Mineral Rights and Mining Claims
Mineral rights can be obtained on State or Federal lands that are open to mineral entry. Mining claims, leases, and mineral material sales apply to Federal Lands. Exploration permits, mineal and material leases apply to Arizona State Trust Land. The process may seem complex, but can be accomplished by the average citizen.
- The minimum recording expenditure is about $200 per new federal mining claim.
- Mining claims cannot be used as a residence or home site.
- There is a moratorium on patenting mining claims, thus no title to the surface can be obtained.
Two publications are essential if you intend to acquire mineral rights in Arizona:
- Special Report SR12, Laws and Regulations Governing Mineral Rights in Arizona
- Special Report SR23, Manual for Determination of Status and Ownership, Arizona Mineral and Water Rights.
They may be ordered from DMMR's publication list or perused at the Department's office or some libraries. Recent changes to regulations and fees are posted in Circular 104.
Acquiring Mineral Rights
The steps in acquiring mineral rights are generally as follows:
- Find an area of interest and determine its legal description (i.e. Township, Range, Section, etc.)
- Determine surface and subsurface ownership status as explained in Manual for Determination of Status and Ownership, Arizona Mineral and Water Rights
- Acquire and maintain mineral rights as described in Laws and Regulations Governing Mineral Rights in Arizona.
Arizona Mining Claim Forms
Laws and Regulations Governing Mineral Rights in Arizona contains the following forms related to Federal mining claims:
- Location Notice for Lode Mining Claim
- Location Notice for Placer Mining Claim
- Claim Map
- Notice of Non-liability for Labor and Materials Furnished
- Affidavit of Performance of Annual Work
- Notice of Intent to Hold Mining Claims - Certification of Payment of Rental Fee
- Form for listing additional claims
- DMMR added a new form in 2005 for recording and filing the Maintenance Fee Payment.
Click here to Download the mining claim forms (pdf format).
Links to specific land management agencies minerals information:
Bureau of Land Management:
The Bureau of Land Management's Arizona Office has additional information related to minerals and mining. The following links are suggested:
Land status maps, master title plats, and supplemental information can be found at the Maps, Plats, GIS and GPS page.
The BLM offers two online records research tools. The first is Legacy Rehost 2000, but better known as LR2000, for retrieving mining claim and lease records. The other tool is a map viewer called Geocommunicator. It links to LR2000 to provide mining claim records and also provides GIS data and maps of surface management, easements, topography, etc.
To download Mining District Sheets, Mineral Survey plats, and much more within Arizona begin with the Boundary Map link on BLM's Cadastral Survey web page. For other assistance call the Arizona State Office of the BLM at 602-417-9200 or 602-417-9528.
The Forest Service's Minerals page has information and forms related to mining claims, and mineral leases, and material sales within the national forest. There are also links to Forest Service regulations as well as forms for Notice of Intent to Operate and Mining Plan of Operations.
Arizona State Land Department
The Arizona Land Department's easy to use Parcel Viewer provides an interactive Arizona map that displays the State Trust and Public Land Ownership. The viewer readily shows the location of State of Arizona minerals and can provide information on the status of State of Arizona leases including minerals, surface, right of way and grazing leases. This versatile GIS tool displays townships and sections to determine a legal description, and offers a choice of base layers and map tools.