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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of August 27, 2014

Title 43Subtitle BChapter IISubchapter C → Part 3710


Title 43: Public Lands: Interior


PART 3710—PUBLIC LAW 167; ACT OF JULY 23, 1955


Contents

Subpart 3710—Public Law 167; Act of July 23, 1955: General

§3710.0-3   Authority.

Subpart 3712—Proceedings Under the Act

§3712.1   Restriction on use of unpatented mining claims.
§3712.2   Publication of notice.
§3712.2-1   Request for publication of notice to mining claimant.
§3712.2-2   Evidence necessary to support a request for publication.
§3712.2-3   Contents of published notice.
§3712.2-4   Publication.
§3712.2-5   Proof of publication.
§3712.2-6   Service of notice.
§3712.2-7   Service of copies; failure to comply.
§3712.3   Failure of claimant to file verified statement.

Subpart 3713—Hearings

§3713.1   Hearing procedures.
§3713.2   Hearing: Time and place.
§3713.3   Stipulation between parties.
§3713.4   Effect of decision affirming a mining claimant's rights.

Subpart 3714—Rights of Mining Claimants

§3714.1   Recording by mining claimant of request for copy of notice.
§3714.2   Waiver of rights by mining claimants.
§3714.3   Protection of existing rights; exclusion of reservation in patents.

Subpart 3715—Use and Occupancy Under the Mining Laws

§3715.0-1   What are the purpose and the scope of this subpart?
§3715.0-3   What are the legal authorities for this subpart?
§3715.0-5   How are certain terms in this subpart defined?
§3715.0-9   Information collection.
§3715.1   Do the regulations in this subpart apply to my use or occupancy?
§3715.2   What activities do I have to be engaged in to allow me to occupy the public lands?
§3715.2-1   What additional characteristic(s) must my occupancy have?
§3715.2-2   How do I justify occupancy by a caretaker or watchman?
§3715.2-3   Under what circumstances will BLM allow me to temporarily occupy a site for more than 14 days?
§3715.3   Must I consult with BLM before occupancy?
§3715.3-1   At what point may I begin occupancy?
§3715.3-2   What information must I provide to BLM about my proposed occupancy?
§3715.3-3   How does BLM process the information I submit about my proposed occupancy?
§3715.3-4   How will BLM notify me of the outcome of its review process?
§3715.3-5   What will BLM's notification include?
§3715.3-6   May I begin occupancy if I have not received concurrence from BLM?
§3715.4   What if I have an existing use or occupancy?
§3715.4-1   What happens after I give BLM written notification of my existing occupancy?
§3715.4-2   What if I do not notify BLM of my existing occupancy?
§3715.4-3   What if BLM does not concur in my existing use or occupancy?
§3715.4-4   What if there is a dispute over the fee simple title to the lands on which my existing occupancy is located?
§3715.5   What standards apply to my use or occupancy?
§3715.5-1   What standards apply to ending my use or occupancy?
§3715.5-2   What happens to property I leave behind?
§3715.6   What things does BLM prohibit under this subpart?
§3715.7   How will BLM inspect my use or occupancy and enforce this subpart?
§3715.7-1   What types of enforcement action can BLM take if I do not meet the requirements of this subpart?
§3715.7-2   What happens if I do not comply with a BLM order?
§3715.8   What penalties are available to BLM for violations of this subpart?
§3715.8-1   What happens if I make false statements to BLM?
§3715.9   What appeal rights do I have?
§3715.9-1   Does an appeal to IBLA suspend a BLM decision?

Authority: 30 U.S.C. 22 et seq.; 30 U.S.C. 611-615; 43 U.S.C. 1201; 43 U.S.C. 1740.

Subpart 3710—Public Law 167; Act of July 23, 1955: General

§3710.0-3   Authority.

The Act of July 23, 1955 (69 Stat. 367, 30 U.S.C. sec. 601), was enacted “to amend the Act of July 31, 1947 (61 Stat. 681) and the mining laws to provide for multiple use of the surface of the same tracts of the public lands, and for other purposes.” The regulations in this part are intended to implement only sections 3 to 7, inclusive, of said Act hereinafter more fully identified. The word “Act” when used in this subpart refers to the Act of July 23, 1955. Sections 1 and 2 thereof relate specifically to the Materials Act of July 31, 1947.

[35 FR 9731, June 13, 1970]

Subpart 3712—Proceedings Under the Act

Source: 35 FR 9732, June, 13, 1970, unless otherwise noted.

§3712.1   Restriction on use of unpatented mining claims.

(a) The Act in section 4 provides:

Any mining claim hereafter located under the mining laws of the United States shall not be used, prior to issuance of patent therefor, for any purposes other than prospecting, mining or processing operations and uses reasonably incident thereto.

