What is a mining claim?
A mining claim is ownership of mineral rights in a defined area of public land.
“Ownership of mineral rights (more properly “mineral interest”) is an estate in real property. Technically it is known as a mineral estate, although often referred to as mineral rights. It is the right of the owner to exploit, mine, and/or produce any or all of the minerals lying below the surface of the property.
The mineral estate of the land includes all organic and inorganic substances that form a part of the soil. Exceptions would be sand, gravel, limestone, subsurface water, etc. which are normally considered part of the surface estate.”
How to Buy a Mining Claim
As interest in mining claims grows, so does the amount of misinformation that is perpetrated. Especially on eBay. In the last 10 years, we have seen mining claim values jump, dip and jump again. We have seen “experts” come and go. Promoters, looking to make a quick buck at the cost of the industry. This said, there have also been considerable fortunes made by customers that vetted their claims wisely.
Consider this a definitive guide about mining claims from experts in the field. We have been working with mining claims all across the western states for the past 19 years. This review comes from unparalleled knowledge, and unlike other reviews, can all be verified with state and federal agencies. Nothing is subjective here, just facts.
If you are investing in a house, you get an agent and make sure everything is done right. So why would you invest in a claim without doing the same work. There are a lot of “weekend prospectors” who have very little knowledge, but are happy to tell you how to locate a mine. We say, look at the source, if they aren’t prospering from their mines, they probably aren’t good source of information.
To start, let’s get a few basic questions out of the way:
Are there any good mining claims left?
Mining claims come up for renewal every year on September 1st. If you don’t renew, you lose your claim. This is a hard date and there is no grace period. People die, go to war, and lose their claims for a variety of reasons. Companies go bankrupt or insolvent, so potentially, every year there are new claims.
Do I own the land with a mining claim?
No, you own the mineral rights. With the correct paperwork, you can fence off your claim and restrict public access.
What do I need to start mining my claim?
This depends on the level of mining you intend to execute. Most will want to start under the guise of Casual Use. This definition is different from state to state, but generally involves the use of no heavy machinery (over 10hp), less than 100 tons of material being removed from the site, and less than 5 acres of land disturbed.
What is the difference in a placer and a lode claim?
Placer claims are for those who never really want a return from their claim.
Placer gold is left over gold that has floated down from a deposit of gold. Placer claims are cheap and you usually get what you pay for. Not even large dredging companies last for long with placer gold. You cannot break minerals out of rock with a placer claim. You cannot work underground or with a hammer with a placer. It’s purely to pick up leftovers. Placer claims cannot be located over lode claims.
Lode Claims are where your value is. With a lode claim you are chasing the “’lode” the main deposit of minerals. Gold, silver, copper, platinum and more. This is how small miners become rich miners. This is how small companies become massive. Open the right lode and its like cash pouring out. Lode claims are what mining companies acquire because they have legitimacy. You cannot locate a placer over a lode claim. A lode claim can be placed over a placer claim.
Why not just stake your own claim?
Location, accuracy and peace of mind. It surely seems easy to find some old mine and claim it. But is it already claimed? Maybe it’s private? Maybe the land has been withdrawn. Sure it looks easy, but there are a myriad of issues that can be found with land.
Consider also why the mine is abandoned. There are thousands of mines out there; most of them have miniscule minerals. Do you know what to look for? There is extensive leg work in finding a good mine that has good minerals. The average person doesn’t have the time or the knowledge to locate sites of real value.
Last but not least is the filing. What if your paperwork is wrong or not filed with the right people? Or your mapping skills aren’t quite up to snuff. Well, you don’t have a claim. The BLM might not tell you right off, it might take 6 or 8 months, and then suddenly you are liable for anything you ever touched on that ground!
How do you determine what a claim is worth?
That is the million dollar question, and a benefit to finding a claim on eBay. You can determine the value. Just because someone wants $10k for their claim, doesn’t mean it’s worth it, you may never get anything out of that claim.
How do you determine who to buy from?
This is about doing your homework. Anyone can file a claim and sell it to you. Just because you bought it on eBay doesn’t mean it’s valid. Research your seller, determine their end goals. Use logic.
A person that claims knowledge of mines and mining claims, but has never been in a mine doesn’t have much credibility. Beware of sellers who work with agencies that close mines and then try to sell you a site. You may lose your claim before you even get to it. And the “desert prospector”, who plays the “good ole boy” card. Selling his claim because he has made enough money off it? Really? Look around, these people are out there.
In the end, it comes down to knowledge and expertise. Find a good company, with a good reputation, and then find a site that you feel good about. Your seller should be able to answer all your questions and help you make your claim a sound investment.
What We Do
Our goal is to preserve mining history. We survey, document and then claim and sell the best mines. We prefer to sell mining claims to those who will actively work the claim and keep the mine open. If you’ve always dreamed of owning a gold mine, but didn’t know where or how to start. We would like to help you out. Click on the links to learn how to mine the gold, or click on this link to visit our store and see our most recent gold and silver mining claims. We wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.