Placer Over Lode in California
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Thread: Placer Over Lode in California

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  1. #1

    Mar 2014
    NorCal
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    Placer Over Lode in California

    All in the title, can you file a placer over a lode claim in California? Is there a 6 feet of ground rule? I don't know much about lode at all, just trying to get the facts, thank you in advance.
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  2. #2
    Charter Member
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    No.

    All the minerals within a valid mining claim belong to the claimant.

    There is no six foot rule.
    Lode claimants own any placers discovered on their valid lode claim.
    Placer claimants own any lode deposits discovered on their valid placer claims.

    There is no circumstance where a placer claim could be placed over a valid existing lode claim.

    Heavy Pans
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  3. #3

    Mar 2014
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    Thank you Clay, is this just for California or is this federal?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asmbandits View Post
    Thank you Clay, is this just for California or is this federal?
    Not just California all public land mineral claims. All mining claim mineral rights are based on the federal grant.

    States don't control mineral rights on public lands. States control location standards and state courts settle disputes between claimants. Even those state location laws and court decisions have to conform to federal mining law.

    Heavy Pans

  5. #5

    May 2020
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clay Diggins View Post
    Not just California all public land mineral claims. All mining claim mineral rights are based on the federal grant.

    States don't control mineral rights on public lands. States control location standards and state courts settle disputes between claimants. Even those state location laws and court decisions have to conform to federal mining law.

    Heavy Pans
    Can you please show some actual documentation that if you own a lode claim you also own the placer deposits on your claim without filing a placer claim also? I own a lode claim in California and had someone file a placer over my lode without my consent. It would really help me out if you could show me a law that states if you have filed a lode claim you also own the placer within your claim. I know of many mines in Nevada for instance where a major company owns the lode deposit yet some One else puts a placer over that lode with no problem. And finally from the recent court decisions in California there has been no definitive ruling by the courts. I've seen people file placer over lode and win in court and vise versa I've also seen people loose in that case. As in my case it I kept my claim and he was awarded his as well. I can find no where that says you own both if you only file one
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  6. #6
    Charter Member
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    Documentation is actually pretty simple since it's been the law for more than 145 years. The 1872 Mining Act clearly states in Section 3:
    That the locators of all mining locations heretofore made, or which shall hereafter be made, on any mineral vein, lode, or ledge, situated on the public domain, their heirs and assigns, where no adverse claim exists at the passage of this act, so long as they comply with the laws of the United States, and with State, territorial, and local regulations not in conflict with said laws of the United States governing their possessory title, shall have the exclusive right of possession and enjoyment of all the surface included within the lines of their locations, and of all veins, lodes, and ledges throughout their entire depth, ...
    That nothing in this section shall authorize the locator or possessor of a vein or lode which extends in its downward course beyond the vertical lines of his claim to enter upon the surface of a claim owned or possessed by another.
    The Supreme Court has explained that simple passage this way:
    In 1881 Belk v Meagher:
    A valid and subsisting location of mineral lands, made and kept up in accordance with the provisions of the statutes of the United States, has the effect of a grant by the United States of the right of present and exclusive possession of the lands located. If, when one enters on land to make a location, there is another location in full force, which entitles its owner to the exclusive possession of the land, the first location operates as bar to the second.
    Mining claims are not open to relocation until the rights of a former locator have come to an end. A relocator seeks to avail himself of mineral in the public lands which another has discovered. This he cannot do until the discoverer has in law abandoned his claim, and left the property open for another to take up. The right of location upon the mineral lands of the United States is a privilege granted by Congress, but it can only be exercised within the limits prescribed by the grant. A location can only be made where the law allows it to be done. Any attempt to go beyond that will be of no avail. Hence a relocation on lands actually covered at the time by another valid and subsisting location is void, and this not only against the prior locator, but all the world, because the law allows no such thing to be done.
    In 1885 Gwillim v. Donnellman:
    A location based upon discovery gives an exclusive right of possession and enjoyment, is property in the fullest sense, is subject to sale and other forms of disposal, and so long as it is kept alive by performance of the required annual assessment work prevents any adverse location of the land.
    There are probably a hundred more Supreme Court cases in my files that all say the same thing, A mining claim location made on an already existing valid mining claim location is void by law. Not one of those cases even hints that a valid lode claim could be located over by a placer claim.

    There are many placers located over existing valid lodes and many lodes located over existing valid placers. That proves nothing but that a lot of people waste their time and money making invalid locations. There is no government agency in charge of stopping people from being foolish and making invalid mining claims. The first mining law says that it's up to the courts to settle disputes between adverse claimants about mineral ownership - not the government.

