6304.12 How will BLM determine the validity of unpatented mining claims or sites§ 6304.12 How will BLM determine the validity of unpatented mining claims or sites?
(a) BLM will conduct a mineral examination to determine whether your claim or site was valid as of the date that lands within the wilderness area were withdrawn from appropriation under the mining laws. We also will determine whether your claim or site remains valid at the time of the examination.
(1) If you do not have an approved plan of operations, BLM must complete this validity determination before approving your plan of operations.
(2) If you have a plan of operations that was approved before the wilderness designation, BLM will determine whether operations may begin or continue while we conduct the validity determination.
(b) If BLM concludes that your mining claim lacks a discovery of a valuable mineral deposit or your claim or site is invalid for any other reason, we will disapprove your application for a plan of operations. For an existing approved operation, BLM may issue a notice ordering suspension or cessation of operations. We will begin contest proceedings to determine the validity of your mining claim or site under subpart E of part 4 of this title. However, you may take samples and gather other evidence to confirm or corroborate mineral exposures that were physically disclosed on the claim before the date the wilderness area was withdrawn.
(c) If the Department of the Interior issues a final administrative decision declaring your claim or site null and void, you must cease all operations and complete all reclamation required under subpart 3809 of this chapter and § 6304.11(d) of this part.