Please consult our list of frequently asked questions before contacting us about general mining claim information. It’s likely that your question is answered below. If not, let us know and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!
When you purchase an un-patented mining claim, you own ALL of the rights to the minerals on the claim. Your ownership is an interest in real property. You can leave it to your heirs, borrow against it, and even live on it with certain restrictions. Your ownership is perpetual, so long as you meet the annual requirements. The “surface” is “managed” by the federal government as long as the mining claim remains un-patented. Through mining claim ownership a “claimant” holds “rights”, which far exceeds that of the general public’s “privileges” (such as general access, hunting, camping, wood cutting, etc), and while the managing agency may pass internal “policies” for public use, these policies cannot restrict or inhibit your mining “rights” (which some agencies sometimes will attempt to do). If the claim becomes qualified for an application for a patent and the patent is accepted, the ground will become your own private property, meaning it will pass from the federal government to you. The un-patented placer mining claims that we offer are NOT a “mineral lease”. Mineral leases are a specific procedure for renting restricted or private areas for mineral recovery, and under these conditions, leases have their own set of regulations and guidelines with a shelf life and are not deeded. To look into all the “rights” of a mining claim owner, you can review the Code of Federal Regulations 43
There are two ways to file your annual maintenance paperwork, and as this is an annual requirement, it must be completed each year. The first is through submitting the Standard Claim Maintenance Fee Form to the BLM by September 1st of each year, with $165 per claim and/or $165 per 20 acres. The second method is to file the Maintenance Fee Waiver Form submitted by September 1st and the Affidavit of Assessment of Work Form, with $15 per claim (any size claim) by December 30th. With this second method, you must have ten or fewer claims and perform at least $100 for development, labor and/or improvements each year.
If you choose to file the Affidavit of Assessment of Work Form, the first year you file it you also need to file a Notice of Intent to Hold Form. This form must be notarized and recorded at the county clerk in the county where your mining claim resides. The Notice of Intent to Hold Form is due December 30th but can alternatively be filed with the Waiver Form due September 1st.
There are no taxes paid on the land on un-patented mining claims. The only fees associated with claim pertain to the annual maintenance paperwork. Please see the above FAQ for more information.
To apply for a dredging permit: Go to the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR). They have the permits on hand when you go into their office. The cost is $10 for residents and $30 for non-residents. The process takes about 5 to 10 minutes to get the permit. Permits can also be printed online and mailed in to the IDWR. Their website is http://www.idwr.idaho.gov/ Also, the IDEQ (formerly EPA) is now involved in suction dredging claim permitting in Idaho. The laws and rules regarding dredging have changed recently and will continue to change. Please contact IDWR and the IDEQ for current rules and regulations. IT IS THE JOB OF THE BUYER TO UNDERSTAND DREDGING LAW AND PERMITTING. WE WILL NOT REFUND CLAIM PURCHASES DUE TO BUYER IGNORANCE OF CURRENT DREDGING REGULATIONS IN THE STATE OF IDAHO.
I will also note that the IDWR lists on their letter permit that “no mining” can be conducted if the river/stream isn’t one that they note as being open for dredging. While this might apply on “State only” lands (where you cannot have “mining claims” but mineral leases & pay royalties), IDWR does not have the authority or jurisdiction to manage or regulate other types of mining activity (on federal lands) outside the stream/river on a federal mining claim, and their control and regulation only applies to suction dredges “in” the stream/river (not things like metal detectors, panning, sluicing, dry washing, high-banking, etc). An exception to this, the State does require a state mining permit, once an open pit (on larger scale commercial projects) exceeds the size of one ½ acre, in which case a state mining permit would then be required.
I will advise you that the Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management as of the fall of 2020 will no longer be using, updating or making the LR2000 program available to public, as they are switching to a new data processing software. With the backups (months of closures) that COVID caused this last spring, some national agencies have opted not to be updating LR 2000, as it will be obsolete in just a couple weeks.
