I don't know the back story on any of this. Just posting this info to tack onto Old Coots post on the mining laws and the maintenance fees.
"General Mining Law of 1872
The federal law governing locatable minerals is the General Mining Law of 1872 (May 10, 1872), which declared all valuable mineral deposits in land belonging to the United States to be free and open to exploration and purchase.
This law provides citizens of the United States the opportunity to explore for, discover, and purchase certain valuable mineral deposits on public domain minerals.
Federal Land Policy & Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA)
This Act did not amend the 1872 law, but did affect the recordation and maintenance of claims. Persons holding existing claims were required to record their claims with BLM by October 1979, and all new claims were required to be recorded with BLM. FLPMA’s purpose was to provide BLM with information on the locations and number of unpatented mining claims, mill sites, and tunnel sites to determine the names and addresses of current owners, and to remove any cloud of title on abandoned claims.
What is a Mining Claim?
A mining claim is a parcel of land for which the claimant has asserted a right of possession and the right to develop and extract a discovered, valuable, mineral deposit. This right does not include exclusive surface rights (see Public Law 84-167).
Locatable minerals include both metallic minerals (gold, silver, lead, etc.) and nonmetallic minerals (fluorspar, asbestos, mica, etc.). It is nearly impossible to list all locatable minerals because of the complex legal requirements for discovery."
An annual $140 maintenance fee per claim is required to be filed or postmarked (if mailed) on or before September 1 of the year preceding an assessment year. (For example, for the 2005 assessment year which begins September 1, 2004, the maintenance fees must be paid by September 1, 2004.)
Maintenance Fee Payment Waiver Certification (aka Small Miners Exemption)
If a claimant owns 10 or fewer active claims/sites on Federal land in the United States, he may qualify for a maintenance fee payment waiver. Waivers must be filed or postmarked (if mailed) on or before September 1 for the subsequent assessment year. There is no fee to file a waiver. A waiver must be filed prior to each year a waiver of the fees is desired.
If a claimant owns claims in more than one state, he/she must file a waiver form in each appropriate BLM State Office.
By filing a waiver form, the claimant is stating that assessment work has been or will be done, and that the proper affidavits of labor will be timely filed.
Annual Assessment Work
Claimants who perform assessment work must spend a minimum of $100 in labor or improvements on each claim, and record evidence of such with the BLM by December 30th of the calendar year in which the assessment year ended. FLPMA required the same document be filed with BLM which has been or will be recorded with the appropriate county office. The charge for recording an affidavit of annual assessment with BLM is $10 per claim. The annual assessment document must be filed or postmarked by December 30th.
The assessment work must be performed within the period defined as the assessment year.
Assessment work is not a requirement for owners of mill or tunnel sites; however, they must file a notice of intent to hold (NOIH) the site. BLM requires a $10 service charge per site for filing a NOIH.
Assessment work includes, but is not limited to, drilling, excavations, driving shafts and tunnels, sampling (geochemical or bulk), road construction on or for the benefit of the mining claim; and geological, geochemical, and geophysical surveys.
Chart showing all Fees & Service Charges
New Location Notices/Sites
Proof of Labor
Notice of Intent to Hold
Transfer of Interest (per transfer/per person)
Petition for Deferment of Assessment Work