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New rules for hunting meteorites
Woody
post Oct 15 2012, 08:16 AM
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Looks like the Feds are stepping up and placing restrictions on collecting meteorites. I recognize the interest and benefit science might have but the way I interpret this means more regulations placed on our public lands and activities. This might be a bit of a rant on my part but I hate all these rules and regulations on our public lands. I am reminded about the last time I was in the California N.F. I wanted to spend a couple of days in the back country camping. I found out that I needed a permit in order to even have a campfire. Here is another extreme, I was in Germany a few years ago and got an annual fishing license. It cost about 100$. However, if you actually wanted to use it you had to go down to the county court house before the last business day, and pay an additional cost for each and every day you planned on fishing. It was about 10$ extra per day.

This kind of suggest the same thing, you can’t go out hunting meteorites unless you buy a permit.



http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/10/15/...intcmp=features


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CP
post Oct 16 2012, 08:43 AM
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Thanks for posting up that article Woody, that's definately something we should all be aware of. Unfortunately the reporter and or the writers of this new bill do not understand who owns the BLM and FS lands! This new restriction can not be legal nor should/will it get anywhere in court, for instance.....for current claim owners, would this mean that now the gov has some "claim" to your surface or subsurface material/deposits?
ABSOLUTELY NOT!!
As stated in the article, it's always been that meteorites belong to the land owner where they landed. Clearly then if they gov does not own the lands (they do not!) then obviously they can not claim ownership of meteorites that landed in FS or BLM land.

This will make a great discussion point/example for the winter seminars as well. I'll definately be using this as an example along with many others to demonstrate how we need to educate ourselves at the individual level because the media, the gov and many citizens are lost concerning the leagal "ownership" of our land or even their own private lands!

What really sucks is if this new bill passes, then its yet another completely illegally written and passed "law" that will then need to abolished through court proceedings by an individual or small group who likely will not want to pay for or endure the ordeal in court!

On a side note......guess Germany is not the best fishing destination? fishing1.gif


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russau
post Oct 17 2012, 05:41 AM
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Dan just to clarify what you commented on, there isnt ANY BLM/FS land! its public domain land. and we have a Constitutional RIGHT to prospect/mine it! like you were saying, its our land and the BLM/FS/COE/etc. just manage it for us! yes these laws are (to me) illeagle as all get out! maybe a change in our socalled "representatives" in Washington D.C. will correct this problem. there has been a big push to get all they can now before election time because "they" know itll be all they get! Ken Salazr even told these departments to do what they need to do, even bypass Congress own actions, just to get it done! so much for the will of the people!
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ASTROBLEME
post Oct 23 2012, 11:36 AM
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Everyone,

This matter concerns me greatly, so I've contacted the Washington Office of BLM. Here is the correspondence as it may be helpful to others that are interested...

-----Original Message-----
From: Johnny Tonko [mailto:johnny.tonko@meteoritecrater.com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 10:54 AM
To: Kuizon, Lucia
Cc: Jenks, Frank M
Subject: Collection of Meteorite Derived Minerals on Public Lands

For clarification, when a meteorite is destroyed by impact into the earth,
it is no longer considered a meteorite. Therefore, tektite gems,
fall-back breccias and impactite specimens are not subject to the
limitations put forth in the Instruction Memorandum No. 2012-182.

Please clarify this matter to your Washington Office and Field Office
Officials.

Sincerely,

Johnny Tonko
President
Tonko Mining Company Inc.
www.meteoritecrater.com


RESPONSE


From: Kuizon, Lucia <lkuizon@blm.gov>
To: Johnny Tonko <johnny.tonko@meteoritecrater.com>
Cc: Jenks, Frank M <fjenks@blm.gov>
Subject: RE: Collection of Meteorite Derived Minerals on Public Lands
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2012 06:52:48 -0600

Dear Mr. Tonko.

