The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued a rule that changes the way maintenance fees for placer mining claims are assessed. The rule implements the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (the FY 2012 Act) which requires the BLM to collect maintenance fees for placer mining claims based on the total acreage contained in the claim, rather than by the claim.
Claimants will now pay the maintenance fee (currently $140) for every 20 acres or portion thereof, contained in the claim. For example, if a placer mining claim consists of 46 acres, the claimants will pay $420 for the maintenance fee – $140 for each 20-acre portion of the claim and another $140 for the remaining 6 acres. Under the old regulations, the maintenance fee would have been $140 for the entire 46 acres.
The maintenance fee for other types of claims — lode claims, mill sites and tunnel sites — continues to be $140 per claim or site. At the direction of Congress, the maintenance fee has been adjusted twice since 1993– it was raised to $125 in 2004 and to $140 in 2009 – and is based on the Consumer Price Index.
Annual maintenance fee payments are due to the BLM on or before September 1 each year. The FY 2012 Act and this rule will not affect the small miner’s waiver or the requirements to qualify for the waiver.
When precious metals or minerals are embedded in the surrounding rock a claimant files a lode claim. A placer claim refers to mining of precious metals or minerals that are dispersed among particles of sand or gravel, often in an old stream bed. A mill site claim is used to process minerals.
For more information on maintenance fee payments please visit http://blm.gov/vlkd. Requests for detailed information regarding claim fees should be directed to the Information Access Center in the BLM state office where your claim is recorded. A list of offices can be found at www.blm.gov.