16 U.S. Code § 460mm–3 - Rights of holders of unperfected mining claims
(a) “Unperfected mining claim” defined
The term “unperfected mining claim” as used in this section, means a mining claim which is located on lands within the boundaries of the White Mountains National Recreation Area or Steese National Conservation Area established pursuant to this subchapter with respect to which a valid mineral discovery within the meaning of the mining laws of the United States, was not made as of the date of the withdrawal of such area from further appropriation under the mining laws of the United States.
(b) Moratorium on contest proceedings
Any holder of an unperfected mining claim seeking to protect such claim pursuant to this section must have maintained and must continue to maintain such claim in compliance with applicable Federal and State laws, and where applicable, must have obtained and complied with any mining access permit requirements imposed by the Department of the Interior during the 1979 mining season. Prior to September 30, 1982, no unperfected mining claim which has been maintained in accordance with this subsection shall be contested by the United States for failure to have made a valid mineral discovery within the meaning of the mining laws of the United States: Provided, That such claim shall be diligently prosecuted during this moratorium on contest proceedings as a condition for the moratorium. Any mining operation undertaken pursuant to this subsection, including but not limited to exploration, development, and extraction, shall be subject to such reasonable regulations as the Secretary may prescribe to assure that such operations will, to the maximum extend practicable, be consistent with protection of the scenic, scientific, cultural, and other resources of the Steese National Conservation Area or the White Mountains National Recreation Area or any affected conservation system units established or expanded by this Act.
(c) Valid mineral discovery
If the holder of an unperfected mining claim notifies the Secretary by filing an application for a patent that, as a result of mining operations in compliance with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section, he has made a valid mineral discovery of such claim within the meaning of the mining laws of the United States, and if the Secretary determines that such claim contains a valid mineral discovery, the holder of such claim shall be entitled to the issuance of a patent only to the minerals in such claim pursuant to the mining laws of the United States. The holder of such a patent shall also be entitled to the use of so much of the surface estate of the lands comprising the claim as may be necessary for mining purposes: Provided, That all mining operations conducted upon a claim after such a valid mineral discovery has been made, shall be in accordance with such reasonable regulations as may be issued by the Secretary pursuant to the authority granted in subsection (b) of this section.
(d) Validity determination
If an application for a patent is filed by the holder of an unperfected mining claim pursuant to subsection (c) of this section or if a contest proceeding is initiated by the United States after September 30, 1982, the validity of each claim shall be determined as of the date of the patent application or September 30, 1982, whichever is earlier. the holder of an unperfected mining claim not subject to a patent application filed prior to September 30, 1982, shall submit to the Secretary within one hundred and eighty days after such date all mineral data compiled during the contest proceeding moratorium which would support a valid mineral discovery within the meaning of the mining laws of the United States. Failure to submit such data within the one-hundred-and-eighty-day period shall preclude its consideration in a subsequent determination of the validity of each affected claim. Except as specifically provided for in this section, nothing shall alter the criteria applied under the general mining laws of the United States to adjudicate the validity of unperfected mining claims.
(e) Access to claims
Pursuant to the provisions of this section and section 3170 of this title, reasonable access shall be granted to an unperfected mining claim for purposes of making a valid discovery of mineral until September 30, 1982.
(f) Preference rights
The holder of any unperfected mining claim which was, prior to November 16, 1978, located, recorded, and maintained in accordance with applicable Federal and State laws on lands located within the boundaries of the Steese National Conservation Area, or the White Mountains National Recreation Area established by this subchapter, shall be entitled during a two-year period after the date that the Secretary exercises his authority under section 460mm–1 or 460mm–4 of this title to open an area containing such claim to mining,
(1) to a preference right to rerecord his claim under applicable law and to develop such claim under section 460mm–1 of this title or
(2) to obtain a lease to remove nonleasable minerals from the claim under section 460mm–4 of this title.
Source(Pub. L. 96–487, title IV, § 404,Dec. 2, 1980, 94 Stat. 2397.)
References in Text
The mining laws of the United States, referred to in subsecs. (a) to (d), are classified generally to Title 30, Mineral Lands and Mining.