(1.) The public lands of the United States, open to entry by citizens of the United States, over twenty-one years of age, are classified as agricultural, desert, timber, stone, coal, mineral and saline lands. For full details as to the methods of procedure by which title is acquired to these several kinds of land see the American Mining Code and American Settler's Guide.
(2.) There are two kinds of mining claims, quartz or lode claims, and placer claims. A lode claim may be located for fifteen hundred feet along a mineral vein, and in width for three hundred feet on each side of the vein, making a claim of not exceeding 1500 feet in length by 600 feet in width. On a quartz claim a discovery of mineral must be made before location.
(3.) A placer claim may be located at the rate of twenty acres for each locator and an association of not exceeding eight locators may locate up to one hundred and sixty acres. A placer claim may be located before mineral is actually discovered, but a patent cannot be obtained until mineral has been discovered. Petroleum, brea, natural gas and asphaltum are entered as placer claims.
(4.) To make a valid location, the claim must be distinctly marked on the ground by reference to some natural object or permanent monument so that the boundaries of the claim can be readily traced. Such natural objects or permanent monuments may consist of stone monuments, mountain peaks, blazed trees, confluents of streams, or the boundaries or monuments of adjoining claims. Marking the claim on the ground determines the rights of the claimant as between himself and adjoining government land and notifies third parties of his rights.
(5.) When the claimant has located his claim, he must prepare a notice, in which the claim will be described according to the location boundaries, for the purpose of identifying the claim. The notice must also set forth the names of the locators, the date of the location and usually the name of the claim. (See Form No. 78 for Lode Claim and No. 79 for Placer Claim.)
(6.) The miners in a certain locality may form a mining district, and make regulations not in conflict with the laws of the United States and of the State in which the district is situate, governing the location, manner of recording the location notice, amount of work necessary to be done, and rate per day at which such work shall be computed, etc. Such districts usually appoint a mining recorder and require that all location notices and proofs of annual work shall be recorded in books kept in his office in the district.
(7.) The claimant posts one copy of his notice on the claim, and files a duplicate with the mining recorder of the district. It is the practice, in some sections to have such notice also recorded in the permanent records in the office of the County Recorder of the county in which the land is situate; and in California, the State law requires that the affidavit of annual assessment work shall be recorded in the County Recorder's office.
(8.) At least one hundred dollars worth of work or improvements must be done on each claim each year, counting from the first day of January next succeeding the date of location, until patent is obtained, whether the claim is a lode claim or consists of twenty or more acres of placer mining ground. Such work is usually done in the latter part of the year, and an affidavit of assessment work is then filed in the office of the County Recorder. A failure to do the requisite work and file the affidavit within the required time, leaves the claim open to re-location. Labor done for the direct benefit of the claim, though not done on the claim itself, may be applied as annual assessment work. (See Form No. 80.)
(9.) At least five hundred dollars in labor and improvements must be expended on the claim, and a discovery of mineral made thereon, before application for patent can be made through the nearest land office.