Rights under any mining claim hereafter located under the mining laws of the United States shall be subject, prior to issuance of patent therefor, to the right of the United States to manage and dispose of the vegetative surface resources thereof and to manage other surface resources thereof (except mineral deposits subject to location under the mining laws of the United States). Any such mining claim shall also be subject, prior to issuance of patent therefor, to the right of the United States, its permittees, and licensees, to use so much of the surface thereof as may be necessary for such purposes or for access to adjacent land: Provided, however, That any use of the surface of any such mining claim by the United States, its permittees or licensees, shall be such as not to endanger or materially interfere with prospecting, mining or processing operations or uses reasonably incident thereto: Provided, further, That if at any time the locator requires more timber for his mining operations than is available to him from the claim after disposition of timber therefrom by the United States, subsequent to the location of the claim, he shall be entitled, free of charge, to be supplied with timber for such requirements from the nearest timber administered by the disposing agency which is ready for harvesting under the rules and regulations of that agency and which is substantially equivalent in kind and quantity to the timber estimated by the disposing agency to have been disposed of from the claim: Provided, further, That nothing in this act shall be construed as affecting or intended to affect or in any way interfere with or modify the laws of the States which lie wholly or in part westward of the ninety-eighth meridian relating to the ownership, control, appropriation, use, and distribution of ground or surface waters within any unpatented mining claim.

Except to the extent required for the mining claimant's prospecting, mining or processing operations and uses reasonably incident thereto, or for the construction of buildings or structures in connection therewith, or to provide clearance for such operations or uses, or to the extent authorized by the United States, no claimant of any mining claim hereafter located under the mining laws of the United States shall, prior to issuance of patent therefor, sever, remove, or use any vegetative or other surface resources thereof which are subject to management or disposition by the United States under the preceding subsection (b). Any severance or removal of timber which is permitted under the exceptions of the preceding sentence, other than severance or removal to provide clearance, shall be in accordance with sound principles of forest management.

(b) The locator of an unpatented mining claim subject to the Act is limited in his use of the claim to those uses specified in the act, namely prospecting, mining, or processing operations and uses reasonably incident thereto. He is forbidden to use it for any other purpose such, for example, as for filling stations, curio shops, cafes, tourist, or fishing and hunting camps. Except as such interference may result from uses permitted under the act, the locator of an unpatented mining claim subject to the act may not interfere with the right of the United States to manage the vegetative and other surface resources of the land, or use it so as to block access to or egress from adjacent public land, or use Federal timber for purposes other than those permitted under the act, or block access to water needed in grazing use of the national forests or other public lands, or block access to recreational areas, or prevent agents of the Federal Government from crossing the locator's claim in order to reach adjacent land for purposes of managing wild-game habitat or improving fishing streams so as to thwart the public harvest and proper management of fish and game resources on the public lands generally, both on located and on adjacent lands.

(c) Mining claims located prior to the date of the act will be subject to the Act where determination has been made pursuant to section 5 of the Act, that the locator's surface rights are limited as provided in section 4 of the Act, or where the owners have waived and relinquished all rights under section 6 of the Act, which are contrary to or in conflict with the limitations and restrictions specified as to hereafter located unpatented mining claims in section 4 of the Act. See §3714.3 as to effect on existing rights.

(d) On mining claims subject to the provisions of the Act, timber may be used by the claimants only for the purposes permitted under the Act, and, except where timber is removed to provide clearance for operations or uses permitted under the Act, such timber must be cut in accordance with sound principles of forest management. When timber on a mining claim is disposed of by the Government subsequent to the location of the claim, free use of timber by the mining claimant of like kind and quantity from the nearest timber administered by the disposing agency is provided for, but only when and to the extent that is required for their mining operations and only in kind and quantity substantially equivalent to the timber removed from the claim by the Government. Any such timber may be cut and removed only under the rules and regulations of the administering agency. Regulations governing applications and issuance of permits for the use of such timber on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management are contained in part 5510 of this chapter.

§3712.2   Publication of notice.

§3712.2-1   Request for publication of notice to mining claimant.

(a) The Act in the first paragraph of section 5(a) provides as follows:

The head of a Federal department or agency which has the responsibility for administering surface resources of any lands belonging to the United States may file as to such lands in the office of the Secretary of the Interior, or in such office as the Secretary of the Interior may designate, a request for publication of notice to mining claimants, for determination of surface rights, which request shall contain a description of the lands covered thereby, showing the section or sections of the public land surveys which embrace the lands covered by such request, or if such lands are unsurveyed, either the section or sections which would probably embrace such lands when the public land surveys are extended to such lands or a tie by courses and distances to an approved United States mineral monument.

The “request for publication of notice to mining claimants” authorized to be filed by the above-quoted portion of the act can be filed by the Federal department or agency which has the responsibility for administering surface resources of the lands to which the requested notice would relate. It must describe the land covered by the request by section, township, range, and meridian or, if the land is unsurveyed, either the section or sections which would probably embrace such lands when the public land surveys are extended to such lands, or by a metes and bounds description of such area with a tie to a United States mineral monument.

(b) A request for publication of notice under this subsection shall be filed with the proper office of the Bureau of Land Management. No request for publication may include lands in more than one district.

§3712.2-2   Evidence necessary to support a request for publication.

