A potential gold miner should have enough money to travel to and from the region, be prepared for physical difficulties, have a car capable of traveling on the most difficult and steep roads, and not be discouraged by repeated disappointments.
Amateur gold mining is very popular today among US residents, especially in the western states – California, Alaska, Arizona, etc. Someone goes for gold with a metal detector and sluice boxes, alone or in the company of one or two comrades, others purchase districts, equip them and visit them on vacation or weekend for the sake of rest. Sometimes whole families are engaged in gold mining. Many passionate Americans are second- or third-generation miners.
But before mining the “king of metals”, many people ask themselves: is a license needed and how to get it? Today we will try to answer these questions.
Where can you get gold?
The Mining Law of 1872 provides US citizens with the ability to explore, discover, and exploit mineral deposits in federal lands open to this activity.
These areas are mainly found in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Such areas are unreserved, unassigned federal lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as well as national forests administered by the USDA Forest Service.
To find maps of mining sites, visit BLM government offices.
Please note, that there are categories of public lands that are closed for gold mining. These include national parks, monuments, Indian reservations, lands in the process of reclamation, military facilities, areas of scientific research, etc.
Do miners need a license?
There are many areas in the states where you can conduct recreational gold mining, and you don’t need a license for that. But if gold is found (which is 99.9% chance), you need to stake a claim and get a license.
How to get a license?
The federal law states that the boundaries of a licensed plot must be clearly defined and viewed on the ground. However, the requirements of different states differ: each state has its own laws and regulations governing how the site should be allocated and what determines its legality. In some states, it is only required to mark the corners of the area, while in others – to install special signs at the boundaries of the site. Since our article describes the general provisions, we won’t delve into the details of the various states’ requirements.
In general, to get the right for recreational mining, you need:
- Install signs at the corners of the plot in order to define its outer boundaries. In some states this is not required.
- Notify about the location on a special sign or post in a conspicuous place of the site. The notice must be a paper indicating the name of the site, a general description of what it consists of, as well as the names of the copyright holders (sometimes a registration number is required).
- File copy of the Site Notice and other required paperwork with the District Registrar (including fees, site detail map, and any other document required by state law).
- Submit a copy of the Site Notice to the US Land Administration Office of the state where the site is located. BLM also requires some extra documents (for example, a site map), payment of a fee. All of this must be provided within 90 days of the discovery of the site. Otherwise, it will be declared free.
Successful gold mining is a large-scale operation using expensive and sophisticated equipment capable of processing many kilograms of low-grade ore every day.
A potential gold miner should have enough money to travel to and from the region, be prepared for physical difficulties, have a car capable of traveling on the most difficult and steep roads, and not be discouraged by repeated disappointments. That is why gold mining today is only worth pursuing for hobby or interest reasons. If a person just wants to mine some gold for other purposes, it is easier to buy gold bullion. So nerves and time will be saved.
But getting gold yourself is worth it at least once in your life. Good luck!