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Claims & Gold Info
CELL CLAIMS VERSUS LEGACY CLAIMS
WHO OWNS THE GROUND?
Late in 2004, BC was set up into a grid system following the latitude and longitude lines within the province. The ‘grid’ that was created became available for map staking in early 2005. This process of obtaining new ground for mining purposes is now called map selection and/or cell acquisition.
For part of 2005, there was a reserve for both mineral and placer claims that ‘held’ the ground surrounding them and provided an opportunity for legacy claim holders (those with ground staked claims) to convert to the new cell tenures. Once these reserves ended, any ground that was not fully contained by a legacy claim became available for cell acquisition.
When you look at a current claim map, you will see many claims that have been overlapped with cells. The claims on the Quesnel River shown on the map below are a good example.
The claims lying to the north of the river have legacy status, while the claim in the center that overlaps them has been acquired as cells. The light portions of the cell claim show ground that its owner is fully able to work. The darker portions of the cell claim, those that overlap the legacy claims, show areas that belong solely to the legacy owners.
The answer to the somewhat tricky question of who owns the ground is that both owners do. But so long as the legacy owner maintains the claim in good standing, the cell owner only has the right to work any area that does not overlap. However, should the legacy claim forfeit for any reason, the legacy claim would then disappear and the cell owner would automatically gain the ground where the legacy claim was.
LPMs (new placer leases) are surveyed mining property with an annual rental fee. Placer leases are not restricted to 2000m3 (the equivalent of about 2615 cubic yards) of pay dirt a year, nor are they automatically cancelled if their rent is not paid on the anniversary date. Leases are not considered to be claims and can be covered by cells. However the same rules apply to these overlying cells. Any area that is part of the lease is off limits to the cell tenure owner.
PLs (old placer leases) have the same rights as LPMs, but are not subject to renewal as the term will not be extended. Instead their owners are offered the opportunity to change them into claims (through a process called lease transition). The new claim is then available to be converted from its legacy shape and status into cells. Of course the option exists to complete a survey and go from the old lease status to a new LPM.
With all of these changes in regulations it has become even more important to ensure that assessment work and claim maintenance are kept up to date. If at all possible, filing work should always be done well in advance of anniversary dates.