(a) The second and third paragraphs of section 5(a) of the Act provide in detail for the filing by the head of a Federal department or agency of certain evidence in support of the request for publication of the notice referred to in §3712.2-1 as follows:

The filing of such request for publication shall be accompanied by an affidavit or affidavits of a person or persons over twenty-one years of age setting forth that the affiant or affiants have examined the lands involved in a reasonable effort to ascertain whether any person or persons were in actual possession of or engaged in the working of such lands or any part thereof, and, if no person or persons were found to be in actual possession of or engaged in the working of said lands or any part thereof, on the date of such examination, setting forth such fact, or, if any person or persons were so found to be in actual possession or engaged in such working on the date of such examination, setting forth the name and address of each such person, unless affiant shall have been unable through reasonable inquiry to obtain information as to the name and address of any such person, in which event the affidavit shall set forth fully the nature and results of such inquiry.

The filing of such request for publication shall also be accompanied by the certificate of a title or abstract company, or of a title abstractor, or of an attorney, based upon such company's abstractor's or attorney's examination of those instruments which are shown by the tract indexes in the county office of record as affecting the lands described in said request, setting forth the name of any person disclosed by said instruments to have an interest in said lands under any unpatented mining claim heretofore located, together with the address of such person if such address is disclosed by such instruments of record. “Tract indexes” as used herein shall mean those indexes, if any, as to surveyed lands identifying instruments as affecting a particular legal subdivision of the public land surveys, and as to unsurveyed lands identifying instruments as affecting a particular probable legal subdivision according to a projected extension of the public land surveys.

(b) This part of the Act requires the filing of an affidavit which may be made by any person or persons over twenty-one years of age who have examined the lands. It must show whether any person or persons were “in actual possession of or engaged in the working of such lands (the lands described in the request for publication of notice) or any part thereof” and, if they were, the name and address of each such person must be given if it can be learned by reasonable inquiry and if it cannot be so learned, the affidavit must show in detail what inquiry or inquiries were made to obtain each such name and address. No definition of the terms “in actual possession” or “engaged in the working of said lands” will be attempted here, but the affidavits should recite what evidences of occupancy or workings were found. The request for publication must also be accompanied by a certificate executed as provided in the third paragraph of section 5(a) and containing the information required by that paragraph to be furnished. If there are no tract indexes, as defined in the Act, in the county office of record affecting the lands described in the request for publication, a certificate executed as provided in the said third paragraph of section 5(a) to that effect must be furnished.

§3712.2-3   Contents of published notice.

Section 5(a) of the Act specifies in detail what the published notice shall contain, as follows:

Such notice shall describe the lands covered by such request, as provided heretofore, and shall notify whomever it may concern that if any person claiming or asserting under, or by virtue of, any unpatented mining claim heretofore located, rights as to such lands or any part thereof, shall fail to file in the office where such request for publication was filed (which office shall be specified in such notice) and within one hundred and fifty days from the date of the first publication of such notice (which date shall be specified in such notice), a verified statement which shall set forth, as to such unpatented mining claim—

(1) The date of location;

(2) The book and page of recordation of the notice or certificate of location;

(3) The section or sections of the public land surveys which embrace such mining claims; or if such lands are unsurveyed, either the section or sections which would probably embrace such mining claim when the public land surveys are extended to such lands or a tie by courses and distances to an approved United States mineral monument;

(4) Whether such claimant is a locator or purchaser under such location; and

(5) The name and address of such claimant and names and addresses so far as known to the claimant of any other person or persons claiming any interest or interests in or under such unpatented mining claim: such failure shall be conclusively deemed (i) to constitute a waiver and relinquishment by such mining claimant of any right, title or interest under such mining claim contrary to or in conflict with the limitations or restrictions specified in section 4 of this Act as to hereafter located unpatented mining claims, and (ii) to constitute a consent by such mining claimant that such mining claim, prior to issuance of patent therefor, shall be subject to the limitations and restrictions specified in section 4 of this Act as to hereafter located unpatented mining claims, and (iii) to preclude thereafter, prior to issuance of patent, any assertion by such mining claimant of any right or title to or interest in or under such mining claim contrary to or in conflict with the limitations or restrictions specified in section 4 of this Act as to hereafter located unpatented mining claims.

§3712.2-4   Publication.

If the request for publication and the accompanying papers conform to the requirements of the Act, the Authorized officer or the Director, as may be appropriate, at the expense of the requesting department or agency, shall cause notice to mining claimants to be published in a newspaper having general circulation in the county in which the lands involved are situated. If the notice is published in a daily newspaper it shall be published in the Wednesday issue for nine consecutive weeks, if in a weekly paper, in nine consecutive issues, or if in a semi-weekly or tri-weekly paper, in the issue of the same day of each week for nine consecutive weeks.

§3712.2-5   Proof of publication.

After the period of newspaper publication has expired, the department or agency requesting the publication shall obtain from the office of the newspaper or publication a sworn statement that the notice was published at the time and in accordance with the requirements under the regulations of this part, and shall file such sworn statement in the office where the Request for Publication was filed.

§3712.2-6   Service of notice.

