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Arent meteorites / meteorite hunting with a metal detector still exempt from placer or lode claims? I know there has been some nice meteorites found in the Rye area's. Just be sure to leave the gold right where its at if you detect it on someones claim... :)

Dave

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12 minutes ago, DolanDave said:

Arent meteorites / meteorite hunting with a metal detector still exempt from placer or lode claims? I know there has been some nice meteorites found in the Rye area's. Just be sure to leave the gold right where its at if you detect it on someones claim... :)

Dave

I don't know how that rumor got started Dave. There is no such exemption and never has been.

All valuable minerals on a mining claim belong to the claimant. Meteorite minerals are valuable. Heck they are usually sold by the gram which puts them right up there with the most valuable minerals found.

Mining claims have been located, mined and granted patents for the meteorite minerals discovered on the claim. If you get right down to it all the minerals on every claim were put there my meteorites.

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5 minutes ago, DolanDave said:

Arent meteorites / meteorite hunting with a metal detector still exempt from placer or lode claims? I know there has been some nice meteorites found in the Rye area's. Just be sure to leave the gold right where its at if you detect it on someones claim... :)

Dave

The laws regarding meteorite ownership in the U.S. are very clear, and it has nothing to do with the mineral rights: a meteorite legally belongs to the owner of the land it is found on. So technically on public land that has a mineral claim, one has the right to search for and collect meteorites. But since meteorite law is not common knowledge, trying to convince a claim owner that sees you detecting for meteorites on his gold claim could be problematic! However, there are new BLM rules in place that allow only a certain amount to be collected per person per year. Not only that, but if the collection of meteorites on BLM land is for commercial purposes, i.e., with the intent to sell the meteorites, then a permit must be obtained, the cost of which is set by the local BLM office.

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16 minutes ago, Clay Diggins said:

All valuable minerals on a mining claim belong to the claimant. Meteorite minerals are valuable. Heck they are usually sold by the gram which puts them right up there with the most valuable minerals found.

This is a common misperception and simply is not the case; the meteorite laws in the U.S. clearly state that since meteorites are not part of the earthly estate of minerals, they are not locatable under the mining law and belong to the owner of the land they are found on.

https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/uploads/MediaCenter_PublicRoom_Nevada_Meteorites1.pdf

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Mining claims are not public land Lunk. The minerals are segregated from the public, they belong to the claim owner. 

It's true that if a meteorite falls on private property it belongs to the property owner. The public lands of the United States do not belong to the government they belong to the public. When a mining claim is located the minerals are granted to the locator. All members of the public that are citizens and have reached the age of majority can make a mining claim on lands open to location.

You can not locate a mining claim for meteorites but you can locate a mining claim for meteorite minerals.

On public lands where the minerals are still open to the public recreational and commercial collecting laws are in effect. As I recall those are based on a certain number of pounds per year. Commercial collection requires permits and taxes the same as any other lease or sale of public land materials.

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8 minutes ago, Lunk said:

This is a common misperception and simply is not the case; the meteorite laws in the U.S. clearly state that since meteorites are not part of the earthly estate of minerals, they are not locatable under the mining law and belong to the owner of the land they are found on.

There are no "meteorite laws" in the United States. Which is probably why they aren't common knowledge. If you know of one I'm sure you will share it here.

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Meteorites found on public land actually belong to the Smithsonian Institution as laid out in the meteorite law.

Being a meteorite hunter myself, I know there are definitely meteorite laws in the United States, and  they have been used in court battles over meteorite ownership disputes.

MediaCenter_PublicRoom_Nevada_Meteorites

And also:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteorite_hunter

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Okay Barry, it seems that the courts have ammended the common laws of property to decide meteorite ownership cases, but it is certain that the federal government has asserted that a meteorite does not qualify as a “valuable mineral” as defined under the 1872 Mining Law. So I would now have to say that the legality of collecting meteorites on federal land containing a mineral claim would have to ultimately be decided by the courts. I for one would approach the claim owner beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings.

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2 hours ago, Clay Diggins said:

There are no "meteorite laws" in the United States. Which is probably why they aren't common knowledge. If you know of one I'm sure you will share it here.

OK that was a trick question Lunk. You can't share any meteorite laws with us because there are none.

