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Clay Diggins

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  1. Looks like a membership drive. Gotta be a member to get the secret instructions. I've followed PLP since they were founded and contributed for many years. They have several dedicated members who I'm sure have recreational miners interest at heart. I've just got to ask though - does anyone know of a single court case they have won? I support Mountain States Legal Foundation now. They have pursued and won several major mining cases for small miners.
  2. The biscuit tin model ...nice! Does the rotor spin when it detects gold or diamonds? In the US we use a spam can. No biscuits here only cookies. 😢 Sadly with the smaller and smellier tin we use in the US our detecting is very limited to only 44 meters in depth.
  3. The public can travel over, camp on, hunt and recreate on most mining claims where they are not obstructing, or in danger from, mining activities. There is an exception to the public access rule where the mining claim was located prior to 1955 and has retained their right to the surface as well as the minerals. A pre 1955 mining claim owner can exclude the public, occupy, fence their claim, and use the surface resources (timber, stone, water etc.) for their mining purposes without a permit.
  4. I don't provide staking services but if you are staking outside of California P.M. me and I can provide you with contacts at reliable staking services. Inside California I haven't had good experiences with any of the staking services. There are a lot of knowledgeable and experienced people on this forum perhaps another member here knows of a reliable staking service willing to work in California?
  5. You are welcome. I'm glad it helped your understanding GotAU. The possessory interest value is established when you locate a mining claim. The act of claiming the minerals is based solely on your claim of a "discovery of valuable minerals" on lands open to location. Without a discovery of valuable minerals no mining claim is valid or possible under the law. The claimant is the one asserting their right to the mineral possession is valuable - not the taxing authority.
  6. The simplest answer to the principle behind mining claim taxes in California is that your possessory interest in the minerals on your mining claim is private real property. Private real property in California is taxable. Not surprisingly California is relying on the same court decisions Jim is pointing out. Once you have perfected your claim on the minerals on public lands open to location your claim on the minerals become private property as long as you maintain your possession of the claim. Where all this gets interesting is the simple fact that in 1976 the federal government adopted a policy of no longer granting public lands to the citizens. This was the Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA). No longer could a person establish themselves, according to law, on a claimed portion of the public lands and earn the right to purchase the land. Patents for land were no longer a possibility for ordinary U.S. citizens with one exception - mining claims. Once these claims and patents on public land were abolished the states were no longer gaining new (taxable) private property as citizens were granted patents. Virtually all the private property in the western states was at one time public land until it was claimed and patented. Without the ability to expand their property tax base the states were faced with the burden of providing services to the federal lands but were prohibited by law to tax those lands. The federal lands which were once the prime source of growth and wealth became a net burden on the states. The FLPMA that changed this policy from the people being able to claim federal lands to no new conversions of public lands to private ownership would never have passed Congress if the state and local governments weren't compensated for their ongoing loss of revenue. So at the same time in 1976 when the FLPMA was passed Congress also passed the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act of 1976. The Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act pays money to the counties every year since 1976 for every acre of federal lands located within the county. Every year. Billions of dollars given to the counties in place of taxes they would have collected if the lands had been claimed and converted to private (taxable) property. Some of the smaller more rural counties with large tracts of public lands could not survive without these annual federal payments. The Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act of 1976 is the reason most states abolished the taxing of mining claims. Their counties were already receiving federal payments every year as a replacement for taxes. California stopped taxing too - for a while. Now they don't just tax your possessory interest in the minerals but also tax the transfer of a possessory interest in a mining claim. This is on top of the income taxes on the minerals you mine and sell from your possessory interest.
  7. The extremely detailed 1961 Deb Chandra Special Report 67 is also a great resource for the American River tertiary gravels. http://www.mylandmatters.org/Library/Item=172 In 2012 we managed to borrow one of the three remaining copies of the very large hand colored tertiary gravels map in the original 1890 Colfax Folio from the Federal Repository. We did digitize that map as well as the Lindgren, Clark, Olaf Jenkins and Deb Chandra reports to create the interactive geology mapping on the North and Middle Fork FootPrints.