The last paragraph of section 5(a) of the Act provides with respect to service of the notice by personal delivery or by registered mail, as follows:

Within fifteen days after the date of first publication of such notice, the department or agency requesting such publication (1) shall cause a copy of such notice to be personally delivered to or to be mailed by registered mail addressed to each person in possession or engaged in the working of the land whose name and address is shown by an affidavit filed as aforesaid, and to each person who may have filed, as to any lands described in said notice, a request for notices, as provided in subsection (d) of this section 5, and shall cause a copy of such notice to be mailed by registered mail to each person whose name and address is set forth in the title or abstract company's or title abstractor's or attorney's certificate filed as aforesaid, as having an interest in the lands described in said notice under any unpatented mining claim heretofore located, such notice to be directed to such person's address as set forth in such certificate; and (2) shall file in the office where said request for publication was filed an affidavit showing that copies have been so delivered or mailed.

§3712.2-7   Service of copies; failure to comply.

If the department or agency requesting publication under these regulations shall fail to comply with the requirements of section 5(a) of the Act as to the personal delivery or mailing of a copy of the published notice to any person, the publication of such notice shall be deemed wholly ineffectual as to that person or as to the rights asserted by that person and the failure of that person to file a verified statement, as provided in such notice shall in no manner affect, diminish, prejudice or bar any rights of that person.

§3712.3   Failure of claimant to file verified statement.

If any claimant under any unpatented mining claim located prior to July 23, 1955, which embraces any of the lands described in any notice published in accordance with the regulations in this part shall fail to file a verified statement, as specified in such published notice (See §3712.2-4), within one hundred and fifty days from the date of the first publication of such notice, such failure shall be conclusively deemed except as otherwise provided in §3712.2-7.

(a) To constitute a waiver and relinquishment by such mining claimant of any right, title or interest under such mining claim contrary to or in conflict with the limitations or restrictions specified in section 4 of the Act as to unpatented mining claims located after its enactment.

(b) To constitute a consent by such mining claimant that such mining claim, prior to issuance of patent therefor, be subject to the limitations and restrictions specified in section 4 of the Act as to unpatented mining claims located after its enactment.

(c) To preclude thereafter prior to the issuance of patent any assertion by such mining claimant of any right or title to or interest in or under such mining claim contrary to or in conflict with the limitations or restrictions specified in section 4 of the Act as to unpatented mining claims located after its enactment.

Subpart 3713—Hearings

Source: 35 FR 9734, June 13, 1970, unless otherwise noted.

§3713.1   Hearing procedures.

The procedures with respect to notice of such a hearing and the conduct thereof, and in respect to appeals, shall follow the appeals and contests of the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (part 1850 of this title) relating to contests or protests affecting public lands of the United States so far as they are applicable.

§3713.2   Hearing: Time and place.

If any verified statement shall be filed by a mining claimant then the administrative law judge or the Director, as may be appropriate, shall fix a time and place for a hearing to determine the validity and effectiveness of any right or title to or interest in or under such mining claim which the mining claimant may assert contrary to or in conflict with the limitations or restrictions specified in section 4 of the Act as to unpatented mining claims located after its enactment. The administrative law judge shall notify the department or agency and all mining claimants entitled to notice as the result of the filing of such verified statement of the time and place of such hearing at least 30 days in advance thereof. The notice of hearing shall contain a statement specifying the issues upon which evidence will be submitted at the hearing. Such hearing shall be held in the county where the lands in question, or parts thereof, are located unless the mining claimant agrees otherwise.

§3713.3   Stipulation between parties.

Where verified statements are filed asserting rights to an aggregate of more than twenty mining claims, any single hearing shall be limited to a maximum of twenty mining claims unless the parties affected shall otherwise stipulate and as many separate hearings shall be set as shall be necessary to comply with section 5(c) of the Act. If at any time prior to a hearing the department or agency requesting publication of notice and any person filing a verified statement pursuant to such notice shall so stipulate, then to the extent so stipulated, but only to such extent, no hearing shall be held with respect to rights asserted under that verified statement, and to the extent defined by the stipulation the rights asserted under that verified statement shall be deemed to be unaffected by the notice published pursuant to that request.

§3713.4   Effect of decision affirming a mining claimant's rights.

(a) If the final decision rendered in any hearing held pursuant to section 5 of the Act shall affirm the validity and effectiveness of any mining claimant's right or interest under a mining claim asserted in accordance with the provisions of that section, then no subsequent proceedings under section 5 of the act shall have any force or effect upon the so-affirmed right or interest of such mining claimant under such mining claim.

(b) If it is finally determined as the result of such a hearing that the claimant has no right or title to or interest in or under his mining claim which he may assert contrary to or in conflict with the limitations and restrictions specified in section 4 of the act, then those limitations and restrictions shall apply with respect to such mining claim.

Subpart 3714—Rights of Mining Claimants

Source: 35 FR 9734, June 13, 1970, unless otherwise noted.

§3714.1   Recording by mining claimant of request for copy of notice.

