Due to the Fact that the GeoCommunicator is no longer serving the Mining Claims Data, this tutorial is no longer very useful. The best place to find out about active mining claims in an area is by using the BLM's LR2000 database.
I've got a tutorial for that too. So try this one:
Demystifying the LR200
A Quick Guide to Finding BLM Mining Claims with the MinerDiggins Gold Atlas
By Ruby Miner
The USGS provides an information website called the GeoCommunicator. This website used to be a "One-Stop" shop for finding information about land status, mining claims, grazing allotments and much more. This website has stopped providing much of the information useful to prospectors, such as mining claims and land status.
We have created the - MinerDiggins Gold Atlas to help fill the void left by these changes. The Gold Atlas uses Google Earth to display data that can aid prospectors in their search for Gold.
Download a FREE copy HERE.
The Gold Atlas is designed to help prospectors with very broad searches and provides generalized information. It will link you directly into the BLM LR2000 database. Please be reminded that the LR2000 claims data is only mapped to the Quarter Section, not to the actual Claims boundaries. And also that the LR2000 is rarely current, and can be 3 to 6 months behind on updates.
The Mining Claims Map layers (active, closed, plans & notices, etc.) will no longer be updated by the BLM. Be advised, they may stop providing these layers at any time. We are working to find a way to continue providing this information with the Gold Atlas.
There are many map layers provided in the Gold Atlas. In this tutorial I will focus on only those required to access the BLM LR2000 functions.
This tutorial provides a few simple steps to follow to find active mining claims in a specific Township, Range and Section and access the LR2000 serial register reports for these claims. There are many options available for you to try should you desire additional information.
Some basic rules for using Google Earth and the Gold Atlas:
Make sure that your "Places Panel" is showing. Toggle on the tool bar to turn it on.
Keep the number of layers checked to a minimum.
Zoom into an area of interest before turning on any new layers. Some layers will not display until you are Zoomed in far enough.
Don't check the box in front of a FOLDER. This may crash the program.
Learn to use the Google Earth Tools. Go to Help and read the Users Guide.
Explore and have fun looking down at your own backyard.
Follow this simple Tutorial - Click by Click - to Access the BLM LR2000 records on your favorite prospecting area.
STEP 1: Download and Open the MinerDiggins Gold Atlas. Read the Instructions by clicking on the center image and then turn it off by unclicking the checkbox titled "Gold Atlas Instructions"
Download a FREE copy HERE.
STEP 2: Zoom to your Place of Interest by typing the name in the "Fly to" block.
I have chosen to use Aguila, Arizona.
STEP 3: Turn on the Township, Range and Section map layer. This will help limit your search. Open the "Land Management" Folder and Check the layer titled "Township, Range, Section".
This will add a grid to your image.
STEP 4: Add the Mining Claims Layer. Open the folder named "Mining Claims". Check the box labeled "Active Mining Claims". This will turn on the BLM layer showing mining claims located in each quarter section. Zoom in and out, and around to see what's out there.
STEP 5: ZOOM in to your area of interest. I suggest you keep it limited to a few sections as seen below.
STEP 6: Call up the LR2000 Database. Check the box titled "lr2000". A pop-up window will appear in the center of the screen. Click on the "View in Browser". This will open the window in your default Browser.
STEP 7: A Pop-Up window will appear in your browser. This will show reports for the Townships you have chosen. To Look at the Mining Claims you need to click the "Mining" tab in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
STEP 8: The window will display several lists of data. Choose the "Mining Claims - Active" list. Select the name of the claim that you want to research from the "Claim Name" column. I have selected QUEST 231. DoubleClick on the "LR2000 MC Report" link for that claim and the LR2000 will display the Serial Register Report for your claim.
STEP 9: Your report will look like this. You can save it as PDF, xls using their toolbar. Caution: this window will only display Page 1 of the report. To read the full report you must save it.
STEP 10: Finish your research and Turn off the LR2000 layer. If you do not "turn-off" the LR2000 map layer by unchecking the box, a pop-up window will keep appearing as you surf around the map
You now have a listing and reports of all the ACTIVE Claims in your area. What do you still need to know to prospect or claim the area?
You need to know if the land is open to prospecting.
Turn on the Surface and Subsurface Management Layer to give you a broad idea of who owns the land.
Just because the land is managed by the BLM or the Forest Service does not mean you can prospect or make a claim. Some areas are withdrawn from mineral entry and /or prospecting for various reasons. This information is not available on the GeoCommunicator. You need to contact the managing agency to find this information.
You need to know what the ACTUAL boundaries of the claims are.
You need the County Filing to be able to map this information. The BLM LR2000 does not record claims at this level. Although it may appear to do this in some areas, it is coincidental.
There are a few ways to find out the actual claim boundaries.
1. Go to the actual claim site and look for the physical posts. The claim documents MAY be posted on the location monument.
2. Get the Filings from the County Recorder. This will involve searching the Recorders files and purchasing a copy of the filing from the County. They usually run about $1 per page.
Click on the "County Recorder Layer" to open a window that displays MinerDiggins links to almost all of the County Recorders in the West.
3. If the area you are looking to prospect has been covered by a MinerDiggins FootPrint, the claims are already mapped to the ACTUAL boundaries and county records are provided for you in the program.
You need to be aware that the BLM and the County Filing may not reflect all valid claims to an area. When a claim is staked (on the land) the Claimant has 90 days to file with the County Recorder. There are also recording time delays. At the BLM a record may take weeks or months to show up on the LR2000. You must check the land itself for any claims filed but not recorded.
For all of the information you can get from the LR2000, it still does not tell you if any Gold has been found in your area in the past. The BLM does not identify the Commodity that was found on the claim. And just because someone made a claim in the past does not mean there is gold there. In some areas, unfortunately, lots of claims are made purely for resale.
Use the information you can get from the LR2000 as a starting point for your research. There is lots of other information that can help you look for places to find Gold. Get as much as you can.
If your area is covered by a MinerDiggins FootPrint, then the information found by using the LR2000 is already done. In addition you will find detailed information about the geology, water flow, road access, historical mines, high resolution aerial imagery, patents, mining history and of course, fully mapped claims.
This tutorial is one in a series of tutorials designed by MinerDiggins to aid the prospector in his search for GOLD. The more information prospectors have about the area they are prospecting, the better chance they have to get GOLD. And that's what it's all about.