  8. On Land Matters I create the claims mapping with a proprietary system I've built into my spatial database. Even though that sounds "automatic" it still takes about 12 hours to process the 30 plus Gigabytes of claim data provided by the BLM twice a month. For individual claims mapping in my business jasong pretty much outlined the system. It's very involved work with huge amounts of research required to compensate for the often poorly located claims. Here's an example from my claims mapping this week. I'm researching a group of claims from the 1900 period in a well developed mining district. This group of claims has no metes and bounds description and the tie to a known permanent monument refers to "the white bridge on the paved road". This mining district is now composed of large mine pits that have completely obliterated any past roads or bridges from that period. The only other location reference is to another group of claims that were never recorded at the County and were abandoned in 1914. I have now managed to map the claims after researching the highway department records (no results), mining district records (missing), old maps (no results) and a long conversation with a regional historical society member (success!).
  9. That's pretty much the same system I use in Nevada jasong. The only difference being my clients want all the claims mapped no matter what the age. The availability of information varies a lot by state and county. In Arizona location notices and amendments are available online for free. Every County Recorder is required to record mining claim records by TRS as well as Grantor/Grantee, date and type of document. That's true of the entire state except Maricopa County who have refused to record their documents to the standards defined by the legislature despite many requests over many years. In California it appears the only recording standard is send more money and hope they eventually respond in some way. Different counties there have different fees and policies. Little tiny Mono County is responsive and will often email you the requested docs for free if you are polite, patient and respectful. Another county (to remain unnamed) wants thousands of dollars before they will respond. The largest county has refused to search their records for the last year cuz covid. In California you pays yer money and take your chances. Idaho is a mixed bag but I've found the recorders there to be helpful and responsive. Not all counties have online access but even some of the smallest counties do have online free downloads of records. Obviously I deal with Recorder's in all the western mining states as well as beyond, It would take more time than I have to outline my experiences with all of them but the one thing that becomes obvious rather quickly is that there is no standard method of acquiring public records, mining or otherwise. You've just got to learn the local systems and jump through whatever hoops are presented.
  10. That's a good tip Jim. County Assessors can, and often will, help you locate property information. It works well in the dozen or so counties that do tax mining claims. Most states and counties do not tax mining claims. The BLM Serial Register page for each mining claim also has the names and addresses of the owners of each mining claim. Using the Land Matters mining claims maps you are provided a link to each claim's Serial Register Page at the BLM. You can get the contact information for any claim right from your own computer. If you have a mobile internet connection you can look up claims and claim owners while in the field.
  11. There have not been thousands of new claims located in Montana in the last few months. In the entire 2020 mining year there were 1,625 claims located in Montana. In the month of January there were 2 claims located in Montana. As of March 1 the Montana BLM had a backlog of 115 mining claims waiting for adjudication. That's directly from the BLM's own records and includes mining claims in the State of South Dakota which is administered by the Montana state office of the BLM. Compare that with Nevada where there were 15,641 mining claims located in the 2020 mining year and 3,841 mining claims located in January of this year alone. Claims are not located by longitude and latitude. Legally there are only two methods of locating mining claims, by aliquot part and by metes and bounds. Mining claim location notices received at the BLM are regularly rejected for not locating by one of the two legal methods or by locating by the wrong method for the type of claim or location. The BLM does not have a data page with coordinates. What the BLM is attempting to do in the future is to display new claims by the coordinates input into their new online mapping system. There is no plan to map all the 400,000 plus existing mining claims.
  12. That's not the function of the County Recorder. The County Recorder just records documents and provides them to the public when requested, they can not and will not do your research or mapping for you. They are forbidden by law from giving you a legal opinion or advice. Defining the location or validity of a mining claim, or real estate for that matter, would be giving legal advice. Your question seems to assume that mining claims are a defined grid of mineral rights assigned to individual claimants. The truth is far from that ideal with many overlapping and poorly defined claims stacked and scattered around potentially mineralized areas. There are no shortcuts to due diligence regarding mining claims. You can either do the research yourself or hire a professional. Even if you hire a professional you will need to understand the basics of claim location and description. At Land Matters we have provided you the tools and information to learn the skills you will need as well as providing all the public information available.
  13. Kentucky Camp is an interesting recreation of a bygone time. I really like the Greaterville area. Good gold and a great climate. It was really quiet and peaceful living there.
  14. All the FootPrints were in the process of having the claims updated in the summer of 2019. Sadly my partner passed away in the middle of the process and I've had to put those updates on hold. I still plan to update the FootPrints claims layers and some other features on some of the FootPrint maps but I've been swamped with work from mining companies for the last year. In my opinion the custom geology mapping on the Greaterville FootPrint alone makes it worth the price for anyone that works that area. The 50/50 boundaries are a bonus. The 50/50 area has produced some of the biggest detected nuggets in Arizona history. I've detected and water processed material there. There is a lot of gold in the 50/50 area. I was the caretaker for Kentucky Camp and there has never been a limit on prospecting in any reasonable form although working inside the Kentucky Camp fence line is strongly discouraged.
