More on Patented/Unpatented Gold Mining Claims (Part 2)

(Signs like this denoting unpatented mining claims can be found all over the western and southwestern U.S. these days.)

Most Common Gold Mining Claim

In my previous post I provided you with a basic definition of patented gold mining claims and now I'll do the same for the most common variety of mining claim these days...the unpatented claim. Additionally, as we progress in this series, I'll be filling you in on Northern California gold miner Stan M.'s current situation regarding his patented claim and the once "Golden State's" moratorium on suction dredging.

Unpatented Gold Mining Claim:

Unpatented mining claims are the most prolific type of claim out there in terms of sheer numbers these days and probably always have been. Anyone (and that includes you) can file on or purchase an unpatented gold mining claim. The former is something I highly recommend and the latter is NOT.

Gold Concentrates
Gold Pans

OK, it's important that you understand the main difference between an unpatented mining claim and a patented claim:


 (Unpatented placer gold mining claim listed by an Oregon seller.)

Got that? I sure hope so, because I am constantly surprised by how many claim owners out there think and act as if their unpatented claims are their private property. Nothing could be farther from the truth brothers and sisters, and that's a fact.

Minerals/Metals Contained Within Your Claim

If you do own an unpatented mining claim your rights are essentially restricted to prospecting for and recovering those minerals/metals you've proven to be contained within the boundaries of that claim. Legally, you can't build a house or cabin on that claim or run a business from it (although I know many who ignore the latter). - any strap, any length, any color!

I am also familiar with some ne'r-do-wells who call themselves miners and then park ratty ass looking trailers on their unpatented claims either permanently or far beyond the two-week periods (at each pop) they are legally allowed to camp out on their claims. Some of these individuals or groups are what I term "squatters" or "claim scammers" and others are fringe-element miners who trash up their claims worse than a member of the extended Manson Family.

I'll have more on unpatented gold claims in my next post. Hang tough until then and, as always, best of luck to you.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Gold Mining Questions and Answers: Part 13"

(c)  Jim Rocha  (J.R.)  2012

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