Back to Publications

Coownership of Mining Property and Mining Partnerships

James K. Groves, Proceedings of 2nd Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1956)

Considered here are partnerships, cotenancies, joint adventures and grubstaking. Initially a word of warning is given: The law books just mentioned are reasonably good on these subjects until one enters the realm of mining operation by less than all cotenantsthen watch out! In the last realm, statements may or may not be supported by the citations and, more particularly, may or may not be true in the state in which you are interested. It is for this reason that I have devoted roughly the last third of this paper to operation of property by less than all owners thereof and go into somewhat more detail than is the case with the subjects treated earlier.


California has a mining partnership statute which has been adopted in large part by Idaho, Montana and Nevada.1

Generally, these statutes are a statement of the judicial decisions prior to their adoption and reflect the decisions in the remaining western states which do not have such statutes.2 Quoting from the statutes:

A mining partnership exists when two or more persons who own or acquire a mining claim for the purpose of working it and extracting the mineral therefrom actually engage in working the claim.3

No express agreement is necessary. Assume that Able owns a mining claim, wants to work it, needs capital to do so, and makes an oral arrangement with Baker wh