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Mining claims in Idaho

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The hardrock mining industry owns gold, silver, and other precious metals and minerals beneath an estimated 260,185 acres of U.S. public land in Idaho, 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 Idaho

• Total number of claim-holders: 2,463

• Acres of public land claimed by the mining industry, estimated: 260,185 (126 times Sun Valley (2054 acres))

• 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

• Companies owning minerals on at least 10,000 public acres: 2

• 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 Idaho 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 919 17,308 1939 to 2000
2 F S Mooney unknown 794 16,448 1939 to 1990
3 Kinross World HQ in Canada 257 5,698 1925 to 1998
4 Owyhee Exploration LLC New York, NY 223 4,607 2001
5 American Independent Vale, OR 195 4,013 1958 to 2002
6 James E Wilson Dubois, ID 24 3,840 1997
7 Karen Wilson unknown 24 3,840 1997
8 Kobie Wilson unknown 24 3,840 1997
9 Mary Wilson unknown 24 3,840 1997
10 Paula Wilson unknown 24 3,840 1997
See all claim holders in Idaho

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 Idaho Ranked by Acres Claimed

 CountyNumber of ClaimsEstimated Acreage  
1 Idaho County 1,526 41,502 details map
2 Custer County 1,771 37,660 details map
3 Shoshone County 1,292 29,773 details map
4 Lemhi County 1,309 29,181 details map
5 Owyhee County 1,046 26,109 details map
6 Boise County 582 20,265 details map
7 Valley County 613 12,943 details map
8 Clark County 322 10,081 details map
9 Elmore County 277 8,660 details map
10 Washington County 287 5,929 details map
See all counties


Examples of Mines in Idaho

Name of MineLocation of MineMine StatusMetal MinedOwner or Parent Company of Owner
BlackbirdLemhi County, IDClosedCobaltNoranda
Black PineCassia County, IDClosedGoldPegasus Gold Corp
Thompson Creek Molybdenum MineCuster County, IDOpenMolybdenumThompson Creek Mining Company
Bunker Hill MineShoshone County, IDClosedPolymetallicHecla Mining Company
Idaho Cobalt ProjectRavalli County, IDProposedCobalt, Copper & GFormation Capital
Golden Hand MineCuster County, IDProposedGoldAmerican Independence Mines
Grouse Creek MineCuster County, IDClosedGoldHecla Mining Company
Beartrack MineLemhi County, IDClosedGoldMeridian Gold Inc.
Silver Valley (galena) MineShoshone County, IDOpenSilver oresCoeur D'Alene Mines Corp
Delamar MineOwyhee County, IDSuspendedSilver oresKinross Gold Corporation
See more mines in Idaho

Source: EWG analysis.