Current Price of Gold
Idaho Department of Water Resources
Idaho State Law on Mining
First and foremost, find equipment that is suited to your ability and experience. Also, don’t be fooled by the latest scams; it’s important to research equipment “gimmicks” to make sure that the product is something that will work for your needs (or work at all) before making a purchase. There are local gold & pawn shops which carry dredges, sluices, high-bankers, metal detectors and other accessories, but be prepared to pay extra for the convenience of being able to pick them up on the spot. If you are looking to buy new equipment, there are several places that carry equipment, but we would recommend that you look at what other miners are saying about the equipment, and consider how easy it is to find replacement parts for future repairs.
Idaho Gold Mining recommendations:
Treasure Valley companies:
~ Global Mining Equipment – http://www.globalminingequipment.com – 4824 W. Fairview Ave, Boise, Idaho 83706 (208) 336-5355
Other Prominent Manufacturers:
~ Proline Mining Equipment – http://www.prolinemining.com
~ Keene Engineering – http://www.keeneeng.com
Many of the claims have camping areas either on or nearby the site. In the listing for each claim we have specified the nearest location suitable for camping. Please visit the claim sites to see if the existing camping area is adequate for your needs. As a claim holder, you have certain rights to improve the camping site(s) in order to better access your claim. In most cases areas can be developed to better suit your camping needs. Check with the federal managing agency to verify if your improvement is acceptable. The federal (Forest Service & BLM) internal “policies” (which again apply to the general public) is that camping cannot exceed 14 days. However, “policies” cannot restrict a mineral estate owner that have both state & federal “rights” for this access of their mining claim. As a compromise, if you plan to be “on” the claim for longer than 14 days, I would recommend that you send a NOI (Notice of Intent) to the managing agency to notify them of the location and duration of your stay. Understand, that in these types of situations, a NOI is not asking permission, it is alerting them of your rights to be on your mining claim. NOI’s can also be submitted if the mining work you are proposing to perform is substantial disturbance (or if you are concerned that it might be getting close to substantial disturbance), where in those instances, you will need to get the work approved, and wait to hear back from the geologist or ranger to see if further plans, bonds or explanation of the work is required, before proceeding.
On “federal mining claims” (unlike state leases), there are no royalties for the minerals that you recover on your mining claim. So any precious metals or gems are solely yours to keep.
Idaho Gold Mining specializes in locating virgin lode deposits. Through our research and discovery, placer claims are created when high gold yield deposits are found. By selling these claims, we are offering excellent claims to fellow prospectors who might not otherwise be able to acquire these claims. Through sales we are able to continue funding the discovery of sites for ourselves and others. As these sites are in desired drainages, there are segments which will continue to be owned and operated by Idaho Gold Mining. Additionally, the BLM has increased the annual assessment fees from $155 per claim, to $165 per 20 acres (with 1 claimant per 20 acres), and so most of our claim sites are developed at 20 acres or less, to ease in transferring a mining claim to a single party. On mining claims that are continuous, if the buyer is looking at acquiring multiple adjacent site, there are options to combine the mining claims into one larger mining claim site.
We have personally tested the sites, as well as set up operations on adjacent claims in order to validate the mining claim’s gold content. However, we would STRONGLY encourage that anyone interested in acquiring a claim visit the site and do test sampling. To maintain the integrity of the claim, preserving the site for the eventual buyer, we ask that you test with a metal detector, shovel and pan or sluice box. For more invasive testing, please contact us for prior approval. Also, please let us know before visiting a site, as a claim may sell before we have the opportunity to remove it from this website. Please make sure that the hole is filled in after collecting the sample.
While our goal is to serve all of our clients, we are limited in time and resources on how frequently we can take people out. In many cases, sites can sell while formulating a schedule that will meet both parties’ needs. To better assist you in locating and accessing the correct site, please see the claim ad where you will find detailed driving directions to the mining claim, GPS coordinates (which links you to Google Earth), a map to the site from a prominent town or city, topography map and a Google maps aerial view of the specific site. Staking has been installed at the GPS coordinate boundaries. Lastly, at each of our claim sites, there are boundary signs along the roadway on the trees indicating where the claim starts and where it ends.
Assays are provided for all of the lode claims illustrating the gold, silver and other alluvial content in the minerals that are present. Material for the placer deposits have been sampled using either a suction dredge or highbanker ran for approximately 3 hours and then weighing the results. So in most cases we can provide the estimated gold (weight) per yard (finished hole size) to provide these results. Pictures of collected gold from the claims will be displayed in the picture gallery for those specific claim listings. As bedrock varies from site to site and even foot by foot, we can also help offer what was found during the testing.