Thank you for the information on meteorites. I agree, that if there is
absolutely no meteorite material remaining after an impact event, then the
meteorite is totally destroyed and no extraterrestrial material remains.
However, if earth materials are altered by a meteorite impact, such as the
creation of tektites and other impactites, then these materials are still
earth materials that are subject to the appropriate public land laws,
either the mineral materials or other mining laws, or the Federal Land
Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). In that case, the casual collecting
policy under 43 CFR 8365.1-5 would still apply for hobby collecting of
common rock and mineral specimens in accordance with FLPMA. The mining and
material laws would apply for commercial collection; and the Antiquities
Act would still apply for scientific collecting of altered materials for
research purposes.

I hope this note helps clarify the status of these altered earth
materials.

Sincerely,
Lucy Kuizon

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lucy Kuizon
BLM National Paleontologist
Retiring Nov. 1, 2012.
Future contact is your regional paleontologist at:
http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/CRM/...y/contacts.html
202-912-7253
lkuizon@blm.gov
FedEx Address: 20 M Street SE Room 2134LM
Attn: Lucia Kuizon, WS-5241, 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20003
http://www.blm.gov/paleontology
http://blm.gov/tdkd
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




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"Some day this crater is going to be a greatly talked about place, and if the above credit is due, as is certainly the case, I would like to have it generally known for the sake of the children." Daniel Moreau Barringer 2/1/1912 in a letter about the Barringer Meteorite Crater, Arizona USA
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swizz
post Oct 25 2012, 08:40 AM
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Great letter Johnny.
The response however seems to be a continuation of misunderstanding and further justification for their "permitting" if I deciphered it correctly.
She breaks down 'collection' into three categories: "Commercial", "Scientific", and "Hobby"... stating different laws for each?
Then she uses the term "extra-terrestrial material".
She acknowledges materials altered by impact as being "earth materials" and I assume.... this is what she interpreted your letter to be in reference to.
She is stating... if the meteorite is vaporized upon impact then that's the end of it. BUT if fragments of the meteorite are present after impact... these pieces are considered a "meteorite" and subject to their new permitting attempt? You indirectly state that the fragments of the meteorite are no longer a "meteorite" after impact? Now I'm thoroughly confused.

I would have expected a more educated response from DC on this. I don't think it will fly. Last thing I want is someone with a 'meteorite permit' poking around my claim saying it is an "extraterrestrial material"... "not a mineral" and their right by Federal Permit to search my claim. Something's rotten in Denmark USA.

Curious to see where this goes.

I moved this up to "Prospecting and Mining Laws, Regulations" category, hope y'all don't mind. I think it's of great importance.


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EMac
post Aug 16 2016, 10:37 AM
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Keep in mind this lady was a paleontologist who was retiring 8 days after sending that email. I doubt her opinion carries much weight even if the meteorite hit some dinosaur bones.

The BLM direction came from the Assistant Director of Renewable Resources and Planning. The current position is filled by Mike Tupper. I suspect anyone wanting to refute this direction would have to take it up with him, or to court.



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Gene Kooper
post Aug 16 2016, 05:53 PM
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I must admit that I am baffled at some of the 2012 comments in this thread. I've seen the same statements made in other threads. In particular the red text in this statement, "there isnt ANY BLM/FS land! its public domain land. and we have a Constitutional RIGHT to prospect/mine it". No where in the Constitution can there be found any mention of an individual's right to prospect or mine the Public Lands.

Prior to the Constitution, the Land Ordinance Act of 1785 was passed by the United States Congress of the Confederation in part to pay the Revolutionary War veterans with land in the Ohio Territory. The Constitution does authorize Congress to enact legislation to dispose of and/or manage the Public Lands. The various legislative acts authorize the Executive branch to administer the disposal and management of the Public Lands including promulgating regulations. For example, the General Land Office took over the duties previously assigned to the U.S. Treasury Dept. in 1812. Congress passed many land disposal acts (esp. in the 1800s). They were very interested in developing the natural resources of the Public Lands. Examples are acts that authorized cash entry, preemption, homestead entry, desert land entry, mineral entry, timber culture, stock raising homestead entry, etc. They basically did everything they could to get rid of the Public Lands, including surveying the land prior to sale; what we all call the Public Lands Survey System. My grandparents acquired land in Nebraska through the homesteading acts.

