What can I build on a mining claim?
May 9, 2011 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Looking for information on buying mineral rights claims in California. What can or can't you do with the land?

(Posted for a friend, although I'm also interested in the answers.)

I've been looking around for land in California to do a little homsteading and weekend camping on. I ran across mining claims which seem to be a pretty good deal but the low price is concerning. So far I've gathered:

- The land is still owned by the BLM. You only own the mineral rights.
- You can't live on it permanently but there is no indication of how many days a year you can be on it.
- You need to pay a yearly fee or lose the mineral rights. This fee can be offset by "material improvements."

The questions I still have are:

- Can you build a dwelling (yurt, cabin, hut) for use while on the property? If so, who has jurisdiction over the building codes as it's federal land.
- Why aren't more people interested in this arrangement?
- How frequently do I need to actually mine the minerals? Can I do it a few times a year?
- What constitutes "material improvements" for a plot of land?

Does anyone have experience with mining claims in California? It looks like you can effectively have a private campground for a faction of the cost with the only downside being you can't live there permanently and you don't own the land. But if I can camp and build a wood burning oven, game on.
posted by kdar to Law & Government (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Assuming this is for gold or silver, and not for oil, you might want to see this page right here.

The money bit would be this: "A claimant can camp on his/her gold mining claim just about indefinitely as long as the site is kept clean and it's obvious a legitimate mining operation is in progress."

These plans do not sound like it would be obvious that a legitimate mining operation would be in progress.
posted by Andrhia at 3:07 PM on May 9, 2011

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