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The complex relationship between the BLM and mining operations

The mining industry brings millions, if not billions, of dollars to Nevada each year. One of the largest boons for the state's mining industry is lithium, which manufacturers use in much of today's technologies. In fact, the device you are using to read this article may use a battery containing lithium.

Other mining operations here involve silver, gold, gravel, crushed stone and sand, among other things. You may know all of this if you work in the mining industry. If you do, you are more than likely familiar with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, as well.

The BLM Nevada program

Nevada holds the honor of having the largest mineral program in the country. Almost half of all BLM's active mining claims belong to the state -- that's over 180,000 claims. The state also has at least 282 active exploration notices and no less than 198 mining plans authorized by the agency. The BLM Nevada program handles adjudicative duties and responsibilities in connection with the following:

  • Mineral surveys and patents
  • Federal mining claims
  • Review of mineral validity reports
  • Validation of title of evidence
  • Occupancy and use under mining laws
  • Service of federal minerals contest actions
  • Solid mineral prospecting permits
  • Processing mineral material disposal
  • Bonding documentation
  • Mineral lease applications

BLM also manages all of the federal mineral rights under private surface lands. Varieties of minerals are covered under the approximately 300,000 acres worth of split-estate lands in Nevada's federal mineral estate.

What this means for you

You could find yourself dealing with the BLM at some point in your mining operations. Many of the trespass actions, permits and applications for mineral rights here in the state are negotiated or litigated with the BLM. The need to deal with a federal agency usually sends up red flags for both individuals and business owners.

Whether you already have mining operations established or wish to do so, you may find it useful to gain an understanding of the laws, rules and regulations you may be subject to by the BLM. Of course, even if you believe you are in compliance or not on the BLM's radar, you may find out otherwise. It may be a good idea to consult with a Nevada mineral rights attorney before making any sort of response or application to the BLM.

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Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C.
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Henderson, NV 89074

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