BLM Announces Adjustments to Mining-Related Location and Annual Maintenance Fees

The Bureau of Land Management today published in the Federal Register a notice that it is adjusting for inflation its fees for the location (or “staking”) and maintenance of unpatented mining claims, mill sites, and tunnel sites. The location fee will increase from $30 to $34 and the maintenance fee will rise from $125 to $140 for such unpatented claims, in which no Federal land has been transferred to the individual or company staking the claim.

The adjusted fees are due on or before September 1, 2009. Mining claimants must pay the new location fee for any mining claim or site located after the effective date of this final rule, which is today (June 29, 2009).  Those who have already submitted maintenance fees for the 2010 maintenance year will be given an opportunity to pay the additional amount without penalty upon notice from the BLM.  

 Since Fiscal Year 1993, mining claimants staking new claims or sites have been required to pay a one-time location fee. Claimants must also pay an annual “maintenance” fee in lieu of performing annual assessment work and making annual filings.

 In accordance with the Mining Law of 1872, as amended, and in light of recent related regulatory actions, the BLM's new final rule establishes a regular schedule for adjusting mining-related location and annual maintenance fees. Specifically, the new rule authorizes adjustments to these fees to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index every five years after August 10, 1993, or more frequently if the Secretary of the Interior determines an adjustment to be reasonable.

 The BLM has not adjusted location and maintenance fees since 2004. The adjustments made in this final rule are based on the change in the Consumer Price Index from December 31, 2003, through December 31, 2008, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 The link to today’s final rule in the Federal Register is:

The BLM manages more land - 256 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

Locating, Recording, and Maintaining Mining Claims or Sites (Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 43 CFR Parts 3710, 3730, 3810, 3820, 3830–3840, and 3850 [WO–620–1430–00–24 1A] RIN 1004–AD31) - The BLM published this rule to streamline the regulations on locating, filing, and maintaining mining claims or sites by consolidating provisions that were scattered in various portions of Groups 3700 and 3800 into ten consecutive parts placing the provisions in logical order, clarifying conflicting language, eliminating duplication, and removing obsolete provisions. These revisions are part of BLM’s overall effort to rewrite regulations in plain language to make them easier for the public to use and understand and to provide better customer service.  This final rule is effective November 24, 2003. A complete copy of the final changes has been posted on NDOM's site as of October 23, 2003.  View the CFRs in their entirety at:

Nevada Rates Highest For Investment Attractiveness Index
by Doug Driesner

According to the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2000/2001, the state of Nevada ranks highest for overall investment attractiveness. The Fraser Institute, which is one of Canada’s leading economic think tanks, constructed the investment attractiveness index by combining a state’s, province’s, or country’s mineral policy and mineral potential. In the study, "policy" is a composite index that measures the effects of government regulations, taxation, infrastructure, labor, and other factors on exploration investment.

This latest Fraser Institute survey includes all Canadian provinces and territories except Prince Edward Island, 14 U.S. states, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, and South Africa. 157 companies participated in the survey.

On the Policy Potential Index, Nevada led, scoring 93 out of a possible 100, followed by Chile with 87, and Mexico with 79. On the Mineral Potential Index, Ontario scored 100, followed by Nevada with 97, and Chile with 94. In the Investment Attractiveness Index which considers both mineral potential and policy factors, Nevada was first with 95, followed by Chile with 91, and Ontario with 86.

For further information on the Fraser Institute’s 2000/2001 Annual Survey of Mining Companies, contact Suzanne Walters, Director of Communications, The Fraser Institute, phone (604)714-4582, or visit their web site at **

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Assays and Assayers

Nevada does not have a registration program for assayers. As the leading state in precious metals production, Nevada has many high quality professional assay labs. Assayer listings may be found in a number of mining trade publications and other sources.

There may also be some poorly-equipped or "questionable" labs vying for your business. Spend some time researching the lab with whom you choose to submit samples. Make sure that they have updated equipment, a knowledgeable staff, meet environmental standards, and are capable of doing the analysis you require.

If you are investing in a mine based on assay results, be extremely careful. Remember, a few assay results do not make a mine. Assays should be only one of a number of indicators as to the potential success of a mining venture.

The 1995 Nevada Legislature passed Assembly Bill (AB) 549 requiring the following statement to be included in all commercial assay reports:
The results of this assay were based solely upon the content of the sample submitted. Any decision to invest should be made only after the potential investment value of the claim or deposit has been determined based on the results of assays of multiple samples of geologic materials collected by the prospective investor or by a qualified person selected by him/her and based on an evaluation of all engineering data which is available concerning any proposed project.

The Nevada Revised Statue (NRS) 519 - Purchase, Assaying and Recovery of Ores lists the duties and records of assayers and purchasers.  The required statement which is highlighted in the previous paragraph can be found under NRS 519.130.

Additional information on mining-related investment may be found on our Mining Fraud and Mining Investment webpage.

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