BLM division.

Because it is a government entity ... BLM that is ... Private enterprise almost always does a better job that a government resource.

 AND THANK YOU Clay for your contribution of hard work in keeping this claim info available.

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14 hours ago, pairadiceau said:

Barry, many thanks you to your associates for your hard work.  Land Matters is an amazing resource, well organized and educational.

Why did this occur? (the closures)  

Malfeasance at its finest.


You are welcome Jeff. It's really encouraging to hear that Land Matters is helping. Land Matters an all volunteer nonprofit so the only pay our volunteers receive is the occasional thank you. That means a lot.

The stated reason for ALL these 28,340 claim closures is Claim Abandoned/Forfeited. In BLM speak that means the claim owners didn't meet their annual FLPMA filing requirements.

There were no other claims closed this period but the 28,340 claims all closed on November 17th.

We know that a lot of these claims were closed in error. I'm receiving many emails and phone calls from claim owners who paid their fees but their mining claims have been closed. This same thing happened last year on the same day but the BLM said that was done in error. It looks like the "error" is being repeated.



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52 minutes ago, xracer550 said:

 What will happen if someone files a new claim on one that was closed & the owners don't even know about it ?

Happens all the time. Nothing new about that situation. Lot's of overclaims out there. It's up to the claim owner to maintain and correct their claim status with the BLM and the County Record. Sometimes that means taking the adverse claimaint to civil court.

By law the BLM can not choose one claimant over the other. Disputes between claimants are a civil matter for your local courts. Overclaims are no concern of the BLM. I often see overclaims three or four deep in popular areas.

If the original claim was valid when the overclaim happens the overclaim is void even if the BLM files are wrong. Locators have a lot more work to do to determine if an area is open to location than just looking at the BLM status.

I understand your concern. This makes the situation even worse than it was. I can see a lot of problems coming out of this.

Edited by clay
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Land Matters did update their Mining Claim Maps today.

I've received a lot of calls and emails from claim owners saying their claims were closed in error. Some State BLM offices have admitted there are errors and are in the process of fixing them.

If your claim was closed it may have been reopened. There were 1,791 new claims since the mass closures. Maybe your claim has been reopened and is one of the "new" claims? Here's a tip on how Land Matters makes that easier to find.

TIP: Land Matters Mining Claim maps all have a map display layer named "New Claims". This map layer is turned off when you first start the mining claim map. If you select the checkbox next to "New Claims" and click the reload map control all the claims that have been located since the last update will be highlighted in red. You can even uncheck the other claim layers and the only mining claims displayed will be the claims located in the most recent update.


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So i have a question that ive been asking for a long time and it seems like everyone i have asked didn't know the answer for sure. I have had claims in the past and i know how the process works. I know all about the sections, 1/4 sections and 1/4-1/4 sections. Obviously the 1/4 sections that are marked NW, SW, SE Etc are easy. My question is, what the heck are the 1/4 sections that are marked with the letter L??? Example L2,L3 and so on. They aren't in any patented ground that i can see, so what the heck are they? Thanks guys!

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There isn't a quick answer to your question nugget108 but I'll give it a shot.

The public lands of the United States have been surveyed under a system created by Thomas Jefferson and implemented before the Constitution was signed. The general idea of the survey was to create 36 mile square Townships that are then divided into 36 one mile square Sections. I'm pretty sure you already know that part of the public survey.

Once you get down to the Section level the survey consists of one corner monument per section. When the survey is completed this will provide a surveyed monument on every corner of every Section. Quarter sections are not a normal part of the survey. In almost all cases they are theoretical as are the 16 quarter quarter parts of the Section. The 16 quarter quarter parts are known as aliquot parts because they are the same size and shape and can be equally divided. In theory if everything went hunky dory with the survey this completes the survey.

The problem comes in when reality strikes. It's very difficult to survey exactly a township or even exactly a square mile. Mistakes are made, mountains and rivers get in the way and graft and corruption have left us with many so so surveys. The ultimate result of all these survey problems is that there will be Sections that when divided equally do not result in equal parts (aliquots). Some parts will be bigger or smaller than the 40 acres required for an aliquot quarter quarter.

The leftover non aliquot parts still have to be accounted for in the survey. This is done by individually surveying each non regular portion of the survey. These non regular surveys are called Government Lots. This is abbreviated to L on the survey with a number attached to distinguish that Government Lot from the other Government Lots in the same Section. So typically you will see L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, L6 and possibly more Lots.

All government lots will be less or more than 40 acres. This really matters when locating a placer claim on an area that covers part of a Government Lot. You will need to describe your placer claim by metes and bounds rather than by aliquot part. There is no such thing as "the west half of Lot 4" or any other fraction of a Lot.

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