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What are Mining Claims?
The General Mining Act of 1872 sets the standard and outlines the definition of a "mining claim". The General Mining Act of 1872 is a United States federal law that authorizes and governs prospecting and mining for economic minerals, such as gold and silver, on publicly owned lands. This law, approved on May 10th, 1872, codified the informal system of acquiring and protecting mining claims on public land.

A mining claim is the right to explore for and extract minerals from a tract of land. The mining law of 1866 gave discoverers rights to stake mining claims to extract gold, silver, cinnabar (the principal ore of mercury) and copper. When Congress passed the General Mining Act of 1872, the wording was changed to "or other valuable deposits," which provided a broader scope to the law with regards to mineral discovery and recovery. The mining law opens up land in the public domain, that is, federal land which has never been set aside for a specific use.


What is an unpatented claim?
All mining claims are initially unpatented mining claims, which give the right only for those activities necessary to explore for and extract minerals. "Unpatented" means that the federal government owns the land, but the claim owner owns the rights to the minerals. Unpatented mining claim owners are authorized to build temporary structures on their claims in order to support mining activities. Structures are not allowed to be permanent in nature and must be removed when mining operations are terminated.


Can I convert my mining claim?
The original mining law gave miners the opportunity to obtain patents (deeds from the government), much as farmers could obtain title under the Homestead Act. A patented mining claim is one for which the Federal Government has formally passed its title to the claimant, thus turning an unpatented mining claim into actual private land. A mineral patent gives the owner exclusive title to the locatable minerals. It also gives the owner title to the surface and other resources, just like in normal private property. This means that the owners of patented lands own the land as well as the minerals.

The Federal government no longer offers the ability to "patent" public lands. This law may change in the future, and if it does, there will be a significant amount of patent applications submitted.


What can I do on my claim?
You may use as much of the surface as reasonably necessary for mining your claim(s). You may also recreate on your unpatented mining claim as well, such as fishing, camping, hiking, swimming, etc. Please be sure to check with the local authorities with regards to the laws governing your activities on this federal property.

Remember that others may recreate upon unpatented mining claims as well, but they may not extract minerals for which you have secured those rights. Many miners try to keep recreating guests off their claims by marking property as "private" or scaring off people with false information and threats. This activity is illegal and should be reported immediately to the authorities. The public is permitted to recreate on the property so long as they are not impeding upon mineral recovery activities.


Do I own the land?
Owners of unpatented mining claims do not own the land on which their claim resides. They simply own the mineral rights to the land. Only owners of patented property own the actual land. Owners of unpatented mining claims own 100% of the rights to extract the minerals and retain what is recovered. These mineral ownership rights are "real property" as passed by Federal law. These rights are recorded and deeded by the County and Federal government. Some states and counties also charge state and/or county taxes on this property.

As real property, owners of unpatented mining claims own a very real and valuable asset. It is common for this ownership to be passed on to future generations in wills and inheritances. As the owner of the claim, you may assign ownership to any persons you desire.


Can I live on my Mining Claim?
Building a structure on your mining claim simply for recreation or purposes other than mining is illegal. All buildings, equipment, fences, signs, roads, any man made changes on the mining claim must be reasonably related to the mining activity. To build on a mining claim, you must first obtain a permit from the Federal agency managing the surface, for example, the US Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management.


What permits are needed?
Each state has different permit requirements for the use of public lands. These uses include mining operations and recreational activities of any kind. For example, the Forest Service may require you file an NOI (Notice of Intent) and/or a PoO (Plan of Operation) if you intend on taking your mining operations from a recreational aspect to a small or large-scale mining operation. On June 6, 2005 the US Forest Service published its Final Rule on Section 228.4 in the Federal Register. Section 228.4 regards when it is necessary for a miner or prospector to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) or Plan of Operation (PoO) with the USFS.

