Proof of discovery question

Bodfish Mike

Sr. Member
Dec 12, 2014
489
1,306
Bodfish and Marin county CA
Detector(s) used
Garrett , Whites
keene puffer drywasher , Keene A51 Sluice
Primary Interest:
Other
Is there a way to see if a claim owner has filed Proof of discovery.
Would that show up on the LR2000 ? -- or the county recorder's office ? -- or ?
 
Upvote 0

Clay Diggins

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2010
4,294
12,753
The Great Southwest
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
Proof of discovery is not something you would register with the BLM or the County. Proof of discovery is private privileged information about the nature and extent of your discovery. That's the kind of business knowledge that you have a right to keep private from competitors and the general public.

The BLM can challenge whether you have accomplished your proof of discovery if they will be closing your your claim area due to a withdrawal. At that time if you provide the BLM with your proof of discovery you get to keep the claim and the BLM has an obligation to keep your information private. There will be two entries in the Serial Register page for your claim indicating that your claim was challenged and that the proof was provided. That's about the closest you will get to seeing whether a claim has proof.

The BLM only challenges claims when there is a land order or locator deficiency affecting your claim rights. That doesn't happen that often and when it does most individual claim owners are surprised to find they had to have proof of their discovery before they were challenged. Their claims are closed due to the lack of proof. Mining companies work to prove their mining claims from day one and rarely are caught off guard by a challenge.

Heavy Pans
 
Last edited:
OP
Bodfish Mike

Bodfish Mike

Sr. Member
Dec 12, 2014
489
1,306
Bodfish and Marin county CA
Detector(s) used
Garrett , Whites
keene puffer drywasher , Keene A51 Sluice
Primary Interest:
Other
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
So what would be an example of proof of discovery ? -- A vial with gold in it -- an essay report or a piece of paper saying I found some gold , there must be some type of report right. If challenged by BLM you got to show them something right.
I think you know where I'm going with this it's about one guy with an 80 acre claim.
 

Clay Diggins

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2010
4,294
12,753
The Great Southwest
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
Proof of discovery is about what valuable minerals are in the ground within the claim. A vial of gold is only proof that there once was some gold to be found on the claim.

There is no such thing as a "form" for proof. There are industry standards and methods but every proof will be different and entirely based on:
1. Verifiable evidence that there is a deposit with a properly estimated reserve of valuable minerals in the ground.
2. Concrete estimates of the entire cost of extracting the minerals from the ground, including the full cost of discovery, labor, materials and mining equipment.
3. A verifiable plan to transport, refine, sell and restore the the mined land.
4. A profit/loss estimate that shows a reasonable expectation that all the above could be done with a reasonable profit to the miner.

This is done every day all over the mining States. It is the very foundation of modern mining. It only looks imposing if you are unfamiliar with the process or if you don't have a deposit worth mining.

Here's a bit of help to understanding at least the deposit side of the above standards for proof. Placer Examination, Principles and Practice from the Land Matters library is the starting handbook for BLM placer examination.

As for your friend with the 80 acres - If he hasn't done his discovery work and expense estimates he is too late to prove his claim. If he bought the claim as 80 acres and it didn't come with proof of discovery he can't add locators now to make up the difference. One person can only hold a claim of 20 acres each without proof of discovery. In that scenario his best bet might be to amend the claim to 20 acres before his notice time is up.

Heavy Pans
 

winners58

Bronze Member
Apr 4, 2013
1,727
4,052
Oregon
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
if a 80 acre claim is transferred to a single owner they will get a letter to show proof of discovery or reduce the claim to 20 acres
if a person sends in information and documentation showing that most likely it would pass a validity test, they might send a letter like this.
I know of several claimants that have gotten this letter;
.
Acknowledgement of Discovery Documentation Submitted in Response to a Notice to Reduce Acreage
In Reply Refer To: Date
Serial Number #######
3830 (Office Code)
CERTIFIED MAIL–RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED
NOTICE
Claimant Name : #######
Address : Mining Claim Recordation
City, State, Zip Code : ####

Acknowledgement of Documentation Submitted
A Notice dated (insert date of Notice) required that the above-listed mining claims be amended to reduce
the acreage of the claims because the claims are association placer mining claims and have been
transferred to a smaller number of claimants than originally located the claims.

The Notice stated that in accordance with 43 CFR 3833.33, you may transfer, sell, or otherwise convey an
association placer mining claim at any time to an equal or greater number of mining claimants. If you
want to transfer an association placer claim to an individual or an association that is smaller in number
than the association that located the claim, you — (a) must have discovered a valuable mineral deposit
before the transfer; or (b) upon notice from BLM, you must reduce the acreage of the claim so that you
meet the 20-acre per locator limit.

In response, rather than amend the claims to reduce the acreage you submitted documentation you believe
shows such a discovery. This Notice acknowledges that we received the documentation you submitted
and that our office has made the determination that you will not be required to reduce the claim acreage at
this time. Our decision is based solely on the documentation you submitted and even though you will not be
required to reduce the claim acreage at this time, no factual determination has been made by this office
that a valid discovery has been made. That determination cannot be made without a complete mineral validity
examination, and our office will not be pursuing that type of examination at this time.

Any questions regarding this Notice should be directed to (insert name of adjudicator) at the address in
the letterhead or by telephone at (insert telephone number).
.............................................Signature Block...............................
 
Last edited:

Clay Diggins

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2010
4,294
12,753
The Great Southwest
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
Yep mineral examinations are expensive and the BLM usually tries to avoid them.

