Letter Re: Mining Claims as Potential Retreat Properties

I am so happy to have stumbled onto your site today. I have not been on the internet in a very long time (1997 or so). I have been working for a number of mineral exploration/mining companies south of our border on and off since 1998. I will no longer travel outside of the U.S. (unless I’m reactivated by the Army) for work or pleasure. I am going to be 40 this month and I don’t feel like getting shot at any more, at least not for money. I am a former Army Combat Engineer, Electronic Engineer, small business owner/operator (septic pumping and commercial steam cleaning). The reason I am writing to you is that back in 1982-1983 while I was in high school I was reading Soldier of Fortune and American Survival Guide (ASG) magazines and now it seems I am coming full circle and finding myself planning a long term placer mining operation in a remote wilderness area. I think that some aspects of small scale mining are directly relatable to survival/preparedness living and prospering.

Living in this great country again, I am struck by the wealth surrounding all of us and the opportunity afforded all US citizens by the 1872 mining law to actively pursue that wealth. I will tell you that nowhere else in the world do private citizens have the right to “stake claim” to mineral wealth with so little regulation/red tape not to mention that the US government does not take “royalties” from your finds. The total cost to me for the acquisition of one 20 acre mining claim filed November of 2007 was $217. Fairly reasonable wouldn’t you say? Granted, one does not “own” the land. Rather, one controls the “surface mineral reserve” and has the rights to: sell, rent, lease, even pass-on to your descendents these rights as a deeded land owner.

Well, I just wanted to introduce myself and to inform you of my intention to submit an article on the mechanics of the claiming process for your contest. – RLS

JWR Replies: I would greatly appreciate you submitting an article for our writing contest that would share your first-hand knowledge of mining claims. OBTW, in many parts of the western US there are still patented (deeded) mining claims available, although the recent run-up in the price of gold is inflating claim prices. In recent years the US Forest Service and the BLM–which have effectively taken over administration of most mining claims–have increasingly placed restrictions on year round occupancy of mining claims. In some cases their bureaucrats have even mandated that camping trailers be removed seasonally. But they have hardly any jurisdiction over patented claims, aside for controlling roads to in-holder (lank-locked) claims. For that reason alone, I strongly prefer buying patented claims, if possible.