Trusted stewards of Idaho's resources, from main street to mountain top

Mining Regulation

Mined Land Reclamation

IDL regulates surface mining and the surface effects of underground mining in the state of Idaho. Surface mining is the extraction of minerals from the ground by removing the soil and rock over the mineral deposits. Underground mining is the extraction of minerals from beneath the surface of the ground by means of an adit, shaft, tunnel, decline, portal, bore hole, drill hole for solution mining, or such other means of access beneath the surface of the ground, other than a pit.

The Idaho Mined Land Reclamation Act, passed in 1971, requires reclamation of affected lands to return them to a productive condition.

Read more about mined land reclamation regulation here. (pdf)


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top left photoDredge & Placer Mining

The IDL administers the Idaho Dredge and Placer Mining Protection Act, passed in 1954. Dredge and placer mining is the extraction of minerals containing particles of gold or other valuable minerals, using suction dredges with a nozzle eight inches in diameter or more. A placer deposit can be in a natural watercourse or an ancient river channel high above a stream.

Read more about IDL responsibilities in regulating dredge and placer mining in Idaho.



Recreational Gold Mining

    The IDL does not regulate recreational suction dredge mining. Recreational dredge mining applies when miners use power sluices, small recreational suction dredges with a nozzle five (5) inches in diameter or less, and equipment rated at a maximum of fifteen (15) horsepower or less. Recreational dredge mining is regulated by the Stream Channel Protection Act administered by the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR). If a miner has a recreational dredging permit issued by IDWR they do not need any additional permits from the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) to mine in a navigable stream.

    A summary of the requirements for recreational mining are highlighted here in this Recreational Mining Pamphlet (pdf).

Mining Claims

    IDL does not regulate patented and unpatented mining claims. Mining claims are federally managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). If you have questions about purchasing a claim or about a claim you own or manage, please go to the Idaho BLM Mining Claims website here.

    For information about what a mining claim is, please visit this informational website.

    For information on locating mining claims in Idaho, please visit this informational website.