Many years ago I was constantly getting different answers about what was written in the law. Seems nobody could come up with a verifiable answer. It was all like this thread, different opinions and a lot of "everybody knows". I tried looking up the laws but that turned out to be full of lawyerspeak and Not Yours! attitudes in secret libraries far away from any working man. So I did the obvious - I went to law school and learned how to find and understand the actual written laws. Back then that wasn't an easy thing. Took years to figure the system out. Try looking up Shepardizing to get a hint as to how onerous the process was.

Lucky for us now in the modern times we can look up any Federal law quick and easy. No need for years in law school. It's like Google Search for law.  Here's a link to that search function direct from the folks that keep the law records. I've even done the search for you. As you can see the word meteorite is nowhere to be found in Federal law. I think we can agree that if the word meteorite is not to be found in the law then the law has nothing to say about meteorites? Feel free to play around there it's a great resource.

Of course being curious when I first heard these theories about meteorites not being valuable minerals I had to investigate every new theory being proposed.

One of the big fantasies in the meteorite circles was there was a case called "The Old Woman Meteorite". Supposedly this was the big case that established that meteories were not subject to location and belonged to the Smithsonian. Well such a case actually exists so I got a copy and read the case and it doesn't address meteorite ownership, mining claims or the actual meteorite itself.

The Old Woman case was about the right of the Secretary of the Interior to bypass normal established administrative process in awarding study materials under the Antiquities Act. No issue was raised and no decision was made regarding meteorites, meteorite ownership, public lands, valuable minerals or mining claims. The 9th Circuit simply was carrying out their duty to review a challenge to an administrative decision under the Administrative Procedures Act. Although the decision was judicial it was strictly the final decision on a single administrative action and did not interpret or define anything in regards to meteorites, minerals or mining law.

You can read the Old Woman case HERE.

As for that BLM "Internal Memorandum" you might observe that expired a year after it was issued? It was neither law nor regulation and was not a public document. It really doesn't matter though because the woman who wrote that memo was in the archaeological resources office. Her job is to enforce the Antiquites Act. The Antiquites Act specifically exempts stone or mineral that has not been worked by men. The writer of that "Internal Memorandum" had no right to make any rules or regulations about stone or minerals. Even if the stone had been worked by a man the object and work had to be more than 100 years old and Archaeologically significant.

Quote

        (1) The term "archaeological resource" means any material
      remains of past human life or activities which are of
      archaeological interest, as determined under uniform regulations
      promulgated pursuant to this chapter. Such regulations containing
      such determination shall include, but not be limited to: pottery,
      basketry, bottles, weapons, weapon projectiles, tools, structures
      or portions of structures, pit houses, rock paintings, rock
      carvings, intaglios, graves, human skeletal materials, or any
      portion or piece of any of the foregoing items. Nonfossilized and
      fossilized paleontological specimens, or any portion or piece
      thereof, shall not be considered archaeological resources, under
      the regulations under this paragraph, unless found in
      archaeological context. No item shall be treated as an
      archaeological resource under regulations under this paragraph
      unless such item is at least 100 years of age.

Even if there were some traction under the Antiquities law mining claim locations are specifically exempt.

Quote

 

Sec. 470kk. Savings provisions

    (a) Mining, mineral leasing, reclamation, and other multiple uses
      Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to repeal, modify, or
      impose additional restrictions on the activities permitted under
      existing laws and authorities relating to mining, mineral leasing,
      reclamation, and other multiple uses of the public lands.

 

You can read the whole Antiquities Act HERE.

Now we still have the big elephant in the room. The fact that mining claims have been located, mined and patented for meteorite materials. After many court cases challenging those mining claim patents they are still as valid today as the day the claims were located. Despite all the meteorite collectors rumors and invisible "law" that big elephant is sitting right in the middle of one of the most significant falls in the world. Proof that mining claimants own all the valuable minerals within their mining claim - including the valuable meteorite materials. You can ignore that or pretend it's a one off case but several courts disagree with you. In fact the man that made those meteorite claims was the author of "The Law of Mines and Mining in the United States" - still in print today 120 years later.

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I do not believe in trespassing on others claims, but someday it will be written in law on what a meteorite will be considered. I tend to think it will swade in way of the claim owner.... good info from everyone... thanks Lunk and Clay for the input. I am surprised with all the lawsuits nowadays, there hasnt been a civil case on this subject yet.

Dave

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