Many National Forests require the use of a campfire permit between dates of historically dry weather. These permits are free and can be obtained directly at the regional District Ranger office. Any item which produces a flame is considered a "fire", so always obtain a campfire permit even if you are using a single burner propane stove to make some coffee.

Certain mining operations may also require a permit. Suction dredging in most states requires a permit. The cutting of trees and removal of brush to construct a road to facilitate your mining operation may also require a permit. Please be sure to check with the local authorities before commencing in any activity which alters your mining claim. We highly advise our clients to be sure they know the laws (and operate within the laws) before commencing any mining operation, whether on a recreational basis or within a complete mining operation of any size and scope.


What are the annual fees?
Mining claim ownership comes with the responsibility of ensuring you retain the mineral rights to your claim. Failure to complete these requirements will result in the loss of these ownership rights.

The Bureau of Land Management imposes annual "Maintenance Fees" on every mining claim in the United States. This annual requirement (due by 1 September of each year) is easy to complete. Persons who own 10 mining claims or less can file a "Small Miners Waiver" by 1 September of each year and agree to perform and report their actual maintenance on their claims. This is Form 3830-2. Owners then submit, by 30 December of each year, an Affidavit of Assessment Work (Proof of Labor) which shows what they have done on each claim, and they remit $10 per claim with that document in order to complete the annual requirement.

Claim owners who own more than 10 claims are not eligible to submit for the "Small Miners Waiver" and must pay the Bureau of Land Management $140 per claim, postmarked by 1 September of each year. In some cases, even persons who own less than 10 claims may decide to simply pay the fee instead of completing the "Small Miners Waiver".

In addition to completing the BLM requirements, mining claim owners must also inform the County (in which their Deed is registered) that they have met the annual BLM requirements and intend to hold the claim for future mining use. This process is called the "Notice of Intent to Hold". Some states also charge state or county tax on this real property, so owners must be prepared to pay such taxes each year. When informing the County that you intend to hold the claim(s), enclose a copy of the receipt from BLM which states you have met the annual requirements. In your Notice of Intent to Hold, inform the county that all annual requirements with BLM have been met.

Failure to complete all of these annual requirements will result in the loss of the ownership of the mineral rights on the property.


Do I get to keep what I find?
You own all of the mineral rights to your mining claim(s) and are not required to pay a royalty to anyone for extracting such minerals.


What if there are locked gates?
Accodring to Federal law, the owner of an unpatented mining claim cannot be denied access to his property. Generally, if a locked gate is preventing you from accessing your claim, the Forest Service (or appropriate agency) most likely has an asset or resource in that area that they have determined requires protecting. They must provide you with a key or the combination to the lock. Simply inform them of your claim ownership and request the desired access. Be prepared to provide them with a copy of your deed, or a signed letter from the claim owner (and their phone number) which provides you with the permission to extract minerals from the property.


What can others do on my mining claim?
Unpatented mining claims reside on public land. This public land is open to any and all citizens for purpose of recreating and enjoyment. Others may enjoy these rights on your claim so long as they are not negatively affecting your mining activity. This includes camping, hunting, fishing, boating, etc.

Please be considerate and polite with others who intend on enjoying public lands. In most cases, visitors are not aware of your activity and your mineral rights on the property. A simple conversation with them will help them understand what your rights are, and both parties can recreate on the same property in peace.


Can I visit the property(s) before buying them?
Union Mining Group highly recommends potential buyers visit the property(s) they are interested in acquiring. Even though our research and listings are the best in the industry, a higher level of knowledge is gained by stepping foot on the land.

Visiting these properties on public lands is within each person's rights. However, if any kind of testing or mineral extraction is required, we require this request (containing the details of your testing program) be made in writing prior to your visit. Our authorization for this activiy will only be approved via formal correspondance from Union Mining Group. Failure to obtain this authorization prior to this activity is an infraction of Federal law. Union Mining Group, together with the Clients we represent, will pursue legal action per these protected rights.


