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What Qualifies As Assessment Work?

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Just received a package from the BLM in Washington, DC. (not my local Idaho BLM)

Included is a new form for Annual Assessment Work.

(Form 3830-4, October 2013) (OMB NO: 1004-0114, Expires October 31, 2016)

The form asks for a description of work performed.

As a non-commercial, small scale miner, what type of work would qualify as annual labor?


























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  Any annual labor form I ever used asked for a description of work performed.

Requirement is the same for everyone ... big or small. You must do $100 worth of

work per claim.

 Any sampling, panning, digging holes, washing rocks... it all counts. I don't believe time

spent brushing out claim lines counts though.

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Here's some assessment work I have done...


Road and trail maintenance (yes, by hand), mineral exploration - including excavation by hand and drifting on bedrock using a suction dredge, collection and removal of trash left by others, and tools and equipment essential to the development of the claim.

It is my understanding that all tools and equipment purchased to mine and develop your claim (at least in Az) may be counted towards the $100 per claim minimum.


The BLM has a handout sheet titled "What qualifies as assessment work?" - Pick up a copy.  It also lists things that do not qualify.

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I'm wondering why just working the claim wouldn't count...or does it?

All mining counts. So you are digging, sluicing, and actively doing work - the time you spend counts toward assessment work.

Every bucket you dig is effectively a sample and you are processing it to see how much gold you get.

Actually, while a number of types of work can count toward assessment, mining the claim and extracting valuable mineral is the very best type.

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I know in Alaska if you dredge(even if you have a recreational permit for same creek) on your leased claim you have to file on the mineral royalties if you used a dredge for sampling. 

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Sampling your claim may or may not count depending who you talk to. I ran into an issue with a claim in Colorado I own where the Lakewood office (which is the BLM national headquarters) told me my assessment work didn't count. The claims adjudicator told me they have been letting people slide for years because they didn't have time to enforce "proper assessment" but that eventually they will be enforcing it and some claims may be lost. I can't remember the particulars but it was something like she said she'd let sampling go for 1 year but the next year I had to assess something different.


This was 3 years ago and I no longer hold that claim. But IIRC it was something to the effect that sampling had to be done in form of a geophysical (or other) survey and you must provide receipts and have formatted results of the survey to provide if asked. And you can't do it every year and have it satisfy the assessment requirements. The woman told me that sample panning my claim was not assessment and unless I was a professional geologist or surveyor my work didn't count. I asked the field office geologist if that was correct and he said it wasn't up to him and the claims adjudicators make the decisions. She also told me that lots of things that the clubs were using like "cleaning trash" or stuff like that were not going to count anymore and the things like rebuilding roads or cutting trees require permits and eventually proof of those permits will be requested if that type of assessment is used.


I don't remember all the particulars so I may be off on something they said. But if what they told me is to be believed and you read the assessment requirements, most of things people put down for assessment when you view the records at the county clerk do not meet the BLM's requirements, I guess they still just don't enforce them.

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Examples of Work That Qualify As Assessment Work   

  1. A building that benefits and improves the claim. Bryan V. McCraig, 10 Colo 309, 15 P 413 (1887).
  2. Reasonable value of meals to miners who receive board in addition to salary. Fredricks v. Klauser, 52 Or 110; 96 P 679 (1908).
  3. Value of blasting supplies. Id.
  4. Construction
    of road to mining claim. U.S. v. 9,947.71 Acres of land, More or less,
    in Clark County, State of Nev., 220 F. Supp. 328 (DC Nev 1963); Silliman
    v. Powell, Utah 642 P2d 388, 393 (1982).
  5. Maintenance of access roads to mining claim. Pinkerton v. Moore, 66 NM 11, 340 P2d 844 (1959).
  6. Sinking shafts and running tunnels or drifts. James v. Krook, 42 Ariz 322 (1933).
  7. Installation of mining machinery or fixtures. Id.
  8. Employment
    of a watchman when necessary to protect structures or property used in
    developing a claim. Ingersolt v. Scott, 13 Ariz 165, 108 P 460 (1910).
  9. Drilling and removal of samples from a mining claim. Eveleigh v. Darneille, 81 Cal Reptr 301 (Cal App 1969).

Examples of Work or Improvements That Do Not Qualify As Annual Labor on a Mining Claim

  1. Removal
    of water from a mine for inspection of prospective buyer. Evalina Gold
    Mining Co. v. Yosemite Gold Mine Co., 15 Cal App 714, 115 P 946 (1911).
  2. Erection
    of a house outside the boundaries of a claim for the shelter of miners.
    Remington v. Baudit, 6 Mont 138, 9 P 819 (1886).
  3. Eating utensils, groceries, and bedding. Fredricks v. Klauser, 52 Or 110, 96 P 679 (1908).
  4. Amount paid for horses used in development work; however value of their use will qualify. Id.
  5. Payment for iron rails or tools, but their value in developing the mine may qualify. Id.
  6. Material taken to a claim but not used. Id.
  7. Sampling and assaying. Bishop v. Baisley, 28 Or 119, 41 P936 (1895).
  8. Reconnaissance surveys of mining claims. Pinkerton v. Moore, 66 NM 11, 340 P2d 844 (1959).
  9. Use
    of a claim to deposit wastes from other claims and building a flume to
    carry tailings to claim. Jackson v. Roby, 109 US 440 (1883).
  10. Employment
    of a watchman to prevent relocation. Justice Mining Co. v. Barclay, 82 F
    554 (CC Nev 1897); or where there is no valuable improvement or
    machinery to protect. James v. Krook, 42 Ariz 322, 25 P2d 1026 (1933). 

Access Roads and Qualifies

construction of access roads as well as improvement of existing access
roads qualifies as assessment work, even though the road is not on the
claims. For example, the cost of installation of water bars on an
existing road to prevent erosion and reduce the need to rehabilitate or
maintain the road is sufficient improvement to qualify as assessment
work. United States v Herr, 130 IBLA 349, 365-65 (1994).

#9 Work that will qualify  and # 7 work that will not qualify.  May need another court case to sort that out as far as sampling is concerned.


I think the biggest problem you would have, is if someone wants your claim for themselves, but not so much by the BLM.

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