Assays have not been performed on placer claims, as we feel that assays are NOT a true representation of a placer site’s potential. On the lode claims, multiple assays are collected and acquired through core samples. There is a scientific method in collecting the samples in acquiring proper assays in order to determine the mean. To perform a “true” assay on placer deposits, this requires that 100% of ALL material (even equal portions of larger rocks & boulders) be collected all the way down to bedrock. The entire sample would need to be crushed down to a fine powder, the sample then being divided down multiple times until you are left with a single tablespoon of material that is then tested. For example, a 3” auger hole with bedrock at a depth of 5′, would have roughly 3 cubic feet of material (equivalent to 4 & 1/2, 5 gallon buckets or 300 to 500 lbs. of rock), which is excluding the fact that there might be multiple rocks larger than the 3″ hole (these rocks would need to be cored precisely 3″ round or by the specific amount they are protruding into the sample area). There are many things that can go wrong with collecting a true placer sample… like hitting a large boulder and mistaking it for bedrock… sluff from the sides of the hole will falingl in and being collected, etc. What this also doesn’t account for, and as most dredgers know, with gold being one of the heaviest minerals in the deposits, most of the larger pieces of gold are trapped in the cracks of bedrock. There are so many altering variables in acquiring a sample correctly that we don’t feel comfortable with posting assays which could easilyconvey false information through an improper sample collection. Many times, people dig down a few feet, take a shovel-full of material, pan it down to concentrates, and then send it in as their “assay” of a claim. Even if they didn’t pan the sample down, this is still not the proper scientific method for acquiring a sample which is a proper representation of a site. If someone is interested in collecting their own sample on any of these claims, and performing an assay, we don’t have any problem with that whatsoever. Please make sure that the hole is filled in after collecting the sample.
• Mining claim 100% owned by you and in your name with a professionally completed Quitclaim Deed
• All filing including recording with the appropriate county and Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
• USGS topographical map of the claim
• Surface Management map of the claim
• GPS coordinates
• Additional copies of paperwork for annual claim filing requirements
• Instructions regarding annual filing requirements and ongoing claim management
The federal regulations on “placer” mining claims requires that claim designation be written in allocate parts (43 CFR 3832.12). Only under special conditions would a placer be written in different conditions. The allocate parts, creates a “boxy” style of configuration, and may not align with the flow of the river/creek. The common mistake in creating a “placer” is writing the legal for the designation of a “lode” claim, which is 1500’ by 600’ (maximum size allowed for a lode deposit). The federal government is now enforcing this policy so that older and future placer claims are properly documented. Another fun fact: a 1500’ by 600’claim is 20.66 acres, and as a placer would require paying an assessment of $330 annual maintenance (without waiver or assessment of work), although a 20 acre or less claim would only require $165 annual maintenance
You can have as many people, companies, or entities as you would like on a mining claim deed. Keep in mind that in filing the annual small miner’s waiver and the affidavit of assessment of work, that all parties who own the claim must sign and/or notarize the forms. Please be advised, that while we offer to pay the transfer fees for deeding the mining claim to the buyer, if you choose to have several claimants on the deed, we hold at our discretion the right to negotiate with the buyer for additional fees. This is due to the fees that the BLM assesses per individual(s) when a claim is transferred from one party to another.
Yes, an individual, company or legal entity (such as a trust) may be on the mining claim deed as a claimant.
Non-citizens are not allowed to file location notices to develop new claims. However, according to the federal mining law, a non-citizen or company outside the US may purchase and hold the rights to a mining claim deed. For further verification please contact the Bureau of Land Management, where these mining claims are managed, at 1(208) 373-3889.
Idaho Gold Mining treats all of the mining claims on a first come, first serve basis, as we recognize the yield potential of the precious minerals, historic value, as well as the experience, knowledge and expertise that miners possess for those areas already. So to make it fair for all of our clients, we do not offer sites to be “held” for any period of time so that a claim can be further investigated (or accessed). We recognize that accessing mining claims, during certain times of the year (such as winter months), can be extremely challenging, and as your safety is our main concern, we ask that you take the necessary precautions if you are planning to try and visit the claims. We don’t want anyone hurt out there, because you are trying to be the first one into the new mining claim that is posted.