One of the unwritten rights to real property that surveyors deal with is adverse possession. It is well known that the United States Public Lands cannot be adversely possessed. To support this, here is a cite to United States v. California, 332 U.S. 19, 39-40 (1947) which states,

QUOTE
The Government, which holds its interests here as elsewhere in trust for all the people, is not to be deprived of those interests by the ordinary court rules designed particularly for private disputes over individually owned pieces of property; and officers who have no authority at all to dispose of Government property cannot by their conduct cause the Government to lose its valuable rights by their acquiescence, laches, or failure to act.

My reason for emphasizing this is that the United States holds its ownership of the Public Lands in trust for "We the People". However, that doesn't mean that I get to go and arbitrarily occupy a portion of the Public Lands and call it mine. The nitwits that occupied Malheur Wildlife Refuge last winter are now facing the consequences of their misunderstanding of this principle.

As I said above, no where in the U.S. Constitution is there language that provides any right to prospect or mine the Public Lands. The Act of July 26, 1866 is the first legislation that allowed for the possessory right to locatable minerals and obtaining a patent. It wasn't limited to U.S. citizens. An alien could stake and hold a mining claim as long as they actively sought to become a citizen. Before they obtained a patent they had to be a naturalized citizen. The patent application for a mining claim included a form that affirmed that the applicant was a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization. The General Land Office was also authorized to promulgate regulations regarding the disposal of mineral lands.

One of the reasons that I posted the thread on mining laws and regulations was to show that the laws and rulz changed over time. For example, if my ancestor filed a placer claim for petroleum in 1918 and that placer claim was maintained for the last 98 years, then I not only have the right to the oil and gas, I can also exclude anyone from entering, camping, grazing, etc. on that claim. My ancestor's rights cannot be restricted by legislation and/or regulations enacted or implemented after the right was acquired. Now, should I have a lapse in memory and fail to pay my annual maintenance fee by Sept. 1, I have nothing. I cannot restake the placer for petroleum since the 1920 Mineral Leasing Act would be in effect. I cannot forbid multiple use on the claim as FLPMA and Public Law 167 would also be in effect.

I'm sure others here will disagree with my statements. Great! I look forward to a discussion on the merits of our differing opinions. Then maybe we can discuss whether mineral specimens are included in the current definition of a locatable mineral. My impression is that they are not locatable minerals.
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Gene Kooper
post Aug 16 2016, 09:50 PM
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QUOTE (EMac @ Aug 16 2016, 11:37 AM) *
Keep in mind this lady was a paleontologist who was retiring 8 days after sending that email. I doubt her opinion carries much weight even if the meteorite hit some dinosaur bones.

The BLM direction came from the Assistant Director of Renewable Resources and Planning. The current position is filled by Mike Tupper. I suspect anyone wanting to refute this direction would have to take it up with him, or to court.

I'm surprised her answer wasn't, "Sorry, but the BLM doesn't provide legal opinions". BLM staff are usually very careful to not say anything that might be construed as legal advice, including how the BLM may classify a geologic "deposit".

Last year a client inquired about how to stake an old waste pile. He was interested in reprocessing the tailings. The question came up as to whether it should be staked as a lode (the tailings came from a nearby underground mine) or as a placer (the tailings are not longer in situ). I called the BLM and talked to a mineral examiner and the first thing they said is that they cannot provide legal advice. I told them that I wasn't interested in their opinion on how to file the claim, but rather what guidelines the BLM uses to assess various types of ore deposits as being placer or lode. They still wouldn't respond, but did provide me with contact info to a BLM geologist. That person never returned my calls.

My client decided to postpone filing a location cert. He is considering following Terry Maley's suggestion in his "Mineral Law" book to stake the tailings pile first as a lode claim and then as a placer claim.
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EMac
post Aug 16 2016, 10:56 PM
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I'm still reading through the previous literature you've provided, so, for now, I'm focused on your previous post's last question. My first stop was to try and find where "locatable mineral" is used in actual legal text. Unfortunately the pdfs you provided previously aren't searchable, and some quick searching was relatively fruitless. I'll continue eating that elephant one bite at a time.

