What is a gold claim

Staking Claims For Gold & Other Valuable Minerals

Properties that are owned by a state or the federal government are normally considered to be public property.  However, you cannot extract valuable materials – including gold – from that property without staking a claim.  Failing to stake a gold claim can result in severe fines and penalties, as well as a complete seizure of any minerals you’ve already extracted.

However, gold claims also benefit the claimant by offering a measure of security on the gold that they have discovered in an area and wish to further develop for profit.  If you have properly staked a claim, you – and in most cases ONLY you – have acquired the rights to extract and profit from the gold within your claim.

Different Gold Claims

Specific gold claims vary depending on several issues, such as if the public land is owned by the state government or the federal government.  There is a wide range of state offices that deal with gold claims – a little research for your state should easily point you in the right direction.  Gold claims for federally owned lands are handled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (the BLM).

Claims also differ depending on how you plan to extract the gold.  Placer claims are made for panning, dredging, and sluicing loose sedimentary particles.  For pit mining or underground mining operations that pull ore directly from hard rock, a lode claim is required.

Also, bear in mind that land that might be normally available for prospecting and issuing claims may be unavailable for staking a claim for any number of reasons.  If the land on which you have staked your claim is unavailable, your gold claim will be considered invalid.

Special Considerations Before Staking A Claim

In order to meet the requirements for staking a claim, you must be able to provide sufficient evidence that there is enough gold to yield in the area in order to be profitable.  This is known as the “Prudent man” rule.  That is, that you are not wasting the time and money to stake a claim with no proof that you will profit.

A good way to back up your claim is to consult with a local gold club or national association of gold claiming to find the history of the area you are claiming.  In this way, you can take, if nothing else, a history of gold yielded in the area to take to the office that will validate your claim.

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