Amalgam is essentially mercury that has bonded with other precious metals, gold being one. Just like gold, mercury has a heavier specific gravity (13.6 SG), which, while getting carried along Jordan Creek, would be found deeper along with the heavier specific gravity of gold (15.6 – 19.3 SG, depending on karats). When mercury comes in contact with gold, it bonds together, and the mercury coats the gold piece. Most of the time when you find it, it looks a bright shiny silver color (just like pure mercury), other times if there are just trace amounts of mercury on the gold, it can look a dull white. It is better to keep your clean gold away from any pieces that appear to have mercury on them, as the amalgam will spread rapidly to other clean pieces….and yes, mercury does eat into the gold, the longer they are in contact, and once that % gold is absorbed (eaten) by the mercury, that portion or small percentage of gold will never get recovered (even through chemical leaching). The simplest and least expensive ways of recovering the gold from the amalgam can be done through means of a retort or also Nitric Acid. If you are using either of these methods, please do your research, and in a safe environment…while the retort captures and condenses the evaporated mercury off the gold, I would still do this with the proper ventilation (stand upwind). And while the mercury is absorbed (reacts) in the acid, you would not want to breath in the fumes coming off from the nitric acid. The gold itself will appear dull yellow after either process, but a quick heat with an acetylene torch will shine it right back up. I have worked with amalgam for many years now, and the recovery rates (gold versus total weight of amalgam) are all over the board. It greatly depends on many factors, how much mercury vs. gold, the size pieces of gold within the amalgam (larger nuggets the higher returns), how long the mercury is on the gold. My lowest recovery rates were 25% pure gold (I chemically processed each mineral out), but it also had 40% silver…meaning that from the total weight of amalgam, only 25% was pure gold, 40% silver. My highest recovery rates on amalgam were 85% of the weight was gold. 50% is a pretty good average that I have found, but that number can go up or down. The fun part about it, is when you find it, you are usually finding mass amounts of it (many a days recovering several ounces at a time…have had weekend trips where I have recovered pounds of amalgam). So while it might be more of a hassle to process (using a retort or acid), there still is a decent return. If you are closer to the 50% recovery of gold from amalgam, when you melt the remaining gold down (after removing the mercury using the retort or nitric acid), it will actually look silver. Silver City region is known for its high silver content, and much of the “clean” gold you recover is around 18 karats (which is only 75% pure gold to begin with, with a lot more silver within it). Because the mercury only eats into the gold (lowering the karats), it leaves behind a higher % of the other elements. Once gold drops below 65% gold purity, the gold itself will actually “look” silver, but you can get acid scratch tests to determine how high. My point is, don’t throw the amalgam out…or I’d gladly take it off your hands :o) I have heard too often people throwing pounds of it back. Here is an example: 1 lb of amalgam = 14.58 troy ounces, even at a low 25% pure gold recovery rate that is 3.65 troy ounces of gold = roughly $4,700 from the gold…the 40% silver would only be around another $100. You can go through the chemical process of separating out each of the minerals, where you would have 99.999% gold, it is a bit time consuming, and processes depending on what you are trying to achieve or what various elements are in it. Otherwise, there are refiners that purchase, and pay you for each of the precious metals found in your melted bullion.
Retorts are pretty inexpensive to purchase, around $100, just make sure you follow the instruction (depending on if they are ventilated or non-ventilated).
I’m not here to make a bunch of chemists out there…but, you can recover the gold from the amalgam with Nitric Acid. Again make sure you are in a well ventilated area so you are not breathing in the fumes. I shop around and only pick it up around 65% to 70% concentrate solution (strength)…and with all of your acids, you want to make sure it is not older solution, as the strength can diminish over time. When adding it to the amalgam, it doesn’t take much to get the job done, but then it also depends on how much is suspended in the acid…in other words the acid can only absorb so much volume, and more is might be needed. The nitric will absorb both the mercury and silver (as well as other elements), leaving behind more of your gold (and some other elements). If you are not getting much of a reaction (fizzing & bubbling), you can also use a hot plate to warm it up slightly. From this point you would strain the acid through a filter, and the particles caught in the filter is your gold. I would recommend rinsing this a few times with water.
