Following the boom of mineral discoveries in the west such as the California Gold Rush, the General Mining Act of 1872 was passed by President Ulysses S. Grant to promote settlement and natural resource development in the west. Despite outdated terms, such as charging claimants a “mineral patent” to mine land at no more than $5 per acre, this law continues to govern mineral exploration and extraction in the U.S. today.
SEC. 2319. All valuable mineral deposits in lands belonging to the United States, both surveyed and unsurveyed, are hereby declared to be free and open to exploration and purchase… Click here for the full text of the 1872 Mining Act
Articles and Reports about the Mining Act
- “1872 Mining Law 101,” Earthworks
- “The General Mining Act of 1872 has left a legacy of riches and ruin,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer
- “The Mining Law of 1872: Digging a Little Deeper,” Property and Environment Research Center
- “1872 Mining Law Is Obsolete and in Need of Reform,” Huffington Post