BUYING A MINING CLAIM AND THE PROCESS OF QUITCLAIMS:
We have fielded several calls over the years and have seen an increase lately about “quitclaims” for mining claims, BTW, it is not called a “quick claim”.
We want to tell you a little story, then we’ll describe in detail what the process is.
One of the men we are currently helping purchased a mining claim from a seller (grantor) with a friend of his…..two buyers, one seller. We’ll call the buyer (grantee) we are helping Jason and the other buyer Clem.
It was a valid claim, legally filed and recorded at the county, has good gold and was worth the purchase price. Both Jason and Clem were on the quitclaim and the seller did in fact have the document notarized (an example is below). The quitclaim document in question was not recorded at the county and shortly thereafter, Clem is trying to eliminate Jason’s ownership interest by claiming Clem essentially mortgaged the claim to a lender and defaulted. The assertion is now that Jason who was a buyer and had no part in any loan has now lost his interest because Clem took out the loan and defaulted.
Legally speaking, while this will likely result in litigation, Jason had no knowledge of any loan. He did not participate in, or have any knowledge of any loans taken out on the claim and has not lost his interest in the claim. Clem who took out the loan, if a contract was drafted with the lender, was a legal contract and was signed by Clem may have lost his 50% share of the claim.
What complicates this particular case is that the original seller now has changed the quitclaim document after the fact to quitclaim it to the loan company. Fundamentally illegal in our opinion. The seller is also refusing to provide a copy of the original document to Jason, who in his error did not obtain a copy at the signing of the quitclaim. Clem, his partner/friend is also refusing to provide Jason with any of the copies, both the original one, or the new one created by Clem and the seller.
Once a quitclaim is completed and notarized, it is a legal binding contract/sale with transfer of ownership. The seller cannot just go back in time after money has exchanged hands, months later, the notary process was completed and change the fundamentals of the agreed upon contract.
Side note: If you pick up a claim with another individual, draft up a contract or have an attorney draft up a contract defining roles and ownership. It’s worth the money.
The process for buying a claim is as follows:
Firstly, do your due diligence and check the BLM MLRS system to establish it is a valid claim with no issues.
Check the MTP (Master Title Plat) to make sure it’s not over a withdrawn area, private property or some other land which may cause problems.
If you’re buying a claim, we strongly encourage you to check who is selling it. There are a lot of folks out there selling crap claims, worked out claims and even claims where they are invalid.
Obtain a copy from the county to which it was recorded to validate it was in fact recorded as this is a requirement for any valid mining claim.
Go to the claim and make sure it is clearly marked and not over someone’s private property (yes, we’ve seen this many, many times). BLM will take your money for just about anything you file, we know this first hand as about 15 years ago, I myself made a mistake on filing a claim over private property and of course BLM took my money and then later said “it’s a civil matter”. I dropped that claim, but lost my money.
With all that being checked and it’s a good, valid claim…you decide to buy it.
For each 20 acres (if it’s a placer claim) you will need one signature. Meaning, if the claim is 57 acres, you will need 3 different people (actual, real people) for this claim. For a 120 acre claim, you would need 6 people. Lode claims are restricted to just over 20 acres and only require one signature. We have heard of examples where the BLM allows even up to 160 acre claims to be sold to a single individual (buyer/grantee) but in our experience that is not common.
Time to buy the claim:
Obtain a blank quitclaim deed for the state you are in. They are easily found on-line for free. These change frequently in many states so make sure you have the most current version. The paperwork is pretty straightforward and anyone can fill it out.
Have this document notarized (required) by a licensed notary where all the people who are purchasing the claim sign in person in front of the notary.
Record the document with the county.
Send a copy of the county stamped document to BLM. We encourage sending it to BLM certified so they have to sign for it, or hand deliver it to them.
We have seen BLM screw up hundreds of simple clerical tasks and this simple extra few bucks allows you to show, in court if necessary that they did receive it. We also encourage using what is called a “conformed copy” which is a live-ink, exact copy of the document you can send to BLM, but still retain a live-ink actually copy for your own records. This way, if BLM loses it, you still have one in your possession. We do this on every one of our claims.
The claim is now yours.
We are currently in the process of editing a video series on “how to file a mining claim”. In this video series, we explain, on film how to navigate the BLM MLRS system (mining claims), how to fill out the paperwork, record and obtain a valid claim. It’s one helluva video and editing it has been….well rather challenging. We hope to have it out soon.
Finding your own claim and filing it yourself is relatively easy and is typically around $300 for a 20 acre claim as opposed to buying one from someone for $2,000 to skys the limit prices. We’ve seen absurd prices on mining claims and we cringe when we read on FB of someone posting they have problems with their claim after purchasing it because they did not validate it prior to purchase.
In closing, we’ve been contacted by so many people over the years where the “friendship” has turned south and one owner is claiming the other can’t mine it. Happens more than you think. Draft up (if you have the knowledge), or have an attorney draft up a simple 50/50 ownership contract….it’s more than worth it.
AMRA has over 80 claims in 8 states and through these claims we offer unlimited access memberships for a tax-deductble donation. It is how we fund our efforts to help the small-scale mining community. Go to join us on the main page or consider making a donation to AMRA so we may continue our efforts.