What I did find on Colorado's BLM page was a fairly broad definition that ostensibly includes mineral specimens:
QUOTE
The federal law governing locatable minerals is the General Mining Law of 1872 (May 10, 1872), which declared all valuable mineral deposits belonging to the United States ... to be free and open to citizens of the United States to explore for, discover, and purchase.

Mineral deposits subject to acquisition in this manner are generally referred to as “locatable minerals.” Locatable minerals include metallic minerals (gold, silver, lead, copper, zinc, nickel, etc.), nonmetallic minerals (fluorspar, mica, certain limestones and gypsum, tantalum, heavy minerals in placer form and gemstones) and certain uncommon variety minerals. It is very difficult to prepare a complete list of locatable minerals because the history of the law has resulted in a definition of minerals that includes economics.


While we're talking about meteorites in this thread, the term mineral specimens seemingly encompasses a wider-variety of types and origins, including gold and crystals as well as meteorites. This gives me an interesting homework assignment; when using "mineral specimen" are you referring chiefly to meteorites, or broader minerals such as smokey quartz, aquamarine, gold, silver, etc.?

I appreciate the food for thought!


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Gene Kooper
post Aug 17 2016, 12:10 PM
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QUOTE
The federal law governing locatable minerals is the General Mining Law of 1872 (May 10, 1872), which declared all valuable mineral deposits belonging to the United States ... to be free and open to citizens of the United States to explore for, discover, and purchase.

Mineral deposits subject to acquisition in this manner are generally referred to as “locatable minerals.” Locatable minerals include metallic minerals (gold, silver, lead, copper, zinc, nickel, etc.), nonmetallic minerals (fluorspar, mica, certain limestones and gypsum, tantalum, heavy minerals in placer form and gemstones) and certain uncommon variety minerals. It is very difficult to prepare a complete list of locatable minerals because the history of the law has resulted in a definition of minerals that includes economics.

EMac,

My impression is based on economics. The 1872 Mining Law states that one can make a claim to, "all valuable mineral deposits" on the Public Lands open to mineral entry. I previously posted a reference by Don Sherwood entitled, "Mineral Discovery: Is the Prudent Man Test Dead". I am not able to provide a copy of his article that was published by the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation in 1998 because it is copyrighted. The old standard was the prudent man test; that being, would a prudent man expend the time, effort and money to develop the mineral deposit.

Today the BLM uses a pure economic test to evaluate whether a valid discovery has been made. Among other things this is subject to the price of the mineral at the time of the BLM's evaluation. Fluctuating metals prices could mean that the discovery of valuable mineral occulates between valid and invalid depending on when the evaluation was made. Other considerations would be if the land is more valuable as agricultural land, timber, etc.

I believe it would be very difficult to show the BLM that a valuable mineral deposit had been found based solely on the value of the mineral as a collectible specimen. I am excluding from my definition of mineral specimens those that also have value as gemstones (includes lapiadary). In other words, the monetary value of the mineral specimen is based only on its collectable value.

The collectible value of mineral specimens is mostly based on the unique qualities (such as the crystal habit, twinning, mineral assemblages, color and aesthetics) and condition of the specimen. You may have a very rare and unique mineral, but collecting it as large plates without damaging the crystals can be very difficult. Assessing market value to mineral specimens before extraction is a slippery slope. One that the BLM may not be willing to take.

BTW....this is only my impression. Since there is a moratorium on patents for mineral lands, the BLM won't likely be evaluating the economics of your mineral specimen mining claim. The only time that I've noticed that the BLM will make such an evaluation is when the land is being considered for removal from the Public Lands open to mineral entry. They often will conduct evaluations of unpatented mining claims to see if the claimant has met all of the requirements under the mining laws and regulation and that a valid discovery of a valuable mineral deposit has been met. Who knows though. The popularity of the TV show "Prospectors" might trigger enough folks to go out and make thorough messes searching for crystals that the BLM decides to take action.

