According to the BLM, a mining claim is “a parcel of land for which the claimant has asserted a right of possession and the right to develop and extract a discovered, valuable, mineral deposit. This right does not include exclusive surface rights.” Click here to read more about mining claims at the BLM.
Active mining claim data at Western Mining History
Western Mining History is now providing non-patented mining claim indexes for ACTIVE mining claims in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Mining claim data is available to Mines level premium members. Click here to learn about premium memberships.
The purpose of providing this data is to improve on the BLM’s LR2000 (Land and Mineral System Reports) tool for accessing claim data. The LR2000 is notoriously slow and difficult to use.
The claim index reports at WMH are designed to match active mining claims with mine locations, and to provide a downloadable index file of all active claims in the western states for use with database applications.
Important note: the BLM data does not precisely locate the mining claim boundaries. Once you have found claims you are interested in, you need to get the exact location information from the appropriate County Recorders office for that claim.
What is included in Western Mining History active claim reports?
For over 500,000 active claims in the western states, the following fields are included in the data:
Case Type (lode, placer, millsite, tunnel site)
MTRS (Meridian, Township, Range, Section)
The serial number can be used to easily obtain the full claim details from the BLM website.
DATA ON CLOSED MINING CLAIMS IS NOT INCLUDED
Mining claim data formats
Active mining claim data is accessible through WMH in two ways:
1. Download the full active claims index file for all western states (not including Alaska)
Mines members: click here to access the active claims index file
This file contains over 500,000 records and is not suitable for spreadsheets. It is best imported into a database application, or it can be viewed in a text editor.
Database applications will allow you to search by any of the fields, and the serial number for each claim record can be used to access the full claim record at the BLM website.
2. Browse active claims that reside in the same PLSS section as a particular mine
The WMH mines section has over 115,000 mines from the USGS MRDS database. Most mines have a PLSS value associated with them. When browsing a mine page, if the mine has a usable PLSS value, Mines members can click on that value and see active mining claims in that section. These example screenshots show the relationship between mine records and claim records:
Mine detail page with PLSS info:
Clicking the “corrected value” for a PLSS entry opens the claims results for a section:
Clicking the serial number in the claims result page opens the full claim record on the BLM website:
Claim data will be updated periodically.