Then again making a statement that you have sampled a placer claim and defined the nature and extent of the deposit when you haven't had the claim for long might result in a BLM visit to the claim location to view the evidence of the work you claimed to have done in your discovery. The BLM doesn't need a mineral examination to pursue a claimant for fraudulent claims while under penalty of perjury. I'm not suggesting that anyone would lie to keep an 80 acre claim but it has happened in the past.

Another alternative would be for the claim owner to amend the claim to 20 acres and locate another three 20 acre claims in the same place as the former claim. Just a few more bucks and the BLM gets to feel like they won somehow and you get to keep the same claimed area. No perjury, no looking over your shoulder for the BLM to come sniffing around, no claim problems in the future for what you put off today. Win/Win. :thumbsup:

Heavy Pans
 

Bejay

Bronze Member
Mar 10, 2014
1,026
2,525
Central Oregon Coast
Detector(s) used
Whites GMT
Garret fully underwater
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
From My files:

"The finding of gold within your location is enough for you to make a mining claim location that will defend the claim against subsequent prospectors and locators. This is known as having a "possessory interest" in minerals within your location. At that point your claim is adequate for you to exclude others from exploring or mining your claim for minerals."

"A valid discovery is another matter entirely. Your "discovery" is not adequate to defend your claim against the interests of the United States. For a claim to have a valid discovery you will need to be able to prove that your unmined deposit meets the "prudent man rule" and the "marketability test". Those are all about proving that the valuable minerals that are still in the ground could be expected by a prudent man to be mined at a profit. Without proof of the quantity, quality and expense of mining, processing and marketing those valuable minerals you can not establish a valid discovery. Gold in the pan does not prove the quality or extent of your find is worth mining. Only gold established to be still in the ground to be mined can lead you to that conclusion."

"Your finds are sufficient to make a valid mining claim to further explore for a valuable mineral deposit. Your finds do not constitute a valid discovery but they are sufficient to reserve your location for your own prospecting and exploration purposes until you do make a valid discovery."

Here are a few important Supreme Court cases to show you the distinction.

Cameron v. United States
A mining claim on public lands is a possessory interest in land that is "mineral in character" and as respects which discovery "within the limits of the claim" has been made. The discovery must be of such a character that "a person of ordinary prudence would be justified in the further expenditure of his labor and means, with a reasonable prospect of success, in developing a valuable mine." United States v. Coleman
Minerals which no prudent man will extract because there is no demand for them at a price higher than the cost of extraction and transportation are hardly economically valuable. Thus, profitability is an important consideration in applying the prudent man test, and the marketability test which the Secretary has used here merely recognizes this fact. The word "discovery" is often bantered around on these forums as if the mere finding of gold suffices to prove a discovery of valuable minerals. It's often been misunderstood that the right to locate a mining claim is dependent on making a valid discovery first. That's simply not true. The discovery validates the claim as required by law but lack of a valid discovery does not prevent one from locating a claim. Here's how the courts have dealt with that all too common misunderstanding:

C. A. Davis et al., Appellants, v. Neal Nelson, State Director, Bureau of Land Management
A common practice in the western states among prospectors who intend more than a casual exploration of an area thought to contain mineral is first to locate, mark and record the boundaries of the claim, and then to expend time, labor, money and energy on the prospect. Such occupation and working of the claim, even before discovery, gives the locator a limited defendable right of possession and a right which is, in some respects, alienable. The right of pedis possessio is one which may be transferred by transfer of possession because it rests on actual possession, accompanied by deed, lease or assignment of the color of title represented by the local location and recording of the claim.

"In advance of discovery an explorer in actual occupation and diligently searching for mineral is treated as a licensee or tenant at will, and no right can be initiated or acquired through a forcible, fraudulent or clandestine intrusion upon his possession. But if his occupancy be relaxed, or be merely incidental to something other than a diligent search for mineral, and another enters peaceably, and not fraudulently or clandestinely, and makes a mineral discovery and location, the location so made is valid and must be respected accordingly.'"
"Whatever may be the rights acquired by a prospector, who locates a mining claim prematurely and before actual discovery of valuable mineral, in the defense of his actual possession against third persons, it is clear under both the mining law and the regulations that a discovery of valuable mineral is the sine qua non of an entry to initiate vested rights against the United States. The premature location of such a claim and the recordation of certificates or notices of location cast a cloud upon the title of the United States to the lands, as the law contemplates that discovery must coincide with the physical location of the claims."

"This is not to say that citizens, and those who have declared their intention to become such, do not also have and enjoy a statutory right to prospect and explore the public domain. Nor do we imply that it is an actionable wrong for a good faith prospector to locate a claim in furtherance and in protection of the right of pedis possessio while pursuing his more thorough exploration. But the validity of his title, claimed and asserted by the location of the claim and the recordation of notices, depends upon the resolution of a question of fact, that is, has there been a discovery of valuable mineral within the limits of the claim? I've given you a lot to read here but my intent is to guide you to the actual facts about discovery and mining claim validity. Read the court decisions instead of relying on the unjustified simplification that a valid discovery is mandatory before making a claim. Neither the law nor the customs of miners demand that you establish a valid valuable mineral discovery before making a claim. On the other hand finding some gold does not establish a valid valuable mineral discovery."

"Mining claims are a part of the prospect - locate - explore - discover - mine/patent process. They are not the end result but just a way of securing the minerals against other prospectors so you can complete the required steps to establish a valid valuable mineral discovery."

Bejay
 

mendoAu

Sr. Member
Apr 23, 2014
349
603
SW Oregon
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
It also helps to give your local BLM officials homemade blackberry jam upon their arrival.
 

Top Member Reactions

Users who are viewing this thread

Top