  15. No it won't show the "actual" boundary because all it shows is land status. I don't recall how many different patents were reconveyed in the exchange but each one is individually shown as reconveyed with split mineral estate. You will have to determine the boundary from that information. I mapped those boundaries back in 2012 as part of the Greaterville FootPrint but there is no public version available beyond the current MTP. Also the MTP is not a geographic map but shows land status in relationship to the Public Land Survey System. There are no common or reference map features on the MTP except Sections and government lots. The land status notation is unique to the MTP and only has a passing resemblance to English language.
  16. This is true of the surface of the land and real estate. The problem comes when dealing with the subsurface estate (minerals). In the western United States it's common for the minerals to be owned by a different entity than the surface owner. Greaterville is a good example. What's known as the 50/50 area in Greaterville are old mining patents where the surface has been reconveyed (given back) to the United States along with half of the subsurface mineral rights retained in private ownership. Since half of the minerals belong to a private party you can't locate a mining claim in those areas even though they are managed and designated as public lands. This situation is very common and it's a major part of the reason your first stop in claims research needs to be the Master Title Plat which is designed to show these "split estate" and mineral ownership status issues.
  17. The first thing to understand is that neither the MLRS nor any of the online claims mapping sites show actual areas under claim. On the Land Matters website we make that clear right on the front of the mining claims maps page. The mining claims represented on these maps are only displayed to the nearest section and DO NOT display the actual claim location. Sections are about one square mile and actual mining claim locations can vary considerably from their mapped location. The only way to determine an actual claim location is to obtain the County Recorder Location Notice and amendments for the claim in question, study the mapped location and then find the location marker on the ground. Members of the public and other prospectors do not have the right to determine whether an existing claim location is valid, only a court of record can make that determination. The next thing to understand is the BLM, Land Matters, Diggings and even the pay services do not rely on mining claim locations to present their information. The information is derived from BLM case files which are not based on current claims information. Besides the normal 90 day + lag in location files and records the BLM itself is years behind on updating these case files in several states. Just last week we ran some rough numbers on what percentage of BLM mining claim case files have never been adjudicated by the BLM beyond acknowledging the receipt of a notice. Adjudication is the simple process the BLM uses to determine if your mining claim location is properly described and located on public lands open to mineral entry. Until a mining claim case is adjudicated the BLM doesn't even know whether there is an actual mining claim associated with the notice they received. Here are state by state those percentages of not yet processed mining claims in a simplified format. 4% - Arizona 53% - California 20% - Colorado 10% - Idaho 1% - Montana and South Dakota* 1% - New Mexico 6% - Nevada 3% - Oregon and Washington* 14% - Utah 9% - Wyoming * These States are administered as a single unit by the BLM. As you can see if you are looking at the MLRS in California the information you are viewing is more than likely years out of date and has a slim chance of being accurate. In fact California is at least 2 years behind on processing claims closures so the numbers you see here just the tip of the administrative backlog iceberg. To varying degrees a similar situation exists in all states. The BLM isn't shy about warning you of this situation. On every file you acquire from the BLM you will find this notice in all capital letters and bold type: NO WARRANTY IS MADE BY BLM FOR USE OF THE DATA FOR PURPOSES NOT INTENDED BY BLM The list above should give you an idea of what purposes the BLM intended. Most County Recorders will update their records within two weeks of receiving location notices or amendments. There are notable exceptions to that standard. In particular in California some of the larger counties are far behind due to being closed to the public for the last year or so. Nonetheless the County Recorder's office is an essential stop on the path to determine public lands open to prospecting. What you are up against here is learning a new set of research skills before you can determine where there is open ground for prospecting. This may seem complex, and it is. Despite what appears to be a modern mess of red tape the fact is that successful professional prospectors in the United States have had to master these skills for more than 150 years. It's actually a lot easier now than it was even 20 years ago. It's just one of the many complex skills prospectors must master to be successful. I do this for a living. I can tell you from experience that there are some basic steps that really need to be accomplished even before you look at the BLM files or the County Public Records. The very first thing you need to do before researching claims in any given area is to study the Master Title Plat (MTP) maintained by the BLM. The Master Title Plat is the definitive map of government interests, ownership and past actions on the public lands. It includes patents, mineral withdrawals and ROWS. It's one of the few government documents you will find that doesn't have the giant BLM disclaimer. You can rely on the MTP to be an official government record. Without viewing and understanding the MTP you will waste a good part of your research and prospecting time investigating lands that you have no right to prospect or claim. Thousands of mining claimants waste their time and money every year staking claims that are invalid and will be classified as CLOSED as soon as your state BLM gets around to adjudicating your location notice. The real message here is that you have a legal duty to determine the status of the land before you put boots on the ground to prospect or locate a mining claim. This is known as due diligence and it's a positive legal duty to avoid trespassing. Not just charges of trespassing against a mining claim but trespass on private property or mineral trespass against the United States is a distinct possibility too if you don't do the research before entering these lands.
