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Huge hike in filing fees for associated mining claims approved as amendment to omnibus spending bill

April 20, 2012

Updated 4-26-12 (Fee corrected from $100 to $140 per 20-acre claim)

Unbeknownst to miners -- and possibly to many of those in Congress who voted for the omnibus spending bill -- was a huge hike a filing fees for associated mining claims.

HR 2055 was passed by both the Senate and House and subsequently signed into law by President Obama on December 23, 2011. An amendment in the bill under "House Report 112-331 - Military Construction and Veteran Affairs" included a change in mining claim maintenance fees as follows:

CLAIM MAINTENANCE FEE AMENDMENTS

    Sec. 430. Section 10101 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (30 U.S.C. 28f) is amended--

        (1) in subsection (a)--

            (A) by striking so much as precedes the second sentence and inserting the following:

    `(a) Claim Maintenance Fee-

        `(1) LODE MINING CLAIMS, MILL SITES, AND TUNNEL SITES- The holder of each unpatented lode mining claim, mill site, or tunnel site, located pursuant to the mining laws of the United States on or after August 10, 1993, shall pay to the Secretary of the Interior, on or before September 1 of each year, to the extent provided in advance in appropriations Acts, a claim maintenance fee of $100 per claim or site, respectively.'; and

            (B) by adding at the end the following:

        `(2) PLACER MINING CLAIMS- The holder of each unpatented placer mining claim located pursuant to the mining laws of the United States located before, on, or after August 10, 1993, shall pay to the Secretary of the Interior, on or before September 1 of each year, the claim maintenance fee described in subsection (a), for each 20 acres of the placer claim or portion thereof.'; and

        (2) in subsection (b), by striking the first sentence and inserting the following: `The claim maintenance fee under subsection (a) shall be paid for the year in which the location is made, at the time the location notice is recorded with the Bureau of Land Management.'


What this means to miners is that associated mining claim owners will be hit with a huge hike in fees. A 160-acre claim would require a payment of $140 -- not $100 -- for each 20-acre section.  According to Sonja Santillan  of the Washington office of BLM, the old $100 price was quoted in the Act, but the price will actually be $140 for each twenty acres in accordance with the current regulations. There are no changes to the small miners waiver for those who own less than 10 claims.

The portion of the bill pertaining to mining claims fees can be found here. The full text of the omnibus spending bill is also avaiable online here.

The news fees will become active after they are published in Federal Register, and we don't have a timetable yet for when that will occur.

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