Who owns the west?

Mining claims in Boise County

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The hardrock mining industry owns gold, silver, and other precious metals and minerals beneath an estimated 20,265 acres of U.S. public land in Boise 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 Boise County

• Total number of claim-holders: 400

• Acres of public land claimed by the mining industry, estimated: 20,265 (2,026 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 Boise 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 Anne Church Meridian, ID 9 1,200 2003
2 Arthur Church Emmett, ID 9 1,000 2001 to 2003
3 Holly Church Emmett, ID 6 940 2001 to 2003
4 Tracey Church Emmett, ID 6 940 2001 to 2003
5 H J Casey Boring, OR 43 888 1875 to 1972
6 Cheri Ranft Meridian, ID 9 881 1995 to 2003
7 John Church Meridian, ID 6 860 2003
8 David E Rundle Meridian, ID 6 821 1998 to 2003
9 Selena Roberts unknown 5 800 2003
10 Lynn Steadham unknown 5 800 2003
See all claim holders in Boise 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.