Can I finance my purchase?
Union Mining Group works closely with our clients based on their desires to sell their mineral rights. Some Clients have already established a firm price for their property. In other cases, Union Mining Group will help our Clients establish a listing price based on market trends and recent sales of similar properties.

Some of our Clients are comfortable with offering terms of financing. In such cases, Union Mining Group will handle all contract transactions and deliver monthly payments per contracted agreements. If financing terms are available, these terms will be identified within the property listing and are, in most cases, set in accordance with the owner(s) desires. Some flexibility may be available and identified as such within the property listing.

Financing terms are not available if they are not specifically addressed within a property listing. Please read each property listing carefully, every page, to fully understand the owner(s) desires. We will answer the questions we receive concerning each property, but if those questions are answered within the listing, we will simply request that you "read the listing".


Will you help me sell my claim?
Union Mining Group receives a high volume of requests to serve as a Trusted Agent, for both buyers and sellers. Please contact Union Mining Group if you are interested in selling your mineral rights using Union Mining Group as your Trusted Agent. Our process is methodical and comprehensive to ensure we only represent the finest mineral properties and clients.

Before contacting Union Mining Group, please be prepared to provide us with:

- The claim(s) location (State and County)
- A description of the claim to include size, any history, and past or recent activity
- Claim Serial Number, as issued by the Bureau of Land Management
- The County Document Stamp or County Identification Number
- A copy of the Mining Claim Deed(s) and the Location Notices
- The price you are expecting to receive when sold
- Type of Sale (cash only, cash with financing, lease, trade, flexible terms or non-flexible terms)


Will you help me buy a claim?
Union Mining Group serves as a Trusted Agent for both buyers and sellers. Our Company serves as the conduit between each party and completes the transaction(s) from start to finish. Our services are unparalled within the industry and unique to each Client.

If you are interested in utilizing our services to make a purchase, please provide us with the following initial information:

- Your name and location
- The type of property you are looking for (placer or lode/hard rock)
- The size of the property you are looking for (small, medium, or large)
- Your planned activity(s) (recreational, small scale mining operation, large scale mining operation)
- The timeline in which you would like to make your purchase (in months or years)
- The price range you expect to pay (example $20k-$30k, or $1.5M - $2.0M)
- The intent on which you expect to pay for your purchase (cash, cash and financing)

Important: You may appoint Union Mining Group as your Trusted Agent even if the property you are looking for is not yet located or listed on our site. We will do our best to meet your desires if you are willing to give us the required time to do so, keeping your interests in mind.


How do I pay for my purchase?
Union Mining Group offers a variety of payment options to process monthly payments or scheduled payment installments. Personal checks or bank drafts are the most common form of payment, as well as automatic bank transfers and direct deposit payments from trusted financial institutions. We do not accept money orders of any kind or payments via credit card.

The Company receives payments directly from buyers and issues those funds to sellers per contract agreements.


What fees do I pay to Union Mining Group?
Union Mining Group does not impose any buyer fees. All fees are incorporated into a contract agreement between Union Mining Group and the Seller(s) of each property.

Seller Fees will vary based on those services performed by Union Mining Group in accordance with the desires of the Seller(s) and a signed contract agreement. Those services conducted prior to a presentation listing (property listing) are paid in advance. Our commission is based on a fixed percentage of the final sale price of each property and is collected by Union Mining Group per the signed contract agreement.


What services do you provide?
Union Mining Group is the market leader in bringing the highest quality mineral properties to market. As such, we offer a broad range of services to support the desires of our Clients. Such services include:

- Documentation and Contract Preparation
- Photos and Videos
- Detailed Historical Research
- Presentation (listing) creation
- Client Services (meetings, tours, contracts, payments, etc)
- Property Preparation (ensuring properties are properly marked within Federal requirements)
- Annual BLM Fee payments and/or State/County Tax payments
- Deed preparation.

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