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Mining claims in Colorado

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The hardrock mining industry owns gold, silver, and other precious metals and minerals beneath an estimated 123,457 acres of U.S. public land in Colorado, resources worth millions of dollars a year, acquired for as little as $0.84 per acre and held in perpetuity for a yearly rental fee as low as $0.62 an acre. Under a 132-year-old law originally intended to spur development of the West, an industry dominated by a handful of multinational corporations pays no federal royalties, and leaves behind a landscape of dramatically diminished value, scarred with tunnels, pits, and toxic waste piles.

Quick facts about mining claims in Colorado

• Total number of claim-holders: 1,478

• Acres of public land claimed by the mining industry, estimated: 123,457 (50% of Rocky Mountain National Park)

• Dollars paid for each acre: as little as $0.84, and as little as $0.62 yearly rental fee

• Reimbursement to the federal government for gold, silver and other precious metals taken from public land: $0

• Percentage of claims held by foreign companies: 12%

• Land area ever claimed by the mining industry nationally, estimated: 79 million acres (the size of New Mexico)

EWG analysis of data compiled by the Bureau of Land Management.

Top Mining Claim Owners in Colorado Ranked by Acres Claimed

Companies have been consolidated to account for subsidiaries. View this table without consolidation.

 Company/IndividualHeadquartersNumber of ClaimsAcreage ClaimedDate(s) Filed
1 Phelps Dodge Mining Co Phoenix, AZ 556 7,662 1944 to 1998
2 Newmont Mining Corp Denver, CO 361 7,435 1895 to 1978
3 Teck Cominco World HQ in Canada 217 4,364 1925 to 1998
4 Kinross World HQ in Canada 180 3,697 1977 to 1979
5 Barrick Gold Corporation World HQ in Canada 133 2,748 1952 to 1995
6 Robert L Crouch Georgetown, TX 16 2,560 2001
7 Joan T Crouch Georgetown, TX 16 2,560 2001
8 Ronald E Mcalister Kerns, UT 16 2,560 2001
9 Erlene F Mcalister Kerns, TX 16 2,560 2001
10 Vivian B Mcalister Phoenix, AZ 16 2,560 2001
See all claim holders in Colorado

Some of the claimants in this table may be in partnership with other individuals or companies with a claim to the same land.


Counties in Colorado Ranked by Acres Claimed

 CountyNumber of ClaimsEstimated Acreage  
1 Gunnison County 1,216 22,524 details map
2 Park County 360 9,406 details map
3 Ouray County 413 8,512 details map
4 Montrose County 128 6,757 details map
5 San Miguel County 292 6,533 details map
6 Moffat County 198 6,533 details map
7 Boulder County 229 5,901 details map
8 Eagle County 153 5,709 details map
9 La Plata County 201 4,957 details map
10 Chaffee County 184 4,478 details map
See all counties


Examples of Mines in Colorado

Name of MineLocation of MineMine StatusMetal MinedOwner or Parent Company of Owner
SummitvilleRio Grande County, COClosedGoldGalactic Resources
Cripple Creek & Victor MineTeller County, COOpenGoldAnglo American
HendersonClear Creek County, COOpenMolybdenumPhelps Dodge

Source: EWG analysis.