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Alien Ownership of Mineral Interests

Terry Noble Fiske, Bruce J. Meagher, Proceedings of 24th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1978)

In recent years there has been a significant increase in the interest of other countries and their citizens in mineral development and investment in the United States. In addition to the general economic and political considerations which have ensued, questions have arisen with respect to the legal ability of non-citizens to acquire, hold and develop mineral interests under the laws of the United States and its individual states.

The primary purpose of this paper is to review the application of laws and regulations which pertain to non-citizen entitlement to participate in federal mining claims and in federal mineral leases. There is also included a brief discussion of state laws and their application to alien mineral interests in federal lands, state-owned lands, and privately held property.

This analysis attempts to identify the specific qualifications or restrictions which are based upon citizenship, to determine who can raise the issue, and under what circumstances, and to evaluate the consequences of apparent disqualification.



Individual and Corporate Citizenship

The statutory citizenship qualifications for those who wish to locate mining claims pursuant to the General Mining Law1 are quite simple: citizens of the United States and those who have declared their intention to become