Who owns the west?

Mining claims in Ventura County

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The hardrock mining industry owns gold, silver, and other precious metals and minerals beneath an estimated 1,859 acres of U.S. public land in Ventura County, 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 Ventura County

• Total number of claim-holders: 37

• Acres of public land claimed by the mining industry, estimated: 1,859 (186 typical city blocks)

• 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

• 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 Ventura County 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 Stephen P Helit Oceanside, CA 3 480 2002
2 Adrian Helit Oceanside, CA 3 480 2002
3 Michael S Helit Oceanside, CA 3 480 2002
4 Paul B Helit Oceanside, CA 3 480 2002
5 Paula J Helit Oceanside, CA 3 480 2002
6 Rufina Helit Oceanside, CA 3 480 2002
7 Lightweight Process Co Glendale, CA 23 460 1986
8 Pacific Custom Materals Inc Dallas, TX 18 360 1957 to 1985
9 Melvin Helit Oceanside, CA 2 320 2002
10 A-Able Plumbing Inc Oceanside, CA 2 320 2002
See all claim holders in Ventura County

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



Source: EWG analysis of Bureau of Land Management's Land and Mineral Records 2000 (LR2000) data system. For claims, acreages are estimated based on maximum allowable size of claims. For patents, acreages are taken directly from the LR2000 database where available, and are estimated based on maximum allowable size of claim that preceded the patent where acreages are not noted in LR2000. All notices are assumed to be five acres in size, and the size of plans are calculated directly as the size of the land represented by the legal land description in the LR2000 database. The acreages we estimate through these methods would tend to overestimate the actual amount. We welcome corrections here, and would welcome a federal data management system that included the acreages involved in these important federal land transactions.