Section 5(d) of the Act provides as follows:

Any person claiming any right under or by virtue of any unpatented mining claim heretofore located and desiring to receive a copy of any notice to mining claimants which may be published as above provided in subsection (a) of this section 5, and which may affect lands embraced in such mining claim, may cause to be filed for record in the county office of record where the notice of certificate of location of such mining claim shall have been recorded, a duly acknowledged request for a copy of any such notice. Such request for copies shall set forth the name and address of the person requesting copies, and shall also set forth, as to each heretofore located unpatented mining claim under which such person asserts rights—

(1) The date of location;

(2) The book and page of the recordation of the notice or certificate of location; and

(3) The section or sections of the public land surveys which embrace such mining claim; or if such lands are unsurveyed, either the section or sections which would probably embrace such mining claim when the public land surveys are extended to such lands or a tie by courses and distances to an approved United States mineral monument. Other than in respect to the requirements of subsection (a) of this section 5 as to personal delivery or mailing of copies of notices and in respect to the provisions of subsection (e) of this section 5, no such request for copies of published notices and no statement or allegation in such request and no recordation thereof shall affect title to any mining claim or to any land or be deemed to constitute constructive notice to any person that the person requesting copies has, or claims, any right, title, or interest in or under any mining claim referred to in such request.

§3714.2   Waiver of rights by mining claimants.

Section 6 of the Act provides as follows:

The owner or owners of any unpatented mining claim heretofore located may waive and relinquish all rights thereunder which are contrary to or in conflict with the limitations or restrictions specified in section 4 of this Act as to hereafter located unpatented mining claims. The execution and acknowledgement of such a waiver and relinquishment by such owner or owners and the recordation thereof in the office where the notice or certificate of location of such mining claim is of record shall render such mining claim thereafter and prior to issuance of patent subject to the limitations and restrictions in section 4 of this Act in all respects as if said mining claim had been located after enactment of this act, but no such waiver or relinquishment shall be deemed in any manner to constitute any concession as to the date of priority of rights under said mining claim or as to the validity thereof.

§3714.3   Protection of existing rights; exclusion of reservation in patents.

The Act in section 7 provides as follows:

Nothing in this Act shall be construed in any manner to limit or restrict or to authorize the limitation or restriction of any existing rights of any claimant under any valid mining claim heretofore located, except as such rights may be limited or restricted as a result of a proceeding pursuant to section 5 of this Act, or as a result of a waiver and relinquishment pursuant to section 6 of this Act; and nothing in this act shall be construed in any manner to authorize inclusion in any patent hereafter issued under the mining laws of the United States for any mining claim heretofore or hereafter located, of any reservation, limitation, or restriction not otherwise authorized by law, or to limit or repeal any existing authority to include any reservation, limitation, or restriction in any such patent, or to limit or restrict any use of the lands covered by any patented or unpatented mining claim by the United States, its lessees, permittees, and licensees which is otherwise authorized by law.

This section makes it clear that all of the rights of mining claimants existing on the date of the Act are preserved and will continue unless: (a) Claimant fails, subject, however, to the provisions of §3712.2-7, to file a verified statement in response to a published notice as provided in section 5(b) of the Act and §3712.2-9; (b) it is determined as a result of a hearing pursuant to section 5(c) that such rights asserted in a verified statement are not valid and effective; (c) the claimant waives and relinquishes his rights pursuant to section 6. It also preserves to all mining claimants the right to a patent unrestricted by anything in the Act and provides that no limitation, reservation or restriction may be inserted in any mineral patent unless authorized by law, but it also makes it clear that all laws in force on the date of its enactment which provide for any such reservation, limitation, or restriction in such patents and all authority of law then existing for the use of lands embraced in unpatented mining claims by the United States, its lessees, permittees, and licensees continue in full force and effect.

Subpart 3715—Use and Occupancy Under the Mining Laws

Authority: 18 U.S.C. 1001, 3571 et seq.; 30 U.S.C. 22, 42, 612; 43 U.S.C. 1061 et seq., 1201, 1457, 1732 (b) and (c), 1733 (a) and (g).

Source: 61 FR 37125, July 16, 1996, unless otherwise noted.

§3715.0-1   What are the purpose and the scope of this subpart?

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this subpart is to manage the use and occupancy of the public lands for the development of locatable mineral deposits by limiting such use or occupancy to that which is reasonably incident. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will prevent abuse of the public lands while recognizing valid rights and uses under the Mining Law of 1872 (30 U.S.C. 22 et seq.) and related laws governing the public lands, regardless of when those rights were created. BLM will take appropriate action to eliminate invalid uses, including unauthorized residential occupancy of the public lands.

(b) Scope. This subpart applies to public lands BLM administers. They do not apply to state or private lands in which the mineral estate has been reserved to the United States. They do not apply to Federal lands administered by other Federal agencies, even though those lands may be subject to the operation of the mining laws.

(c) This subpart does not impair the right of any person to engage in recreational activities or any other authorized activity on public lands BLM administers.

§3715.0-3   What are the legal authorities for this subpart?

The authorities for this subpart are 18 U.S.C. 1001, 3571 et seq.; 30 U.S.C. 22, 42, 612; 43 U.S.C. 1061 et seq., 1201, 1457, 1732 (b) and (c), 1733 (a) and (g).

§3715.0-5   How are certain terms in this subpart defined?

As used in this subpart the term:

Mining laws means all laws that apply to mining of locatable minerals on public lands and which make public lands available for development of locatable minerals. This includes, but is not limited to, the general authorities relating to mining of locatable minerals or to the public lands on which this subpart is based and case law which interprets those authorities.

Mining operations means all functions, work, facilities, and activities reasonably incident to mining or processing of mineral deposits. It includes building roads and other means of access to a mining claim or millsite on public lands.

