The U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth District has upheld in its entirety the 1872 Mining Laws. In the case of USA vs. Shumway, opinion filed 12/28/1999, regarding mining claims and mill site claims, Judge Kleinfeld has ruled that the mining law is still in effect.
He states in section 14938 "...the Forest Service may regulate use of National Forest lands by holders of unpatented mining claims... but only to the extent that the regulations are 'reasonable' and do not impermissibly encroach on legitimate use incident to mining and mill site claims. Congress has refused to repeal the Mining Law of 1872. ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES LACK AUTHORITY EFFECTIVELY TO REPEAL THE STATUTE BY REGULATIONS."
Other highlights of this ruling state: Sec 14923: "Despite much contemporary hostility to the Mining Law of 1872 and high level political pressure by influential individuals and organizations for its repeal, all repeal efforts have failed, and it remains the law."
"The locators of all mining locations...so long as they comply with the laws...shall have the EXCLUSIVE right of possession and enjoyment of ALL surface located within the lines of their location..."
Sec 14925: "In law, the word 'claim' in connection with the phrase "mining claim" represents a federally recognized right in real property. The Supreme Court has established that a mining 'claim' is not a claim in the ordinary sense of the word, but rather is a property interest, which is itself real property in every sense..." "The court held that the unpatented 'title of a locator' is "property in the fullest sense of the word."
Sec 14927: "When the location of a mining claim is perfected under the law, it has the effect of a grant by the United States of the right of PRESENT AND EXCLUSIVE POSSESSION. The claim is property in the fullest sense of the term."
In ruling on the 1955 Multiple Use Act:
Sec 14927 and 14928: "Mining claims located after the effective date of the 1955 Act are subject...to a right of the United States to manage surface resources for the government and whomever it permits to do so to use the surface, SO LONG AS THEY DO NOT ENDANGER OR MATERIALLY INTERFERE WITH PROSPECTING, MINING, OR PROCESSING."
Sec 14936: "The Multiple Use Act empowers the Forest Service to regulate NON-MINING activity upon mining claims, so long as the non-mining activity DOES NOT INTERFERE WITH MINING ACTIVITIES..."
Sec 14928 and 14929: "...an unpatented mining claim remains a fully recognized possessory interest and that FEDERAL MINING CLAIMS ARE PRIVATE PROPERTY WHICH ENJOY THE FULL PROTECTION OF THE FIFTH AMENDMENT."
Sec 14931: The owner of a mining claim owns property, and IS NOT A MERE SOCIAL GUEST OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR..."
Sec 14938 and 14939: "...the Forest Service may regulate use of National Forest Lands by holders of unpatented mining claims, BUT ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT THE REGULATIONS ARE "REASONABLE" AND DO NOT IMPERMISSIBLY ENCROACH ON LEGITIMATE USES INCIDENT TO MINING AND MILL SITE CLAIMS. CONGRESS HAS REFUSED TO REPEAL THE MINING LAW OF 1872. ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES LACK AUTHORITY EFFECTIVELY TO REPEAL THE STATUTE BY REGULATIONS."