I don't see the BLM creating a new policy that disqualifies mineral specimens from the definition of valuable mineral deposit. I'm just saying that my interpretation suggests that non-gemstone mineral specimens are not a locatable mineral under the current mining laws and regulations. Others interpretation of the law will differ from mine. I also don't think that mineral specimens would be regarded as "certain uncommon variety minerals" because the only situations that I've seen this applied to heavily weighs economic considerations. A few years ago patents were issued for some placer claims that contained a sandstone with unique qualities. Ordinarily building stone is not a locatable mineral, but in this instance the porosity of the sandstone made it uniquely valuable. It is crushed and used as a subbase for golf courses because its high moisture retention reduces the amount of irrigation water.
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Clay Diggins
post Aug 17 2016, 01:33 PM
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That non-binding BLM policy Instruction Memorandum about meteorite collecting expired in September 2013. There are no regulations or court decisions about the ownership of meteorites on public land. There is however a rather large body of law on the recovery of valuable minerals left by meteorites - we call that mining.

All the minerals on earth were accreted from outer space. Making distinctions about just when those minerals landed here is pretty futile. What the BLM did with their brief memorandum was to continue to classify meteorite collecting with other types of mineral collecting. Collecting of mineral material from the public lands is a regulated activity unrelated to mining of valuable minerals. The regulations for collecting meteorite specimens is no different than collecting agates or any other interesting rock you might find on the public lands.

There obviously is a crossover point where meteorite materials may become a valuable mineral deposit. This is not about the source or age of the meteorite material but rather about whether the deposit can be shown to be a "valuable mineral" under the mining acts.

I'm not just speculating here. One of the foremost mining engineers and mining lawyers in American history proved, claimed, mined and received mineral patents totaling 640 acres to a meteorite deposit. Daniel Moureau Barringer mined tons of nickle rich iron as well as very rare Moissanite from his placer claims on Coon Butte. Today the official name is Berringer Crater but it's better known as simply Meteor Crater.

Obviously it is possible to claim, mine and receive patent to land where sufficient concentrated meteorite metal deposits are found. Simple collecting of scattered meteorite material does not amount to a valuable mineral deposit under the law so it is regulated just like rock or specimen collecting.
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EMac
post Aug 17 2016, 01:44 PM
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Gene -

I have a knee-jerk opinion, but I'm seeking to refine it through study. My opinion is that rejection/voiding of claims based on the types minerals folks here are mining doesn't appear to be an issue today, but it's certainly something to be aware of. Perhaps if someone was holding claims as a blocking maneuver, and not working them, they might have more cause for concern.

I'm reviewing this precedent setting case now: US vs Coleman. I'm focused on some facts of the case and what the intent is with the decision. My summary (meaning I could have misinterpreted some aspects): Coleman's patent application to mine quartzite as a building material on 720 acres outside Los Angeles was rejected by the Secretary of the Interior (SOI). At some point he built a home on the 720 acres, and the government filed suit in District Court to have him ejected when he wouldn't leave. Coleman countered with a suit seeking issuance of the patent that was previously rejected. The District court supported the SOI's decision, and it was subsequently overturned by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Supreme Court then took up the case and sided with the District Court and SOI, overturning the Appeals Court decision.

My opinion is this was a clear-cut case of abusing the intent of the law to gain personal property with no intention of conducting mining activities. I derive this opinion quoting the Supreme Court opinion:
QUOTE
The obvious intent was to reward and encourage the discovery of minerals that are valuable in an economic sense. Minerals which no prudent man will extract because there is no demand for them at a price higher than the cost of extraction and transportation are hardly economically valuable. Thus, profitability is an important consideration in applying the prudent-man test, and the [390 U.S. 599, 603] marketability test which the Secretary has used here merely recognizes this fact.

QUOTE
The marketability test also has the advantage of throwing light on a claimant's intention, a matter which is inextricably bound together with valuableness. For evidence that a mineral deposit is not of economic value and cannot in all likelihood be operated at a profit may well suggest that a claimant seeks the land for other purposes. Indeed, as the Government points out, the facts of this case - the thousands of dollars and hours spent building a home on 720 acres in a highly scenic national forest located two hours from Los Angeles, the lack of an economically feasible market for the stone, and the immense quantities of identical stone found in the area outside the claims - might well be thought to raise a substantial question as to respondent Coleman's real intention.