Occupancy means full or part-time residence on the public lands. It also means activities that involve residence; the construction, presence, or maintenance of temporary or permanent structures that may be used for such purposes; or the use of a watchman or caretaker for the purpose of monitoring activities. Residence or structures include, but are not limited to, barriers to access, fences, tents, motor homes, trailers, cabins, houses, buildings, and storage of equipment or supplies.

Permanent structure means a structure fixed to the ground by any of the various types of foundations, slabs, piers, poles, or other means allowed by building codes. The term also includes a structure placed on the ground that lacks foundations, slabs, piers, or poles, and that can only be moved through disassembly into its component parts or by techniques commonly used in house moving. The term does not apply to tents or lean-tos.

Public lands means lands open to the operation of the mining laws which BLM administers, including lands covered by unpatented mining claims or millsites.

Prospecting or exploration means the search for mineral deposits by geological, geophysical, geochemical, or other techniques. It also includes, but is not limited to, sampling, drilling, or developing surface or underground workings to evaluate the type, extent, quantity, or quality of mineral values present.

Reasonably incident means the statutory standard “prospecting, mining, or processing operations and uses reasonably incident thereto” (30 U.S.C. 612). It is a shortened version of the statutory standard. It includes those actions or expenditures of labor and resources by a person of ordinary prudence to prospect, explore, define, develop, mine, or beneficiate a valuable mineral deposit, using methods, structures, and equipment appropriate to the geological terrain, mineral deposit, and stage of development and reasonably related activities.

Substantially regular work means work on, or that substantially and directly benefits, a mineral property, including nearby properties under your control. The work must be associated with the search for and development of mineral deposits or the processing of ores. It includes active and continuing exploration, mining, and beneficiation or processing of ores. It may also include assembly or maintenance of equipment, work on physical improvements, and procurement of supplies, incidental to activities meeting the conditions of §§3715.2 and 3715.2-1. It may also include off-site trips associated with these activities. The term also includes a seasonal, but recurring, work program.

Unnecessary or undue degradation, as applied to unauthorized uses, means those activities that are not reasonably incident and are not authorized under any other applicable law or regulation. As applied to authorized uses, the term is used as defined in 43 CFR 3802.0-5 and 3809.0-5.

[61 FR 37125, July 16, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 59822, Nov. 5, 1997]

§3715.0-9   Information collection.

(a) BLM has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget the information collection requirements contained in this subpart under 44 U.S.C. 3507 and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and assigned clearance number 1004-0169. BLM collects the information so that it may manage use and occupancy of public lands under the mining laws by prohibiting unauthorized uses and occupancies. A response to BLM is mandatory and required to obtain the benefit of occupying the public lands for reasonably incident activities.

(b) BLM estimates the public reporting burden for this information to average two hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to the Information Collection Clearance Officer (DW-110), Bureau of Land Management, Building 50, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225-0047, and the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project, 1004-0169, Washington, DC 20503.

§3715.1   Do the regulations in this subpart apply to my use or occupancy?

To determine if the regulations in this subpart apply to your activities, refer to Table 1 in this section.

Table 1

Applicability of this subpart   
If your proposed use of the public lands—Then—
Includes occupancy and is “reasonably incident” as defined by this subpartThe provisions of this subpart apply to you. You must seek concurrence from BLM before beginning this use and comply with all provisions of this subpart.
Involves the placement, construction, or maintenance of enclosures, gates, fences, or signsThe provisions of this subpart apply to you. You must seek concurrence from BLM before beginning this use and comply with all provisions of this subpart.
Is reasonably incident, but does not involve occupancyThe provisions of this subpart do not apply to you, except for §§3715.4, 3715.5 and 3715.7. You are subject to the applicable regulations in 43 CFR part 3800.
Is not reasonably incident (involving rights-of-way, for example), but may be allowed under the public land lawsThe occupancy consultation provisions of this subpart do not apply to you. Your use is not allowed under this subpart. You must seek authorization under 43 CFR Group 2900.
Is not allowed under the public land laws, the mining laws, the mineral leasing laws, or other applicable lawsYour use is prohibited. You must not begin or continue unauthorized uses.
Involves occupancy of a site, or any subsequent site within a 25-mile radius of the initially occupied site, for 14 days or less in any 90-day periodThe provisions of this subpart do not apply to you. Refer to the applicable regulations in 43 CFR part 8360 and pertinent State Director supplementary rules. 43 CFR part 8360 will not otherwise apply to a reasonably incident use or occupancy that this subpart allows.

§3715.2   What activities do I have to be engaged in to allow me to occupy the public lands?

In order to occupy the public lands under the mining laws for more than 14 calendar days in any 90-day period within a 25-mile radius of the initially occupied site, you must be engaged in certain activities. Those activities that are the reason for your occupancy must:

(a) Be reasonably incident;

(b) Constitute substantially regular work;

(c) Be reasonably calculated to lead to the extraction and beneficiation of minerals;

(d) Involve observable on-the-ground activity that BLM may verify under §3715.7; and

(e) Use appropriate equipment that is presently operable, subject to the need for reasonable assembly, maintenance, repair or fabrication of replacement parts.

