top of page


THIS PAGE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION 10/1/2022.  Check back for info and rules with links regarding Mining Claim rules, this page will update many more times over the next couple months


  • How do I keep my mining claim active each year?
  • Do you accept payment plans on mining claims?
  • What is the difference between a Lode, Placer, Tunnel Site, and Millsite?
  • How do I keep my mining claim active each year?
  • Can I camp, live, or build on my mining claim?
Screenshot (9446)_edited.jpg
Screenshot (9445)_edited.jpg


With the increasing gold price over the past few years, there has been an increased interest in gold mining and people looking into purchasing a mining claim. Just like anything else in life, it is important that you do your research before making any major purchase, especially considering that many mining claims sell for many thousands of dollars. Certainly there plenty of valid claims out there that may be worth purchasing, but unfortunately the industry of mining claim sales is also infested with snake-oil salesman, selling claims that have almost no mineral value. Below are a few observations and questions that you should ASK before considering the purchase of a mining claim.

When was the claim filed? What is the BLM Serial # for the claim?  Most valuable mining claims have existed for many years, often many decades. If a claim was only filed a few months prior to sale, why would the original claim holder selling it so soon? Is there any sign of previous mining activity in the area? If there is no evidence of prior mining and a claim is only a few months old, I would be highly suspect about the mineral values available on the claim.  Also
do NOT buy claims that have NOT been filed with both the County AND BLM first!!  I have seen one opal miner in Nevada put a post in the ground every 90 days without filing with BLM to avoid the maintenance fees, he offers "tours" and then tries to sell you a mining claim that hasn't even been properly filed and does not even have a BLM# yet!!!  That is illegal because it is avoiding federal law, and it can invalidate the claims if it is done on a repetitive basis....  That scenario can create numerous headaches, avoid such scams! Yes, a claim is valid from the moment of discovery and posting the notice, but you don't know if there are competing rights until a BLM serial number has been assigned so that you can check and cross reference.  On the other hand, new claims can have valid deposits and the seller might just be trying to pay his or her bills quickly or to pay for looking for more deposits.  The life of a prospector and miner is to sell and keep looking for a bigger bonanza.  Fortunes have been made in the old days buying a claim for cheap (example: The Homestake Gold Mine in South Dakota).   Gem mines, with proven deposits still in the ground, are like having your own personal bank vault, only you have to work hard to get the money out of the vault! 

What type of claim is it? There are patented and unpatented mining claims, with the vast majority of claims being unpatented claims located on BLM and Forest Service land. This means that you are purchasing mineral rights to the land, and that is all. The land itself is still public and open to campers, hikers, shooters, and anyone who wants to recreate there. There is a common misconception that owning a mining claim gives you your own personal private piece of land all to yourself; this is NOT the case. You will own the rights to the mineral resources on the land, and that is all.

Will the seller allow you to sample the claim prior to purchase? If not, I would avoid the purchase like the plague! Think about it, would you buy a used car without firing it up and taking it for a test drive? Of course you wouldn’t, so why would you buy a mine or mining claim that you were not allowed to sample for a few days prior to opening your wallet? Anyone who is selling a valuable mining claim should welcome you to sample the property, which would prove its worth. Never buy a mining claim sight unseen.

How is access to the mining claim? Be sure that the area is accessible enough to meet your needs. Will you need 4x4 trucks or ATV’s to access the area, or will a 2WD car get you there. Also be aware that private lands can often landlock and restrict access to some public lands.

Be on the lookout for exaggerated advertising! This is prevalent in this industry. Pictures of old mining shacks, scenic mountain vistas, wildlife, and old relics don’t mean SQUAT when it comes to the mineral resources on the claim. Also beware of sellers showing pictures of something that was found "nearby" or within hundreds to thousands of yards from the claim, without anything found within the boundaries of the claim itself.  What is ACTUALLY important is evidence of prior mining activity, historic production records and other evidence that shows that gems, gold and other precious minerals actually exist on the claim itself, not nearby.  You must have a valuable discovery within the limits of your claim, not hundreds or thousands of feet away.  Don’t get distracted by the pretty pictures; you’re not buying the scenery.  

Understand that it generally costs less than $350 to file an unpatented mining claim. If the seller is asking thousands of dollars for their claim, the burden is on them to prove to you that there is enough gems, minerals, crystals or gold there to justify the price tag.  Are there photos or video of such within the boundaries of the claim, or records that show past production?  Old USGS reports, magazine or book references?  This is all relevant to the pricetag.  A "prospect" might cost you $600 without any evidence of anything within the claim.  A proven claim, for example might cost a few thousand dollars, into the hundreds of thousands for a productive gem mine with a proven record and history.

Remember that you don’t NEED to have a mining claim to have an area to prospect. Generally speaking, most public lands are open to prospecting if they have not already been claimed, and there is plenty of gold bearing ground out there that is still open to prospecting. With a bit of research you can find and file your own claim without purchasing one.  On the other hand, without a mining claim, you cannot sell any of the rocks, gold, gems, crystals or minerals that you find on federal public lands.  You MUST have a claim to sell minerals found from public federal lands or you can face a imprisonment up to 5 years and a fine of up to $250,000.-     Having a claim protects you.

Joining a local prospecting clubs is another option that will often grant you access to private claims. This is highly recommended for a beginning prospector, and is often a much better option than purchasing your own claim.

The main thing to remember is to treat the purchase of a mining claim just as you would with any other major purchase. Do your research and be confident that you are purchasing a claim that has REAL value. There are certainly valid mining claims for sale that would make a fine investment, but understand that a large percentage of claim sales today are being done purely to dupe uneducated buyers out of thousands of dollars for something worth essentially nothing. Don’t be one of them.

Good Luck to you and Happy Prospecting and Digging!!

bottom of page