I don't disagree with your points, and can envision scenarios where the case isn't so clearly defined as with Coleman. This is where additional case law would be helpful to see if they've refined the economic tests further since Coleman. The cases I've found so far deal with patents.

Osborne vs Hammit is similar in character to the Coleman case.

I found Clear Gravel Enterprises vs Keil, which is markedly different than Coleman in that the decision appears to be based off the number of sand/gravel claims already approved in conjunction with the limited market:
QUOTE
While the marketability of the mineral could have been demonstrated by the Appellant by a showing of its accessibility, its proximity to the market, the demand for it and by the Appellant's bona fide efforts to develop the claims and compete in the market with the product extracted from those claims, nonetheless, the record demonstrates that Appellant's evidence fell far short of the required showing. Instead, the evidence indicates that although Appellant had between 1952 and no later than 1956 leased all sixteen claims to the second largest sand and gravel-producing company in the area, that company had mined but one of those claims, and the one being mined was neither of the two claims here involved.

QUOTE
Of particular significance is the obvious fact appearing from the record that the quantity of Appellant's other sand and gravel holdings in the area, when combined with the state of the market, were such as to deter the Appellant from expending money and effort to extract and market the sand and gravel from the claims in question from the time of location in 1946 until approximately 1963. In fact, the lack of development of the claims were such that as of July 23, 1955, the Appellant had not even constructed a road to them.


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EMac
post Aug 17 2016, 03:25 PM
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QUOTE (Clay Diggins @ Aug 17 2016, 02:33 PM) *
That non-binding BLM policy Instruction Memorandum about meteorite collecting expired in September 2013. There are no regulations or court decisions about the ownership of meteorites on public land. There is however a rather large body of law on the recovery of valuable minerals left by meteorites - we call that mining.
Good catch...I didn't see the expiration date on it.

QUOTE
I'm not just speculating here. One of the foremost mining engineers and mining lawyers in American history proved, claimed, mined and received mineral patents totaling 640 acres to a meteorite deposit. Daniel Moureau Barringer mined tons of nickle rich iron as well as very rare Moissanite from his placer claims on Coon Butte. Today the official name is Berringer Crater but it's better known as simply Meteor Crater.
I'm not certain you're comparing apples to apples here. The patent issued to Standard Iron Company was in 1903. In 1906 and again in 1909 Barringer and Tilghman presented their arguments to the Academy of Natural Sciences (link), but the theory wasn't accepted until the 1960s when Shoemaker demonstrated the crater was similar in structure to nuclear weapons tests craters (presence of coesite: link). Barringer estimated he could turn his $500k investment into a $250M profit by mining what he estimated to be 10M tons of iron from the meteorite. It would be hard to argue the patent was issued for meteorite specimens when it took the scientific community another 4 decades to accept the theory.

QUOTE
One writer said of Barringer’s 1909 address to the National Academy of Sciences at Princeton: “[S]ome persons could scarcely conceal their derisive thoughts. Nevertheless… Barringer ploughed through his paper, painful though it must have been for him, until he completed it.”
(Source)

I can't find any comparable, modern meteorite cases, much less one where someone is looking to mine a meteorite impact for the intrinsic value of the meteorite material (i.e. smelt it down to sell as iron as Barringer intended) vs as a collectible specimen. I would argue, just like Barringer experienced, that anyone seeking to mine a meteorite impact for intrinsic material value would be even more hard pressed to pass the prudent man test much less the valuable mineral test. It's not until we consider the collector value of the meteorite samples that we start to broach that crossover you mention. This is what I interpret to be the crux of Gene's challenge: are collectors' specimens locatable minerals? It's an interesting question to ponder, particularly in the economic light in which Gene presents the question. For instance just a few weeks ago at an outing we were discussing the value of the goethite specimen Colin found, and the figures lobbed out had an $18k range.

My desire seems to be aligned with yours: that any future legal challenges as to whether meteorites constitute locatable minerals go the way of the claiming miner(s). I think solid arguments can be made, but I lack your confidence absent suitable case law. Similar arguments can be made for dinosaur bones, for instance...