§3715.2-1   What additional characteristic(s) must my occupancy have?

In addition to the requirements specified in §3715.2, your occupancy must involve one or more of the following:

(a) Protecting exposed, concentrated or otherwise accessible valuable minerals from theft or loss;

(b) Protecting from theft or loss appropriate, operable equipment which is regularly used, is not readily portable, and cannot be protected by means other than occupancy;

(c) Protecting the public from appropriate, operable equipment which is regularly used, is not readily portable, and if left unattended, creates a hazard to public safety;

(d) Protecting the public from surface uses, workings, or improvements which, if left unattended, create a hazard to public safety; or

(e) Being located in an area so isolated or lacking in physical access as to require the mining claimant, operator, or workers to remain on site in order to work a full shift of a usual and customary length. A full shift is ordinarily 8 hours and does not include travel time to the site from a community or area in which housing may be obtained.

§3715.2-2   How do I justify occupancy by a caretaker or watchman?

If you assert the need for a watchman or caretaker to occupy the public lands to protect valuable or hazardous property, equipment, or workings, you must show that the need for the occupancy is both reasonably incident and continual. You must show that a watchman or caretaker is required to be present either whenever the operation is not active or whenever you or your workers are not present on the site.

§3715.2-3   Under what circumstances will BLM allow me to temporarily occupy a site for more than 14 days?

BLM may allow temporary occupancy at a single site to extend beyond the 14-day period described in §3715.1 if you need to secure the site beyond 14 days through the use of a watchman as allowed by §3715.2-2, and you have begun consultation with BLM under §3715.3. If BLM decides not to concur in the occupancy, the temporary occupancy must stop.

§3715.3   Must I consult with BLM before occupancy?

Before beginning occupancy, you must consult with BLM about the requirements of this subpart. See Table 2 in this section.

Table 2

Consultation requirements   
If you are proposing a use that would involve occupancyThen.
Under a plan of operations or a modification submitted under 43 CFR part 3800, subpart 3802 or subpart 3809You must include in the proposed plan of operations the materials required by §3715.3-2 describing any proposed occupancy for BLM review concurrently with review of the plan of operation.
   BLM will determine whether you have complied with the requirements of this subpart together with its decision approving or modifying the plan.
Under the notice provisions of 43 CFR part 3800, subpart 3809You must submit the materials required by §3715.3-2 together with the materials submitted under 43 CFR 3809.1-3 for BLM review concurrently with its review of the proposed activity.
   Any activities in the notice that do not involve occupancy and are reasonably incident may proceed in accordance with 43 CFR part 3800, subpart 3809.
And is a “casual use” under 43 CFR 3809.1-2 or does not require a plan of operations under 43 CFR 3802.1-2 and 3809.1-4 or a notice under 43 CFR 3809.1-3You are subject to the consultation provisions of this subpart and must submit the materials required by §3715.3-2 to BLM.
   Any casual use activities that do not involve occupancy and are reasonably incident may proceed in accordance with 43 CFR part 3800, subpart 3809.
Or enclosures, fences, gates, or signs intended to exclude the general publicYou are subject to the consultation provisions of this subpart and must submit the materials required by §3715.3-2 to BLM.

§3715.3-1   At what point may I begin occupancy?

You must not begin occupancy until—

(a) You have complied with either 43 CFR part 3800, subpart 3802 or 3809 and this subpart, and BLM has completed its review and made the required determinations under the applicable subparts, and

(b) You have obtained all federal, state and local mining, reclamation, and waste disposal permits, approvals, or other authorizations for the particular use or occupancy as required under this subpart.

§3715.3-2   What information must I provide to BLM about my proposed occupancy?

You must give BLM a detailed map that identifies the site and the placement of the items specified in paragraphs (c), (d), and (e) of this section, and a written description of the proposed occupancy that describes in detail:

(a) How the proposed occupancy is reasonably incident;

(b) How the proposed occupancy meets the conditions specified in §3715.2 and §3715.2-1;

(c) Where you will place temporary or permanent structures for occupancy;

(d) The location of and reason you need enclosures, fences, gates, and signs intended to exclude the general public;

(e) The location of reasonable public passage or access routes through or around the area to adjacent public lands; and

(f) The estimated period of use of the structures, enclosures, fences, gates, and signs, as well as the schedule for removal and reclamation when operations end.

§3715.3-3   How does BLM process the information I submit about my proposed occupancy?

BLM will review all proposed occupancies and all proposed enclosures, fences, gates, or signs intended to exclude the general public to determine if your proposed occupancy or use will conform to the provisions of §§3715.2, 3715.2-1 and 3715.5. BLM will complete its review of a proposed occupancy not involving a plan of operations within 30 business days of receipt of the materials, unless it concludes that the determination cannot be made until:

(a) 30 business days after it prepares necessary environmental documents, and

(b) 30 business days after it has complied with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, and/or other applicable statutes, if applicable.

§3715.3-4   How will BLM notify me of the outcome of its review process?

At the conclusion of the review, BLM will make a written determination of concurrence or non-concurrence, and will send it to you. For operations conducted under a plan of operations, BLM will include this written determination in the decision that approves, modifies, or rejects the plan.

