Gold claims are an interesting topic. They contain gold mines and placer deposits. What they really are is just a plot of land, but not just any old plot of land. Gold claims are plots of land that someone has discovered gold on, whether this be in a creek, stream, river, or loose sediment just out in the field. What happens though is a person stakes claim to the land and they are granted the right to mine on the land exclusively.
A gold claim essentially allows the discoverer the privileged right to have first pickings over the land. This acts as an incentive for the finder to invest his time (because it takes time to raise money and gather equipment) and the money needed to develop the gold claim. Of course you can’t just round up the boys and start digging. Check with the local jurisdiction to figure out exactly what is allowed or not.
Laws Governing Gold Claims
Gold claims on state or federal land are limited to lands specifically designated for gold claims. If the land isn’t allowed for mining then the claim is invalid and ignored. It is also understood that if you stake a claim, you are expected to be a “prudent man” meaning you will, without question, be putting forth the time, energy, and finances to properly mine the deposit. However, it must be understood that the claimer does not own the land. He will be allowed to extract the gold and own the gold, but the land remains under the ownership of the previous and current owner.
Staking a Gold Claim
The procedure for staking out a gold claim consists of making a monument, which is usually just a wooden painted post at least three feet above the ground and three inches in diameter. The stake is placed at the north east corner of the claim and is called the number one corner. On this stake you can place your location notice. You then place stakes in the other three corners and number them in the clockwise direction.
You then have to fill out claim paperwork and the documents must be filed with the offices of the local land owners and managers. There is likely to be some fees associated as well. This has to be done within about 7 weeks in addition to paying for certain labor fees. If this is not done properly, then you are anyone associated with you cannot restake the land for one year after abandoning it. If you stake out gold claims, make sure you do the necessary paperwork or you will lose your gold!