Last Words on Gold Mining Claims (Part 2)

 (Gold mining claims are abundant these days...good ones aren't.)

Once again, this series of posts represents my final discussion on the issue of gold mining claims. It contains both the positives and the negatives associated with claims but isn't a treatise on how to go about filing or buying a claim. Thus forewarned, if you want to learn more in a general sense about gold mining claims read on.

A Crying Shame

Of course the greatest asset to owning your own gold mining claim is access to gold ground. Your own gold ground, be that placer or lode. It should come as no surprise to you more experienced small-scale miners out there that access to any sort of gold ground (good, bad, or average) is a big issue these days. Here in the West and Southwest of the United States very few public areas of any consequence are wide open to you and some that were have been placed off limits due to private property issues and that usual suspect...bureaucratic interference. This is a crying shame, to put it bluntly. Some 40 years ago when I was a greenhorn in this small-scale mining thing you had a lot more options when it came to areas to work but this aspect of gold mining and prospecting has changed, and changed for the worst overall. The first thought that pops into anyone's mind in relation to this issue is simply to acquire your own claim and the rest of the idiots be damned. I'm with you in an overall sense here. There's nothing better than rolling onto your own gold ground without a worry in the world and the knowledge that you have a private (semi-private?) area to work. There's a certain freedom to that despite the annual fees, the county taxes, and governmental bumbling as it relates to your claim. So it's all good, right?

 ( Public access gold areas are on the wane these days.)

Would You Buy a Used Car From This Person?

The trouble is, however, that you must keep your wits about yourself when moving forward to acquire a claim. Claim scams abound and many of those claims offered for sale wouldn't be if they were truly worth a shit. Granted, some miners turn over their claims or allow them to lapse simply for personal reasons, including advanced age, illness, family issues, in my's simply not practical for them to hold and maintain a claim any longer. Do good gold claims exist out there that you can buy or file on? Yep, there are a few and only a few. So you need to learn to disregard the seller's hyperbole and those hyped-up photos of handfuls of gold. Again, you must ask yourself this question. "If the claim is so damn good why is the claim owner selling it in the first place?" Now if you're of a mind that you really don't care how hot the claim is and simply want to have some fun on your own gold ground, then what does this matter, right? But if you're serious about getting the gold or perhaps wanting to bolster that retirement income you need to be as sharp as a hawk bouncing down upon its prey when it comes to claim quality. Now here's the monkey wrench in those works. You CAN'T evaluate a claim without physically sampling it and spending some time on it. People can say anything about the claim they want to sale. They can even produce paperwork like production reports that substantiate their assessment of what they're trying to unload. Sometimes this paperwork is the real deal and sometimes it's pure fakery. Ditto for the photos of the gold that is supposedly coming off that claim. This said, however, most small-scale folks interested in filing on or buying a claim NEVER sample the same before the cash is laid out on the barrel head. This is real stupidity from a mining point of view. Would you buy a used car without checking it out first and test driving it? I rest my case.

( A seller might hype this as good gold it really?)

Insult to Injury

If you're still committed to the claim thing then I recommend you find an open claim somewhere and file on that puppy. When you do, make sure all the paperwork is done correctly and filed appropriately. In other words, make absolutely certain you have every "I" dotted and every "T" crossed. Leave no stone unturned in this regard. Once more, I'm not here to walk you through the filing process...been there and done that. If you don't know what that filing process is or anything at all about claims, then you best start educating yourself forthwith. All that info is readily available to you online and elsewhere. If you can't take the time or energy to learn this stuff then I suspect you're not much of a gold miner in the first place. Real miners go at it hard and never stop, what ever the task at hand. There it is...More importantly, if you don't take the time to protect yourself when it comes to buying a claim (something I don't recommend in the overall sense) you're probably gonna get burned. I've written extensively about claim scams in the past in Bedrock Dreams but much of that content I was forced to remove under threats about "defamation of character" and legal action being taken against me. And what exactly did I do to deserve those threats? Call bullshit where bullshit needed to be called and name names in the process. By the way, some of those I called out for their claim rip offs and scams are STILL doing it! Talk about adding insult to injury...If you're going to buy a claim buy it from some old timer who's been at this thing of ours for a while. Do your research up front and learn everything you can about the seller and his or her claim. And I mean everything. If you don't do these things you're setting yourself up for some real pain and misery, not to mention the dollars you threw away to some thief, fraudster, or scammer. If you do get burned after all I've said, then brother or sister, I have no sympathy for you. None whatsoever.

(Claim Scammers and fraudsters will say anything to get your cash.)

Stay smart out there. If you do get your claim or have one already and things worked out well, then by God you deserve a slap on the shoulder and a "Good job!" Enjoy your time on that claim and make every minute count out there. Time flies and the years pass quickly. Make them count.

Best to all.

(c) Jim Rocha 2017

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. JR, I was told it was better to file a claim as a "Lode" rather than "Placer", because you could still work it as a placer, but less trouble with the government protecting the fish. Is that really true, or does it matter? Does filing it one way or the other prevent you from working the ground one way or the other?
    I don't know about everywhere, but here, I was able to go to the courthouse and ask about abandoned mining claims. They had quite a list. That way you are just paying the filing fees and not buying it from anyone.

  2. I don't know about the lode vs. placer thing. Never heard that Gary. Always better to file on an abandoned claim and not buy one methinks.

  3. Hello Muskrat,

    I would be careful about that. A few years ago I read the regulations pretty carefully and was going to file a placer claim over a lode claim. I decided not to bother as I was starting to think of moving, but I had concluded all I had to do was allow the underground claim owner to access his claim but I had the surface claim. I might be wrong, but I'd bet a beer it! Good luck, Reily

  4. Hi Muskrat,
    I thought some more about your question. In the BLM Mineral Survey Procedures Guide (available on line). "No lode claim shall be located until after the discovery of a vein or lode within the limits of the claim, the object of which provision is evidently to prevent the appropriation of presumed mineral ground for speculative purposes to the exclusion of bona fide prospectors, before sufficient work has been done to determine whether a vein or lode really exists." Also: "Known lodes are automatically excluded from placer locations. . ." A lode claim is located along the strike zone and a placer is an aliquot portion (like the NW 1/4 of the SW 1/4, or the NE 1/4, or Section XX etc). Hope this helps. Reily

  5. Thank you very much. I guess I need to study up on this. The last time I tried to file, they gave me so much hassle that I gave up. It's our "right" but like most of our rights it's becoming much harder to exercise this right. I hate going into the BLM/Forest Service office, I consider it "enemy territory" but I guess I'll have to. Thanks again.


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