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So with the possibility that i may be moving to New Mexico in a year or so, i have started to delve into researching gold mines and claims in New Mexico.  Ive figured out the whole BLM map and claim system fairly well, but what im wondering is, is there anyway to narrow down what spots are claimed.  Currently with the BLM system i can get it down to the quarter section, but that is still a very large area.  

So say there are two 20 acre placer claims in the same quarter section, is there any way for me to know where they are in the quarter section before heading into the field?  Preferably online, but it sounds like the local BLM office will be the only place with that info.  

Since i prospect in Virginia currently, the whole claim system is new to me, but so far seems fairly strait forward, and im already trying to find ground to fringe hunt around active and abandoned claims near where i would be moving.  

I read the article about how to file a claim in the April 2019 issue of the ICMJ, but like i said that doesnt seem to narrow it down past the quarter section.  

 

Thanks for any and all help.  

 

 

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Yes, you have to pull the papers from the county recorder or off the location monument in the field.

Even then, half the time the people filing the claim seem to not know what they are doing and their location is often impossible to nail down. I can't count how many times I've found lode claims with no tie to the public survey or placer claims using a lode claim form but attempting to still use aliquot parts and making no sense at all. And a thousand variations in between making the claim impossible to locate more accurately.

A lot of recorders now have the last 20 years or so of records online, but now some of them are starting to charge for it and require signing up, which in some cases can takes weeks for the ones the require you to mail a form in.

You'll want to get a PLSS overlay onto Google Earth or into your GIS program so you can map aliquot parts or tie the claim to the survey and calculate metes and bounds. When you are mapping a ton of claims this makes it way quicker.

You'll do all that work and realize a ton of prospectors just go out and play dumb and detect over valid claims until someone says something to them.

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If you don't have it already, here is a PLSS WMS overlay (actually REST but works like WMS) from the BLM. You can download the whole database as a .shp file from their website if you want to import in ArcGIS or something, just Google that one, it's a very large file.

https://gis.blm.gov/arcgis/rest/services/Cadastral/BLM_Natl_PLSS_CadNSDI/MapServer/export?

These things change or go down from time to time so links have to be relocated. This one is harder to read than the one they had working last year that allowed you to change font sizes. If you find a better one easier to read the T/R/S let me know, I can't get this one to let me increase the font.

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Thanks for the info.  

Another question, if its a 160 acre placer claim, that would occupy the entire quarter section, correct?  Or at least it appears to me that a quarter section is almost exactly 160 acres in most cases.  

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4 minutes ago, PG-Prospecting said:

Another question, if its a 160 acre placer claim, that would occupy the entire quarter section, correct?

A section is a square mile and that's equivalent to 640 acres.  So, yes, 160 acres is 1/4 of that so a 'quarter section'.  I was under the impression that a mining claim is 20 acres so it sounds like a quarter section is actually 8 claims, although maybe when strung together in one contract it's just called a single claim.

20 acre claims are typically rectangular and 1/8 mile (220 yards or ~201 m) by 1/4 mile (440 yards -- 202 m).  These are good numbers to keep in your head when out tromping around claims.

 

 

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This one gets a bit stickier. There are lots of skewed or otherwise non-standard sized sections, both larger and smaller. I've seen them up around 720 acres in Nevada, and I've also seen fractional sections (and entire fractional townships) where the sections are like 180 acres total.

Usually unless it's someone who knows what they are doing, the person just claims as normal without realizing it. When done with aliquot parts in a larger section this means their claim technically is larger than 20 acres and thus requires 2 people to claim or 2 seperate claims. A lot of times the BLM doesn't catch this, sometimes they do. Sometimes you'll see verbiage on claim papers "this claim contains X acres, more or less"

That leaves gray areas where people think they have more claimed than they do. And that leads to an entire 'nother complex discussion about wether that is kosher or not.

In other cases people's claims overlie partial private lands or partial private or withdrawn mineral rights. They rarely realize this either. When I write claim papers up in these instances I include the verbiage "excluding any private or withdrawn minerals or surface" and I recalculate my total claim acreage.

To answer the 160 acre thing - that can be done in 1 claim, it just requires 8 claimaints (and 8 claim fees). Or 8 seperate claims with one person.

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Also, lode claims are 20.66 acres in size if the person claims the full amount allowed. This isn't always the case since lode claims do not need to conform to the PLSS lines (they need only to be tied to one point on the PLSS), they can go any direction and people claim fractional claims to infill. So, with lode claims you can't always say there is X amount per 160 1/4 section. They may be crisscrossing all over the place.

Similarly, placer claims need not stay in within any specific 1/4 section or 1/4 1/4, etc though they do need to conform to the fractional PLSS lines. I believe the BLM allows fractions down to 2.5 acres, which can't be corner to corner, must be side to side.

There are exceptions in the cases of gulches and unsurveyed areas. But you can get one placer claim like a half mile long and going across many 1/4 1/4 sections.

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Im going to miss the simple black and white of private property lol.  Get permission and call it good.  hahaha.  

 

You can swing a metal detector over an active lode claim and not be considered claim jumping correct?  

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It's complicated, but it's freedom to me, I get real claustrophobic in places with all private land.

31 minutes ago, PG-Prospecting said:

You can swing a metal detector over an active lode claim and not be considered claim jumping correct?  

That is a sticky issue that someone else can tackle. :laugh: I've made my case over the years in a number of places and I'm done with that now.

The answer you'll get from most in the mining community not named "jasong" though is "no". Read the law and court precedents and come to your own conclusions though if you have a lot of time to waste. Easier is just to move on and find some place not claimed at all.

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Yeah im more drawn to abandoned mining districts that have no active claims, or the smaller districts that everyone ignores.  I dont like land that has been thrashed by everyone and there brother lol.  

I already have a few unclaimed areas that produced gold in the past, picked out for sampling when and if i do move out there.  Lack of info in the smaller areas is making me wonder if there is detectable gold there or not.  But boots on the ground may be the best way to find out.  

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