For some federally-administered lands in Nevada, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) organizes and maintains the authority over those public lands’ surface. In other areas, the Forest Service may be in charge of the surface of any National Forest System (NFS) land. When it comes to mineral prospecting and claims, the BLM manages the subsurface land for its own parcels and the NFS land. 

How a claim is made

Those looking to mine have to acquire a prospecting permit before they stake a mining claim. The only minerals that are available for prospecting are those in the public domain. These potential mines are deemed ‘locatable minerals.’ The subsurface minerals must have remained continuously in federal ownership to qualify. If another federal agency also manages the land in question, a mining claim may be possible as long as that land is open. Here are some of the areas withdrawn from possible mining claims:

  • National Monuments and National Parks
  • Indian Reservations
  • Bureau of Reclamation Projects
  • Wildlife Protection Areas
  • Scientific Testing Areas

Understand what can disrupt a mining claim

A mining claim can give a claimant some necessary protections for developing a mineral mining operation on the land. The claim also gives them some protection from competing claimants. Despite these protections, the status of a parcel of land is not always stable. Here are the actions that might disrupt an active claim:

  • The BLM can propose to sell the land, which could alter the land’s status. 
  • Congress could establish a Wilderness Are. This designation would withdraw that demarcated parcel from all mineral entry. 

Protecting a mining claim

Between securing a mining claim and outcompeting other operations hoping to stake a similar claim, you need to explore all your options for solidifying that stake. Mining on federally-owned land can be a complicated process. Learn how to deal with a bureau of land management dispute.