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Basic Problems in Locating Claims

H. Stanley Dempsey, Proceedings of 14th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1968)

Today the acquisition of land for mining and related purposes is a big business. Changes in exploration and mining technology, together with changes in the attitudes of government land managing agencies, have caused miners and mining companies to engage in extensive and complicated land programs of a type which usually would have been unnecessary during the early days of mining.

Modern hard minerals exploration is directed, primarily, to the discovery of large ore bodies.1 Extensive land positions are acquired in areas where exploration success seems likely. When an ore body is found, land requirements are determined early, and acquisition precedes or is accomplished concurrently with development. Many hundreds or thousands of acres may be required for protection of the title to the mineral deposit, subsidence areas, pit slopes, concentrator sites, tailing disposal areas, and the lands needed for other mining and related [574] facilities.2 The piecemeal acquisition of land to accommodate an ever-expanding mine typical of an earlier era has now given way to land planning based upon optimum production for a given time from a well-defined ore body.

In order to accomplish the large scale land programs which are now required, the mining industry has of late developed a corps of specialists in land work, called landmen. In some cases the landman is a lawyer, in oth