There is some case law on meteorites (Old Woman Meteorite, Goddard v Winchell), but these don't deal with mining claims.

QUOTE
Obviously it is possible to claim, mine and receive patent to land where sufficient concentrated meteorite metal deposits are found. Simple collecting of scattered meteorite material does not amount to a valuable mineral deposit under the law so it is regulated just like rock or specimen collecting.
Securing a patent in today's age won't happen until they lift the moratorium on land patents; if they do, submitting the application will likely reopen the discussion. My opinion is that it's a very grey area, even without land patents, just waiting for some brave, unfortunate soul to take up the mantle in court (I also suspect not by choice).

Edit: fixed grammar and readability


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Gene Kooper
post Aug 17 2016, 04:07 PM
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QUOTE (Clay Diggins @ Aug 17 2016, 02:33 PM) *
I'm not just speculating here. One of the foremost mining engineers and mining lawyers in American history proved, claimed, mined and received mineral patents totaling 640 acres to a meteorite deposit. Daniel Moureau Barringer mined tons of nickle rich iron as well as very rare Moissanite from his placer claims on Coon Butte. Today the official name is Berringer Crater but it's better known as simply Meteor Crater.

Yes, as EMac stated, 640 acres were patented to the Standard Iron Co in 1903. I attached a copy of the patent below.

Attached File  CDI_93182.PDF ( 1.17MB ) Number of downloads: 3

As an additional wrinkle to this discussion, please note that the four claims that were patented are the Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn Placers. As you say Daniel Moreau Barringer was a mining attorney who with John Stokes Adams wrote the mining treatise, "The Law of Mines and Mining in the United States" (1st vol. 1897; reprinted in 1900 and 2nd supplemental vol. 1911). Here is the Google Book download link to Volume 1. Interesting to say the least that Barringer decided to claim the "deposit" with four placer claims. Below is a link to the plat that shows four open cuts (discoveries for the four placer locations) and three tunnels. Also, another oddity for EMac: Please note that although the four placers are each 160-acre association placers a mineral survey was required because the public lands survey had not been extended to this area yet. All four placer claims are tied to United States Location Monument No. 1806. Something odd happened early on in the public lands surveys in this area because there is a half Range (Meteor Crater is presently located in Secs. 13 and 24, T. 19 N., R 12½ E. of the Gila - Salt River Principal Meridian).

Mineral Sur. No. 1806 - Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn Placers

QUOTE (Clay Diggins @ Aug 17 2016, 02:33 PM) *
Obviously it is possible to claim, mine and receive patent to land where sufficient concentrated meteorite metal deposits are found. Simple collecting of scattered meteorite material does not amount to a valuable mineral deposit under the law so it is regulated just like rock or specimen collecting.

To add to your reply, the patent was issued in 1903. Standard Iron Co. did not have to catagorize the mineral deposit as coming from a meteor or that it was economic. They only had to meet the minimum requirement of having made $500 in mining improvements to obtain the patent. As an aside: The minimum of $500 in mining improvements was usually included in the approved survey's field notes and certified by the U.S. Dep. Mineral Surveyor in the old days. For cases where the $500 had not been met at the time of the survey, a separate affidavit of improvements made by the surveyor and a certificate of expenditures certified by the Surveyor General were included in the patent application.
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Gene Kooper
post Aug 17 2016, 04:24 PM
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EMac,

Thanks for the links to the court cases. I'll read through them when I have more time.

In addition to court cases, you can find a lot of info from IBLA (Interior Board of Land Appeals) cases. When an affected party decides to challenge a BLM ruling, the party must file an administrative appeal with the IBLA. An administrative law judge will then rule on the merits. Only after a party exhausts all of their administrative appeal rights can they then proceed to a Federal district court. I posted this before, but here is the Dept. of Interior's Office of Hearing and Appeal advanced search web page. Click on the IBLA check box and enter "gulch placer" in the "with the exact phrase" box. It will list all IBLA decisions where the term "gulch placer" was found. My search produced 22 hits.

DOI Office of Hearing and Appeals - Advanced Search
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