Nugget Wranglers
Quartzsite, Arizona

How to File Your Own Claim 

Below is a step by step guide that will give you everything you need to know about filing your own gold claim.  Be advised that this is for a sample claim in La Paz County, Arizona.  All steps are basically the same, but obliviously phone numbers and addresses will be different.

Step 1: Find some gold!

                The first (and usually the hardest) step is to find an area you wish to make a claim on.

Step 1.5: Be aware of time constraints!

                Recordation of mining claims and sites must be recorded with BOTH the county recorder's office as well as the BLM State Office.

Arizona's deadlines for locations are:

Lode Claims - 3 months to monument, claim, and record location certificate with the county.
Placer Claims - 30 days to monument, claim, and record location certificate with the county.
ALL Claims And Sites - 90 days form date of location to record claims with the BLM State Office.

Step 2: Verify that the area you wish to claim is open.

                This used to be easier with the LR2000 Web site by the BLM, as it allowed you to check the status of an area by yourself thru the internet.  The Link was National Integrated Land Systems, but has been down for months due to BLM information access concerns.   Before you mark out (Locate) your claim, you must determine if the lands are, in fact, open to location. You can find this out at any BLM office. No claims can be staked in areas closed to mineral entry under certain acts, regulations, or public land orders (referred to as withdrawn lands).  The BLM State Offices and Field Offices have appropriate land and mineral status maps and records for you to make this determination, and they are readily available for your inspection. On lands open to location (claim), you may prospect and properly locate claims and sites.  Most State Offices maintain a record of these locations on microfiche. They are available by geographic index, serial number index, claim name index, and claimant's index. The district offices also have geographic and claimant indices for your use.

Step 3: Mark out (Locate) the claim

                If your spot is open to claim, the next step is staking out the boundaries.   Federal law specifies that claim boundaries must be distinctly and clearly marked to be readily identifiable.  But each individual state statues have more detailed requirements for marking boundaries.   These generally consist of a 3' tall mound of rocks containing a center post at each corner of the claim, with a copy of the final AMC stamped claim form in a container on the appropriate post.  For specific state requirements contact the local BLM State Office.


Step 4: Do the paper work

                Hopefully at this point you have done some GPS research as well as drawn out your claim on a GOOD TOPO map.  My favorite GPS and maps are both from DeLorme and have always proven to be very accurate.

These are the blank forms you need:

BLM Forms (PDF Format) (Click Get Adobe Reader for free viewer)



How your completed claim form should look:

Placer Claim Worksheet
Placer Claim Map
Placer Claim Association Information
(you make your own of this if needed)

Step 5: Double check availability and file with the county

                Proceed to the county recorders office in the county in which you wish to file.  For La Paz County its:

La Paz County
Recorders Office
1112 Joshua Avenue Suite 201
Parker, Az. 85344

                You can double check now and make for certain nothing changed since you originally checked the claim status.  If all is OK, Give them a check and they will send a stamped copy of your claim to you when it has been recorded.

Step 6: File with the state BLM Main Office

            You do NOT need to wait for your county paper to come back to you before you file with the States Main BLM Office.  This must be done within  90 days from date of discovery of your gold.  Printout or photocopy another set of claim paperwork and mail it with a check for $165 to:

Bureau Of Land Management
Arizona State Office
Phelps Dodge Tower
1 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, Az. 85004-2203

               To help speed a copy of your paper work back to you, you will want to enclose a self addressed stamped envelope, also I sent another check for $1 to pay for any copy costs.  I don't know if it was necessary, but I had the completed claim back in my hands within the SAME week I sent it.  The return receipt from the post office arrived 3 days after the actual claim.

You are now the proud owner of your own Gold Mining Claim & your very own AMC#. 


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