By: Crystal Burgess, Cofounder of Burgex
As your landman experts, it is our job to keep you informed as much as possible when things have changed regarding your mineral interests.
We’re informing you of some recent changes the BLM has made to its online database. As some of you may have noticed, the MLRS has been offline for several months now due to “maintenance”. It was only announced recently what updates had been made.
You may have received an email notification from the BLM:
Attention MLRS and LR2K extract customers,
Beginning with the upcoming extracts on Nov. 20, a portion of the information in certain files will be redacted (indicated by ‘XXXX’). This redaction will only apply to Person Accounts. Specifically:
For MLRS, the following columns from the ACCOUNT_RPT table will be redacted for all records with ISPERSONACCOUNT=1:
For LR2K, the following columns from the CUSTOMER table will be redacted for all records with CATEGORY=’P’:
If you have questions about the redacted data please contact the BLM Public Help Desk for assistance.
What does this mean and how does it affect my claims?
If your mining claims are located as an individual and not a company, then all the locator name and address information has been redacted from the MLRS database and is unavailable to the public (the name of the claim will be the only remaining piece of information accessible). This redaction should have no effect on your claim’s status with the BLM.
Simply put, it means the BLM has removed public information – in the name of being overly cautious in the current era of cybersecurity concerns – and it believes it’s well within its right to do so.
We strongly disagree.
Federal law requires all claim locators to make a public record of a claim’s location, including the locator/claimant name and mailing address. This information is also publicly available at the recorder’s office in the county in which a claim is located.
Removal of individual names of mining claim owners from BLM files eliminates the public’s ability to determine which entities have a current possessory interest lien on public lands. Removal of claimant names also has the effect of disconnecting the key association between BLM case files and the public record made by the claim owner. Essentially this destroys the public’s ability to research statutorily required public records of public land status as regards individually owned mining claims. Virtually all of these public records are organized by the respective statutorily created public record keepers (usually county recorders) by the locator/claimant name.
What is Burgex doing about this issue?
We have submitted several letters of complaint directly to BLM, asking the agency to revert back to allowing the public to view individual locator names. We have contacted our local mining association as well as My Land Matters, which has been on the forefront and making its own headway with BLM. We will also submit several letters to our federal and state representatives to make them aware of the actions of BLM and our thoughts on the matter.
We strongly believe BLM is overstepping its boundaries by removal of public information, not maintaining a usable or reliable database, and failure to perform virtually any mining claim function in a timely manner at most state offices.
What does this mean for our Claim Guard and other landman services?
With MLRS still unavailable, it is too early to tell how this will affect our Claim Guard service in terms of paying renewal fees on behalf of our clients. Unfortunately, for our landman services this will add more time spent on claim research (if the client requests claimant information). We will do everything possible to provide the best service with available resources. In a worst-case scenario, this may involve physical travel to some county recorder offices to pull public records that BLM is withholding.
What should I do?
It is entirely up to you and how you feel about the situation. Our goal with this message is simply to inform you of the current situation with BLM and our opinions of the matter, given the nature of our business.
If you wish to take action and contact people you know in the industry to raise more awareness, that is fantastic.
If you wish to do nothing, we respect that choice also.
Burgex is your mining claim headquarters and it is our job to provide the best service possible to our clients, no matter the hurdles we may encounter.
Thank you for continuing to use Burgex for all your landman and claim staking needs throughout the years. We value your business and truly want your projects to succeed. When our clients win, we all win.