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General Laws & Citation Summary << Download
LAW IS FOUND CODIFIED IN TITLE 30 USC (Sec 21A
to Sec 54),
inclusively. For reference:
7. USC Title 30
22, "Except as otherwise provided, all
valuable mineral deposits in lands belonging to the
United States, both surveyed and unsurveyed, shall
be free and open to exploration and purchase, and
the lands in which they are found to occupation and
purchase, by citizens of the United States and those
who have declared their intention to become such,
under regulations prescribed by law, and according
to the local customs or rules of miners in the
several mining districts, so far as the same are
applicable and not inconsistent with the laws of the
8. USC Title
26, "The claimant has the exclusive
right to possession and enjoyment of all the
surface included within the lines of the
Union Oil Co. of California v. Smith, 249
U.S. 337, 349 (1919); Wilbur v. U.S. ex rel.
Krushnic, 1930, 50 S.Ct. 103, 280 U.S. 306,
74 L.Ed. 445; California Coastal Comm'n v.
Granite Rock Co., 480 U.S. 572, 575, 107
S.Ct. 1419, 1422, 94 L.Ed. 2d 577 (1987);
Swanson v. Babbitt, 3 F.3d 1348, 1350 (9th
Cir. 1993). The
locators of all mining locations made on any
mineral vein, lode, or ledge, situated on the public
domain, their heirs and assigns, where no adverse
claim existed on the 10th day of May 1872 so long as
they comply with the laws of the United States, and
with State, territorial, and local regulations not
in conflict with the laws of the United States
governing their possessory title, shall have the
exclusive right of possession and enjoyment of all
the surface included within the lines of their
locations, and of all veins, lodes, and ledges
throughout their entire depth.
claim holder must prepare locational records and
must expend at least $100 of labor on the claim each
year, Id. Sec 28. If these requirements are met
and the claim is thus perfected, its locator
"shall have the exclusive right to possession and
enjoyment of all the surface included within the
lines of their locations," Id. Sec 26, even as against
the United States which nevertheless retains title
to the land." Granite Rock Co. v. California Coastal
10. "The rule is established by
innumerable decisions of this Court, and of state
and lower federal courts, that, when the location
of a mining claim is perfected under the law, it
has the effect of
a grant by the United States of the right of
present and exclusive possession. The claim is property in the
fullest sense of that term;" WILBUR,
Secretary of the Interior, v. UNITED STATES
ex rel. KRUSHNIC, 280 U.S. 306 (50 S.Ct.
103, 74 L.Ed. 445) 1930.
11. However, when
rights have attached as a result of a
valid location, the land becomes segregated from the
public domain and the property of the
locator; and the title to the land is held
in trust for the claimant until patent. (Noyes v. Mantle, 127 U.S.
348,351; Dahl v. Raunheim,
260, 262; Gillis v. Downey, 85 Fed. 483,
12. "A grant, in its own
nature, amounts to an extinguishment of the right of the grantor, and
implies a contract not to reassert that right. A party is, therefore, always
estopped by his own grant." Fletcher v. Peck, 10 U.S. 87
13. VALID mining claims are
"private property" Freese v. United States, 639
F.2d 754, 757, 226 Ct.Cl. 252 cert. denied,
454 U.S. 827, 102 S.Ct. 119, 70 L.Ed.2d 103
(1981); Oil Shale Corp. v. Morton, 370
F.Supp. 108, 124 (D.Colo. 1973).
14. Such an interest may be
asserted against the United States as well as against third parties
Best v. Humboldt Placer Mining Co., 371
U.S. 334, 336 (1963); Gwillim v.
Donnellan, 115 U.S. 45, 50 (1885)) and may
not be taken from the claimant by the
United States without due compensation.
See United States v. North American
Transportation & Trading Co., 253 U.S.
330 (1920); Licenses
are not protected by the Fifth Amendment. [cited
omitted]. But pedis claims are.
Forest Service and BLM wrongly
assert the Surface Resources Act,
1955, "amends" the Mining Law to
condition Locatable Minerals
property granted in 1866 to 1872.
The Act did not.
however, is not required, and an
unpatented mining claim remains a fully
recognized possessory interest. Best
v. Humboldt Placer Mining Co.,
335, 83 S.Ct. 379, 381, 9 L.Ed.2d 350
(1963); United States v. Locke, 471 U.S.
84, 86 (1985).
17. "but so long as
he complies with the provisions of the
mining laws his possessory right, for all
practical purposes of ownership, is
as good as though secured by patent."." Wilbur
v. U.S. ex rel. Krushnic, 1930, 50 S.Ct. 103,
280 U.S. 306, 74 L.Ed. 445.
This summary is no substitute for proper application and more thorough knowledge.