  18. I'm pretty sure that was their intent. The MLRS map originally worked that way, sort of, for a little while on the first day it was live. The same information window you see now would pop up but there were links for each claim's serial register page in the map information window. That only lasted about 2-3 hours before the system locked up. When they brought the mapping back several hours later the links were gone and haven't come back since. Hopefully they will eventually bring back a working system. It's not much of an improvement to have a map if you have to switch over to search the database on a different webpage.
  19. Well so much for open mineral lands on the Seward peninsula. The new administration has put a 60 day hold on the opening "for orderly management of the public lands". I guess they were afraid of a big gold rush this month north of the Arctic circle? 😏 I suspect this reopening of mineral lands is headed for cancellation by executive order. Time will tell.
  20. Lands that were patented under the Mining Acts are private lands in all senses of the word. If your county/municipality allows fencing, signs or buildings in your zoning designations you would follow the same process, rules and laws as any other property owner. Virtually all the private land in the western states were acquired by patent from the U.S. Just as a side note the Supreme Court in Iron Silver Mining Co. v. Campbell, 135 U.S. 286 (1890) has ruled that there is no such thing in law as a "patented mining claim". The land ceases to be a mining claim when the patent is granted.
  21. I'll show my stuff Steve. It's anecdotal but true. Leigh and I were ranch managers in the Dragoon mountains. The ranch well didn't produce enough water for the livestock and house so we had to haul about 1,000 gal a week from a neighbor's well. I studied the geology and well logs for the area and determined there probably wasn't enough water under the ranch property to support a good flowing well. Sometimes it's like that. I did find that a 120 acre parcel that was for sale across the road had good access to the aquifer. I suggested the owner consider buying the property for the well and some additional needed grazing land. The owners were into alternative stuff so they decided to try a local dowser to prove the geology was wrong. They ended up using 7 different dowsers from three different states. One from California was "famous". They drilled 6 wells based on the various dowsers different locations. The locations the different dowsers picked were pretty well distributed across the ranch. Long (and expensive) story short. Only three of the wells produced any water at all and the best of them only flowed 1.7 ounces per minute. After a bunch of burned up pumps and a lot of money to the local driller the owner purchased the nearby 120 acres and drilled a well that flowed over 115 gallons per minute when tested. They didn't dowse that well but instead took the advice of the local driller.
  22. The only PDFs of locations and maps will be the new claims that are entered into the online system. It will be awhile before you see any of those new claims on the MLRS. Existing claims won't be included. To make a gulch placer claim your friend will have to locate by metes and bounds and include a statement and topo to the effect that there are no valuable minerals outside of the gulch. He will also have to meet the "Snowflake Fraction Placer" length rule. This isn't new to the MLRS it's been in effect for more than 100 years but with the new system the BLM can block improperly located placers. It's a rare occurrence when the banks and benches of a gulch have no minerals so your friend should do some serious and documented mineral surveying of the banks and benches outside the gulch to support his gulch claim before he stakes, records and files. If there are valuable minerals in the banks and benches he will have to locate by aliquot part like a regular placer,
  23. So true Steve. Even if the most beautiful and comfortable spot is right next to a major highway there is no guarantee it's worth mining. I'm guessing with 9.7 million acres being opened there are a few sweet spots. Those are almost by default going to be claimed by knowledgeable locals. Nothing wrong with that. 👍 As far as "frontier" even modern California is mostly unsurveyed. That's really more about politics than surveying as it is in Alaska.
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