General Frequently Asked Questions

(* * Please click the desired question below to see the answer. * *)

1. I have an old mining stock certificate. How do I find out if it is worth anything?

Most old mining stock certificates no longer have any 'stock' value but may be of some value to museums or those who collect stock certificates. Our Mining Stock Certificate webpage lists what books and agencies to use for Nevada mining stock certificate research. The page also contains additional links to other 'web' research articles and contact information for a Nevada museum which collects Nevada stock certificates.

2. Is it possible to purchase an abandoned mine site from the Nevada BLM or the Nevada Division of Minerals?

Abandoned mine sites are generally not available for sale. These old mines are features that are the results of mining operations that occurred in the past – some are nearly 150 years old.

One does not simply go out and buy an abandoned mine unless you purchase a mining claim or a piece of private land that has abandoned mines sites on it. One example is a “patented” mining claim. A patented mining claim is property where the owner has both surface and mineral rights. The owner pays property taxes in the same way as a homeowner. Many patented mining claims in Nevada date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s and many of these claims have underground mine workings on them. The best way to locate patented mining claims for sale is through a real estate agent.

The other alternative is to stake and file unpatented mining claims. These are claims staked on public lands (BLM, Forest Service) for the intent and purpose of locating mineable mineral resources. A person staking such claims needs to determine if the land of interest is under held under prior claims. If there is no prior claimant, a claim of 600’ by 1500’ (20.66 acres) may be located on the ground and must be properly surveyed. Mining claim paperwork and a location map must be filed with the BLM and the county recorder in the county where the claim is situated. Fees must be paid to the BLM and county totaling approximately $200 per claim (check with the BLM for current filing fees) for the initial filing and must be renewed every year to keep the claim active.

The above is general information.

As always, we encourage people to avoid abandoned mines. They are dangerous under the best of conditions. Old timbers, cave-ins, old explosives, bad air, bats, rattlesnakes, spiders, rodents that may carry hantavirus, and falling are among the dangers. Our motto regarding abandoned Mines is: “STAY OUT AND STAY ALIVE”.

3. I own a piece of property. How do I determine if I own the oil and mineral rights?

A separation of the mineral estate should have been noted in a title search. Title records can be examined at the county courthouse.

4. How do I determine the valuation of mineral potential on my property?

A valuation of the mineral potential can be done by a qualified geologist, preferably a CPG (certified professional geologist). A list of qualified geologists in Las Vegas can be obtained from the Geological Society of Nevada (775-323-3500).

5. I will be visiting Las Vegas in the next couple of months and I would like to know of any locations in or around Las Vegas where I can go rock hunting/collecting?

Unfortunately, there are no designated collection sites in the Las Vegas area.

You may want to get a copy of the publication, “Rocks, Gemstones, Minerals, and Fossils in Nevada.” The publication is available through the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology at or through local libraries. The previous version of this map was called the “Rockhound’s Map of Nevada.” Please note that the map only notes “a sampling of occurrences of gemstones, minerals, fossils, and other rocks in Nevada. The inclusion of a locality on this map does not constitute permission to collect.”

Also, there is a publication put out by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) - Nevada called “Collecting on Public Lands.” 

Collecting on your own would require finding a suitable site and then performing land status research. Afterward, if the area you are interested in is:

  1. Private or patented land - You must have the owner's permission;
  2. State land – In Nevada, the area is most likely a park or historical site. You normally can not collect on these types of land; and
  3. Federal land – First, check that the area is free of any Federal restrictions (Military Use for example). Once this is determined, you will need to research for mineral rights reservations and whether the site has any currently staked mining claims. If the area has current rights reservations or mining claims, you must have the owner’s/claimant’s permission.

On our "Education and Outreach" program webpage, look under the right-hand column titled "Educational Resources" and download the "Nevada Exhibits, Clubs, Tours, and Museums" page for information on collecting areas in Nevada as well as other activities available. Please check with the appropriate listed entity on availability and cost (if any) of the facilities or activities you are interested in. Some examples in the listing are:

  1. Gem/mineral clubs which you might try contacting. These clubs sometimes have standing arrangements with owners/claimants giving them permission to collection in certain areas; and
  2. The 'Nevada Museums, Parks, Exhibits and Areas of Geologic Interest' section which lists different activities available by city (location). The areas closest to Las Vegas are: Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Nelson, Overton, and Searchlight. The closest rockhounding area to Las Vegas is in Ely at the Garnet Hill Rockhounding Area which is about 5 hours northeast of Las Vegas.