United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Aug 11, 2022
All entries made and patents issued under the provisions of this subchapter shall be subject to and contain a reservation to the United States of all the coal and other minerals in the lands so entered and patented, together with the right to prospect for, mine, and remove the same. The coal and other mineral deposits in such lands shall be subject to disposal by the United States in accordance with the provisions of the coal and mineral land laws in force at the time of such disposal. Any person qualified to locate and enter the coal or other mineral deposits, or having the right to mine and remove the same under the laws of the United States, shall have the right at all times to enter upon the lands entered or patented, as provided by this subchapter, for the purpose of prospecting for coal or other mineral therein, provided he shall not injure, damage, or destroy the permanent improvements of the entryman or patentee, and shall be liable to and shall compensate the entryman or patentee for all damages to the crops on such lands by reason of such prospecting. Any person who has acquired from the United States the coal or other mineral deposits in any such land, or the right to mine and remove the same, may reenter and occupy so much of the surface thereof as may be required for all purposes reasonably incident to the mining or removal of the coal or other minerals, first, upon securing the written consent or waiver of the homestead entryman or patentee; second, upon payment of the damages to crops or other tangible improvements to the owner thereof, where agreement may be had as to the amount thereof; or, third, in lieu of either of the foregoing provisions, upon the execution of a good and sufficient bond or undertaking to the United States for the use and benefit of the entryman or owner of the land, to secure the payment of such damages to the crops or tangible improvements of the entryman or owner, as may be determined and fixed in an action brought upon the bond or undertaking in a court of competent jurisdiction against the principal and sureties thereon, such bond or undertaking to be in form and in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior and to be filed with and approved by the officer designated by the Secretary of the Interior of the local land office of the district wherein the land is situate, subject to appeal to the Secretary of the Interior or such officer as he may designate: Provided, That all patents issued for the coal or other mineral deposits herein reserved shall contain appropriate notations declaring them to be subject to the provisions of this subchapter with reference to the disposition, occupancy, and use of the land as permitted to an entryman under this subchapter.
The total acreage covered at any time by notices of intention to locate a mining claim under paragraph (2) filed by any person and by affiliates of such person may not exceed 6,400 acres of lands subject to this subchapter in any one State and 1,280 acres of such lands for a single surface owner. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “affiliate” means, with respect to any person, any other person which controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with, such person.
Notwithstanding subsection (a) and any other provision of law, after the effective date of this subsection no person may engage in the conduct of mineral activities (other than those relating to exploration referred to in subsection (b)(1)B)) 1
The Secretary shall authorize a person to conduct mineral activities (other than those relating to exploration referred to in subsection (b)(1)(B)) on lands subject to this subchapter without the consent of the surface owner thereof if such person complies with the requirements of subsections (e) and (f).
Lands affected by mineral activities under a plan of operations approved pursuant to subsection (f)(3) shall be reclaimed, to the maximum extent practicable, to a condition capable of supporting the uses to which such lands were capable of supporting prior to surface disturbance. Reclamation shall proceed as contemporaneously as practicable with the conduct of mineral activities.
Should any surface owner of land subject to this subchapter have reason to believe that they are or may be adversely affected by mineral activities due to any violation of the terms and conditions of a plan of operations approved under subsection (f), such surface owner may request an inspection of such lands. The Secretary shall determine within 10 days of the receipt of the request whether the request states a reason to believe that a violation exists, except in the event the surface owner alleges and provides reason to believe that an imminent danger exists, the 10-day period shall be waived and the inspection conducted immediately. When an inspection is conducted under this paragraph, the Secretary shall notify the surface owner and such surface owner shall be allowed to accompany the inspector on the inspection.
The surface owner of any land subject to this subchapter may petition the Secretary for payment of all or any portion of a bond or other financial guarantee required under subsection (e) as compensation for any permanent damages to crops and tangible improvements of the surface owner, or any permanent loss of income due to loss or impairment of grazing, or other uses of the land by the surface owner. Pursuant to such a petition, the Secretary may use such bond or other guarantee to provide compensation to the surface owner for such damages and to insure the required reclamation.
The Secretary shall release the bond or other financial guarantee required under subsection (e) upon the successful completion of all requirements pursuant to a plan of operations approved under subsection (f).
The Secretary shall take such actions as may be necessary to simplify the procedures which must be complied with by surface owners of lands subject to this subchapter who apply to the Secretary to obtain title to interests in such lands owned by the United States.