The North American Gold Royalty Company

3 Steps to Finding Federal-Government Owned Lands That Are Open to Gold Mining Claims

Gold Panning Is Still Good Way to Find Surface Gold/Gold Mining

The gold rush days of America may have ended in the 1800's, but many people are still dreaming about staking their claim and becoming filthy rich in the process.

The General Mining Act of 1872 is a United States federal law that authorizes and governs prospecting and mining for economic minerals, such as gold, platinum, and silver, on federal public lands. Therefore, the federal government of the US has several lands across the country that are still open to unpatented mining claims. Anyone who really wants to try their luck at it only needs to find the right location and filing a claim.

There are several types of mining claims:

  • Patented Claims is where the government issued an actual deed for the claim.
  • Placer Claims are for surface mining only
  • Millsite Claims allow for the construction of processing facilities on the property
  • Unpatented Mining Claims make up most of the federal lands and can be staked by anyone if they are not already claimed.

You should note that some federal lands are closed to mining. However, there are multiple other spots where mining is allowed for a minimal cost. You should do your homework in determining which areas are open to mining claims.

Here’s an outline of the few steps needed to get started:

Step 1

Choose a location where you would like to stake your claim. Here are the 19 states where federal mining claims are available: Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, California, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, Washington, Arkansas, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Utah, and Montana.

Step 2

Go to the local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office or the United States Forest Service (USFS) ranger station in your chosen locality to see whether the area you are considering have already been staked or have existing mining claims that have been patented. They can also tell you if the area is closed to mining. Areas that are off-limits to mining are:

  • Lands designated as wilderness,scenic or roadless areas
  • Wildlife refuges, national parks and monuments
  • Indian reservations
  • Military bases and surrounding buffer zones

Step 3

Next, check out the applicable state laws depending on the lands you are considering. State laws must comply with the federal laws, but states also have the right to exercise control over any area that falls within their borders. Some states impose greater environmental restriction than the federal government.

This can have a significant impact on where you may want to stake a claim. Every state has a specific office that handles mining protocols, for example, Oregon has the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. Go to the appropriate office to confirm the open areas are not subject to state restrictions.

You can stake an unpatented lode claim for underground deposits or a placer claim for minerals on the surface. The placer claims are generally identified by the surveyor’s marks and lot lines, and are usually 20 acres. You can also purchase patented mining claims in a simple real estate transaction.

You should always check with the local BLM or USFS office to see whether the claim you are staking has a previous claim on it.

Even though the mining claims are supposed to be marked physically, sometimes the markings may have been destroyed. And just because the marking has been destroyed doesn’t mean the claimant has lost the mining rights. So, tread carefully and do thorough research.

Here is a website that will provide more information including exactly how to stake your claim.


This article contains the author's opinions. These are not investment-related recommendations. Do not consider the article as any type of commercial solicitation or an investment product offer.

About the Company

Ely Gold Royalties Inc. is a Vancouver-based emerging royalty company with development assets focused in Nevada and the Western US. Its current portfolio includes 33 Deeded Royalties and 21 Optioned Properties including two separate royalties on the Gold Rock Mine. The portfolio is currently generating significant revenue.

Ely Gold’s royalty portfolio includes producing royalties, fully permitted mines, mines under construction and development projects that are being permitted for mine construction.