From here, you can either take up the gold in Aqua Regia or melt it down to bullion. If you melt it down now, it will not be pure, you could be anywhere from a 50% to 90% gold (again, below 65% is going to look silver)…because the nitric will only react to what “surface” it touches, the exterior coats of mercury will be gone, as well as silvers that is exposed to the surface edges, but the interior of 18 karat nugget can still have silver present.
Aqua Regia (royal water) – is nitric acid (which you already have now) and hydrochloric acid. It should take up only your top precious metals, gold, platinum and palladium (families). Roughly for every ounce of gold you will need roughly 300 ML of aqua regia. You can pick hydrochloric acid up at Home Depot, which is called “Muriatic Acid”, which usually comes as 31.45% concentrate solution (says on the back label your %), but you can get as strong as 35%. To get aqua regia, you would mix 1 part nitric (65% – 70% concentrate) with 4 parts hydrochloric (30%-35%)… you can start with a 1:3 ratio, and if you are not getting the reaction you need slowly add another part hydrochloric. Again, I can’t emphasis enough to make sure you do this in a ventilated area, so you are not breathing this in. Place your remaining gold in a tempered glass container, add the hydrochloric, then you will slowly add the nitric to the hydrochloric (not the other way around). You should see a reaction (fizzing & bubbling off the gold), and I let this sit overnight, the larger the pieces of gold, the longer it takes to dissolve. The solution will already be warm to the touch, as the acids are reacting to the metals, but you can also warm this up a tad more to increase the reaction. I also like using a glass stir stick to move the pieces around once in a while (just make sure to spray the stir stick off with water, over the aqua regia is fine). Once the solution has completed the reaction, you will run it through a fine filter (Buchner is the most popular for this fine recovery process). Your solution should be transparent green. Any left over particles in the filter can be added to your nitric solution (that has your mercury & silver), which should get dissolved.
From here, your gold is suspended in the aqua regia. Now depending on how many elements you want to drop out, or what you want to do, can get more complicated. In simplistic means, you can drop (precipitate) the gold out of the solution by a couple different methods (some chemists swear by one method or another):
Add very small teaspoons of sodium metabisulfite at a time.
Add urea mixture slowly into the green acid until it stops foaming.
With both processes, you will see fine brown or orangish yellow (depending on which process you use) particles floating and slowly drop to the bottom. Yes, that is actually your gold. Just let it settle and give it time to completely drop. Once it has fully dropped & settled, then you just filter, rinse (with water a few times to remove any acid) & let the particles dry. Once dry, you can melt this down to a purified gold, depending on how well you refining process is, your gold purity is typically 95% to 99.99%.
The nitric acid solution you used for pulling off the mercury (which also has silver chlorides), if you would like to recover those elements, you can add copper or aluminum, and the mercury will drop to the bottom and ready for use again. After filtering that out, you can add table salt to the nitric and a white cloud of silver chloride will settle out. On the silver, let it settle, filter, and then store in a dark area to let dry (exposure to light will turn it dark fast). To get it back to it’s precious metal form, you do need to add a sugar molecule (I like using corn syrup)…no this isn’t baking class, but it sure seems that way with the silvers. :o) Once that additional molecule is added, then it is ready to be dried and melted into bullion. From the remaining nitric acid, if you think there might be any gold that got pulled up, you can add zinc (powder or shavings), to drop any additional gold out.
With the costs of acids and time it takes to process, I usually wait until I have around a pound of amalgam collected, before going through all of these steps. If you need more specific details, there are a lot of online guides and forums you can also get onto to help research this further.
Note: As you are dealing with acids, make sure to always wear safety goggles & gloves. If any drops get on your skin, wash it IMMEDIATELY. I also keep a box of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) handy as you can neutralize any small spills. I would also impress that you will want to use “tempered glass” especially when applying heat. On any of your washes or diluting acids, you would want to use distilled water, as tap water can have heavy metals and other minerals that can react to the solution. After you are done pulling your metals from the acids, you can also neutralize them with the baking soda.