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Summary of Mining Plans of Operation in California.

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Currently on file with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are 902 mining plans and notices filed by 108 companies and 225 individuals, encompassing a total estimated area of 35,420 acres of BLM-managed public land in California. These plans and notices are filed on public land laden with gold, silver, copper and other precious metals and minerals worth billions of dollars. And these operations are only those on BLM lands, not on Forest Service lands, for which mining plans and notices are not entered into the government's LR2000 database that forms the backbone of this site. But whether the mines are on BLM or Forest Service land, none of the corporate revenue is reimbursed to the public. Instead, companies leave behind unfathomable amounts of waste. In 2001 alone, the industry dumped enough mercury nationally to fill a billion thermometers and arsenic in quantities that would pollute all public drinking water supplies for 350 years. In 2001, mines generated 45 percent of all pollution reported in the U.S. while accounting for just 0.36 percent of all industrial facilities.

Quick facts about mining plans on BLM land in California

• Acres of U.S. public land (BLM land only) under mining plans and notices, estimated: 35,420

• Foreign-owned corporations among top BLM land mine operators: 3 of 10

• Pollution from all US mining operations, ranking among all U.S. industries: : #1 in total toxic releases

• Pollution from top 89 mines in US: 5 times pollution from entire U.S. chemical industry (3,600 plants)

• Western water polluted by mine waste: 40 percent of Western headwaters

• Proposed mining operations that have been blocked by the Department of Interior because they posed a risk to public health or the environment: None

• Other land uses that supercede rights of mining companies to operate on public lands: None

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

Top Mining Plan/Notice Companies/Individuals on BLM land in California Ranked by Acres Affected

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

 Company/IndividualHeadquartersNumber of Mining Plans & Notices on BLM landEstimated AcreagePlan Date(s)
1 Barrick Gold Corporation World HQ in Canada 3 9,000 1983 to 1991
2 Glamis Gold LTD World HQ in Canada 10 5,747 1987 to 1995
3 Gold Fields Mining Co Lakewood, CO 8 4,003 1981 to 1987
4 Canyon Resources Co Golden, CO 4 3,491 1995 to 1996
5 Viceroy Gold Corp World HQ in Canada 2 1,380 1990 to 1997
6 American Girl Mining Winterhaven, CA 7 1,010 1986 to 1990
7 Newmont Mining Corp Denver, CO 4 1,004 1993
8 Golden Queen Mining Mojave, CA 5 930 1987 to 1997
9 Rand Mining Co Randsburg, CA 9 586 1985 to 1999
10 Elementis Specialties Inc Newberry Spgs, CA 2 530 1991 to 1994
See all plan/notice holders in California


Counties in California Ranked by Acres Affected by Plans and Notices

 CountyNumber of Mining Plans & Notices on BLM landEstimated Acreage  
1 Imperial County 50 12,414 details map
2 Lake County 3 9,045 details map
3 Inyo County 133 4,728 details map
4 San Bernardino County 185 4,221 details map
5 Kern County 89 2,767 details map
6 Lassen County 3 650 details map
7 Riverside County 37 404 details map
8 Mariposa County 67 152 details map
9 Shasta County 72 151 details map
10 San Diego County 22 136 details map
See all counties


Examples of Mines in California

Name of MineLocation of MineMine StatusMetal MinedOwner or Parent Company of Owner
JamestownStanislaus County, CAClosedGoldSonora Mining Corporation
Mesquite Gold MineImperial County, CAOpenGoldNewmont Mining Corp
PicachoImperial County, CAClosedGoldGlamis Gold Ltd.
Briggs Gold MineInyo County, CAOpenGoldCanyon Resources Corporation
Mt. Pass Mine & MillSan Bernardino County, CAOpenRare earthsMolycorp
Rand MineSan Bernardino County, CAOpenGoldGlamis Gold Ltd
Dredge 21Yuba County, CASuspendedGoldCal-sierra Development, Inc
Mclaughlin Gold MineLake County, CAClosedGoldBarrick Gold Corporation
Sixteen To One MineSierra County, CAOpenGoldOriginal Sixteen To One Mine
Castle Mountain MineSan Bernardino County, CAClosedGoldViceroy Resource Corporation

Source: EWG analysis.



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.