    You say you know of cases where a placer claim located over an existing valid lode claim won the minerals. I have never encountered such a case. If you actually know of even a single case of a placer being located over valid lode claim and winning in court I would think you should share that here. I've shared the actual law as well as two Supreme Court cases to support the well known right of an existing valid claim to all the minerals within their location.

    Heavy Pans
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  7. #7

    May 2020
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    So if you could please share some recent cases that prove otherwise I feel it would help me file an appeal
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  8. #8

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    Everything i see from Lawyers
    Is they have won some cases and lost some cases

  9. #9
    Charter Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlBlueMule View Post
    You have stated very old cases. The 1872 Miners act was amended by the multiple mineral use act of 1954 and the multiple surface use act of 1955. Yes you are correct it is not up to the government and yes by the 1872 miners act you would be correct. But like I said I just lost a case in california and all my documentation was in order and filed correctly. I would greatly love to appeal that ruling.
    Seems like you have studied up. That's good.

    How about we start here - tell me where in the mineral use act of 1954 or the multiple surface use act of 1955 the mining location laws were amended to allow placer claims to be made over preexisting valid lode claims? I don't see it in there.

    I could give you much more recent cases but I prefer to be educated about what I don't know. I do know of many many cases that back up what I wrote. I don't know of any cases that dispute what I wrote. Perhaps you could share the law or court cases that overrule the General Mining Act or the Supreme Court cases I linked to.

    Heavy Pans
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlBlueMule View Post
    So if you could please share some recent cases that prove otherwise I feel it would help me file an appeal
    It might be easier to send Clay a PM with your court case so that he can see your case in person. Or... you could put it on here.

  11. #11
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    Just Another Old Guy

    Feb 2008
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    Ok, now I'm really confused. I have read on here and elsewhere several times that a placer claim is only valid for loose surface and subsurface material deposits and a load claim is for minerals extracted from solid rock type deposits. If this is wrong then why are there 2 different claim types?
    I'm a drinker with a heavy prospecting problem and I'm out of dirt again

  12. #12
    Charter Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike(swWash) View Post
    Ok, now I'm really confused. I have read on here and elsewhere several times that a placer claim is only valid for loose surface and subsurface material deposits and a load claim is for minerals extracted from solid rock type deposits. If this is wrong then why are there 2 different claim types?
    That is what the two mineral claim types are described as it's not a limit on the minerals a claimant owns. The only reason there is a distinction is because lode claims cost twice as much as placer claims per acre. There is a long history of debates in Congress over the different deposit values but those debates never varied from the view that a placer claim could not be located over a lode claim.

    Both types of claims quite clearly own all the minerals within their location. That is repeated throughout the law and court decisions. The concern was that lode claims be restricted to their strike. Without a distinction between lode and placer claims placers would be too small and the richer lode claims would be competing against placer claims running at odd angles to the strike. The solution was to allow larger placer claims but prevent lode prospectors from claiming placers to get more ground at a lower price. Congress wanted full price for lode claims with no cheating by claiming the minerals as cheaper placer ground.

    The whole idea behind the Mining Acts was to get the valuable metals out of the ground and into the hands of the people. That plan worked partly because the Mining Acts had safeguards built in to prevent fighting and insecurity over what a valid claim was. A good part of that was distinguishing the very real differences between surface placer miners and below ground hardrock miners. Claiming messes often made lawyers more money than the miners. Congress was trying to avoid a continuation of the wild west system of suing and fighting for mineral claims.

    If Congress had intended that placer claims only own unconsolidated surface mineral deposits and lode claims only own hard rock deposits it would have been easy enough for them to put that in the law. They didn't, it's not in there. Instead they wrote the law so every valid claim owned all the valuable minerals discovered within their location with not a word about what type of deposit the claim was based on limiting mineral ownership.

    Most of the history of mining is about the wealth found in lode claim deposits. Placers are an afterthought in the world of mining. They were an afterthought in the Mining Laws too only being included as a form of valid mining claim by an 1870 amendment to the 1866 Mining Act. In 1872 Congress decreed that lode claims would cost twice as much as placer claims. That's why there are two different types of mineral claims - it's really that simple.

    Heavy Pans
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  13. #13
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    Just Another Old Guy

    Feb 2008
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    Thanks CD, I guess like most things governmental, it all comes down to money.
    I'm a drinker with a heavy prospecting problem and I'm out of dirt again

  14. #14
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    Brian

    Mar 2014
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    Ok Clay...one thing I never understood and now I am even more curious. As you know...in the Rich Hill area a lot of lode claims filed there are 20 acre locations......their geographical location (footprint) not merely the lawful designated lode location. Now I could understand a lode claimant locating a placer on top of their lode...thus having a lode and a placer. But down in the Rich Hill area the lodes are simply filed (located) as 20 acre placer locations. How is that ok? And why is it not challenged?

    Bejay

 

 

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