Back to Publications

Access For Mineral Operations

James A. Holtkamp, Mineral Resources Permitting (1981)

One of the critical factors in developing a mineral resource extraction operation is whether access to the mineral deposit is available, and if so, whether the expense of acquiring the access will be so great as to make the extraction of the mineral uneconomic. Too often, access is the last major factor to be addressed, and as a result, the project is delayed pending approval of the access proposal by the agency managing the land across which the access is sought.

Over the last decade, there has been an explosive increase in the number and complexity of governmental permits and approvals necessary for mineral operations. The dramatic increase in approval requirements for access across government lands has contributed to the permit explosion.

The subject of access to mineral operations has been treated in many recent articles, most notably in Lewis, Access Problems and Remedies for Oil and Gas Operators, 26 [12-2] Rocky Mtn. Min. L. Inst. ____ (1980); Due, Access, Rare II and Other Fables, 25 Rocky Mtn. Min. L. Inst. 10-1 (1979); Ferguson, Forest Service and BLM Wilderness Review Programs and Their Effect on Mining Law Activities, 24 Rocky Mtn. Min. L. Inst. 717 (1978); Biddle, Access Rights Over Public Lands Granted by the 1866 Mining Law and Recent Regulations, 18 Rocky Mtn. Min. L. Inst. 415 (1973); Lonergan, Access to Intermingled Mineral Deposits, Mining