Mineral Exploration and Mining on State Lands

Mining on state-owned lands

The Maine Geological Survey and the Bureau of Parks and Lands have administrative jurisdiction over prospecting and mineral development on lands owned or held in trust by the State of Maine that are open for mineral exploration. This jurisdiction extends over 450,000 acres of public lands, the ocean floor to a distance of three miles offshore, and the bottoms of all lakes greater than 10 acres in area. Mineral collecting or removal of "anything natural" is strictly prohibited in all State Parks.

All applicable environmental or other regulatory laws and rules of the State apply to State-owned lands.


Who needs permission to explore on state lands?

"Rockhounds," or persons interested in casual mineral collecting for hobby, educational, or recreational purposes do not need Survey permission to pursue their activities on State lands. This is true so long as they observe normal standards of consideration for safety and do not create significant damage to the areas visited.

If you wish to enter state lands for commercial mineral prospecting purposes you should inquire at the office of the Maine Geological Survey in Augusta, Maine to determine whether the lands under consideration are open to exploration and, if so, to obtain the necessary permits.


Where are state lands located?

To find out where state lands are located, contact the Bureau of Parks and Lands, Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, 22 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333, Phone: (207) 287-3821. They will provide you with the latest information on state lands and public lots in Maine. Information is also available at the Bureau of Parks and Lands web site.


Procedure for exploring on state lands

Procedures for mineral exploration, staking claims, and mining on state lands are described in the "Mining on State Lands Statutes," copies of which may be obtained free of charge from the Maine Geological Survey, 93 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333, Phone: (207) 287-2801, E-mail: mgs@maine.gov. Exploration permits, claim recording applications, and mining leases can be obtained from the Survey, which also maintains a file of current mineral development activities on state lands. Keep in mind that mineral development on state-held lands is subject to the appropriate environmental regulations as well (See Mining and Quarrying - Frequently Asked Questions).


Last updated on September 23, 2013.