Buying a mining claim is a right that is granted to any citizen of the United States, and there are many good claims out there that you can buy and find gold on. The purpose of this article is to point out that just because the land is claimed, there is no guarantee that there is actually any gold there.
Here are 4 things that any prospective claim buyer should know before spending your hard-earned money.
1. You are NOT buying Land
When you own a mining claim, you have purchased the exclusive rights to mine the minerals on that land, but you are not purchasing real estate.
The land itself is not yours. You cannot put up “No Trespassing” signs. The public is allowed to camp, hunt, fish, and do just about any other activity they want to do on your claim. The only thing that they cannot do is prospect for minerals.
2. Lode Mines are Expensive to Mine are usually require Permits
One thing that you often see are lode claims for sale, with pictures of mine shafts and pictures of ore. Sometimes there are old building and other relics scattered around the claim.
For many prospective claim buyers this seems very exciting. This is what they picture in their mind when they think of a gold mine, climbing deep underground and following a vein of gold down into the Earth.
As someone who has mined for 15 years or so, I can tell you that I don’t get all that excited when I stumble across an old lode mine, and I generally wouldn’t get too excited about one that I found for sale.
Profitably running a hard rock gold mine is very difficult to do, and not realistic for the average prospectors. Certainly not for a person who has never even mined before and thinks that they are just going to buy a gold mine and start pulling gold out of the ground right away.
Extracting ore is a difficult and expensive process.
And guess what? If you intend to use explosives or heavy equipment (which is almost a necessity for running a hard rock mine) then you are going to need to get permits. Getting the proper permitting in place to run a mine on federal lands can take years, even decades.
3. There are Annual Fees that must be Paid
There are annual maintenance fees and paperwork required to maintain a mining claim. If you don’t take care of them every year, you will lose your claim, and someone else can come in and file right behind you.
4. Virgin Ground is Usually Worthless
Another thing that you will often see from people selling claims is pictures of a creek that has no evidence that it has ever been mined before. They will hype this as virgin ground, often saying things like “The old-timers never got here! All the gold is still in the ground!”
Most ground in the U.S. today that has not yet been mined is that way for a reason; there wasn’t enough gold there for the old-timers to fool with. Ask yourself, why didn’t the old timers mine there? There has been active gold mining taking place in most parts of the United States for at least 150 years now, if there was a well-known gold deposit there, I’m pretty sure someone would have mined it. There are thousands of miles of creeks and rivers that you could call “virgin ground” and it is virgin for a reason… there isn’t any gold there.
Now certainly there is still some virgin ground with good gold that is out there yet to be found, but I can tell you that it is highly unlikely that you are going to find it for sale on eBay. If it still exists, it probably hasn’t been found yet.
Also Read: Beware Exaggerated Richness of Gold Claims