§3715.3-5   What will BLM's notification include?

(a) BLM will include in each determination of concurrence a statement requiring you to continue to comply with §§3715.2, 3715.2-1 and 3715.5.

(b) BLM will specify in each determination of non-concurrence how the proposed occupancy fails to meet the conditions of §3715.2, §3715.2-1 or §3715.5, and will provide you an opportunity to modify the proposed occupancy or appeal the determination under §3715.9.

§3715.3-6   May I begin occupancy if I have not received concurrence from BLM?

If you have not received concurrence from BLM, you must not begin occupancy even though you have submitted, or plan to submit, an amended occupancy proposal or an appeal.

§3715.4   What if I have an existing use or occupancy?

(a) By August 18, 1997, all existing uses and occupancies must meet the applicable requirements of this subpart. If not, BLM will either issue you a notice of noncompliance or order any existing use or occupancy failing to meet the requirements of this subpart to suspend or cease under §3715.7-1. BLM will also order you to reclaim the land under 43 CFR part 3800, subpart 3802 or 3809 to BLM's satisfaction within a specified, reasonable time, unless otherwise expressly authorized.

(b) If you are occupying the public lands under the mining laws on August 15, 1996, you may continue your occupancy for one year after that date, without being subject to the procedures this subpart imposes, if:

(1) You notify BLM by October 15, 1996 of the existence of the occupancy using a format specified by BLM; and

(2) BLM has no pending trespass action against you concerning your occupancy.

(c) The one-year grace period provided in paragraph (b) of this section will not apply if at any time BLM determines that your use or occupancy is not reasonably incident and the continued presence of the use or occupancy is a threat to health, safety or the environment. In this situation, BLM will order an immediate temporary suspension of activities under §3715.7-1(a).

(d) If you have no existing occupancies, but are engaged in uses of the public lands under the mining law, you are subject to the standards in §3715.5. BLM will determine if your existing uses comply with those standards during normal inspection visits to the area and during BLM review of notices and plans of operations filed under 43 CFR part 3800.

§3715.4-1   What happens after I give BLM written notification of my existing occupancy?

(a) BLM will visit your site during the normal course of inspection to obtain the information described in §3715.3-2. After the visit, BLM will make a determination of concurrence or non-concurrence.

(b) You must provide the information described in §3715.3-2 to BLM. You may provide it either in writing or verbally during a site visit by BLM field staff.

§3715.4-2   What if I do not notify BLM of my existing occupancy?

If you do not provide the written notice required in §3715.4, you will be subject to the enforcement actions of §3715.7-1, the civil remedies of §3715.7-2, and the criminal penalties of §3715.8.

§3715.4-3   What if BLM does not concur in my existing use or occupancy?

If BLM determines that all or any part of your existing use or occupancy is not reasonably incident:

(a) BLM may order a suspension or cessation of all or part of the use or occupancy under §3715.7-1;

(b) BLM may order the land to be reclaimed to its satisfaction and specify a reasonable time for completion of reclamation under 43 CFR part 3800; and

(c) BLM may order you to apply within 30 days after the date of notice from BLM for appropriate authorization under the regulations in 43 CFR Group 2900.

§3715.4-4   What if there is a dispute over the fee simple title to the lands on which my existing occupancy is located?

BLM may defer a determination of concurrence or non-concurrence with your occupancy until the underlying fee simple title to the land has been finally determined by the Department of the Interior. During this time, your existing occupancy may continue, subject to §3715.5(a).

§3715.5   What standards apply to my use or occupancy?

(a) Your use or occupancy must be reasonably incident. In all uses and occupancies, you must prevent or avoid “unnecessary or undue degradation” of the public lands and resources.

(b) Your uses must conform to all applicable federal and state environmental standards and you must have obtained all required permits before beginning, as required under 43 CFR part 3800. This means getting permits and authorizations and meeting standards required by state and federal law, including, but not limited to, the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.), as required under 43 CFR part 3800.

(c) Your occupancies must conform to all applicable federal and state environmental standards and you must have obtained all required permits before beginning, as required under this subpart and 43 CFR part 3800. This means getting permits and authorizations and meeting standards required by state and federal law, including, but not limited to, the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.), as required under this subpart and 43 CFR part 3800.

(d) If your prospecting or exploration activities involve only surface activities, you must not place permanent structures on the public lands. Any temporary structures you place on the public lands during prospecting or exploration will be allowed only for the duration of the activities, unless BLM expressly and in writing allows them to remain longer. If your prospecting or exploration activities involve subsurface activities, you may place permanent structures on the public lands, if BLM concurs.

(e) All permanent and temporary structures you place on the public lands must conform with the applicable state or local building, fire, and electrical codes, and occupational safety and health and mine safety standards. If state or local codes require, you must obtain a certificate of occupancy or its equivalent before you begin use or occupancy involving permanent structures. If state or local law requires, you must also acquire appropriate sewerage and sanitation permits before the occupancy or use of a permanent structure placed on the public lands.

§3715.5-1   What standards apply to ending my use or occupancy?

Unless BLM expressly allows them in writing to remain on the public lands, you must remove all permanent structures, temporary structures, material, equipment, or other personal property placed on the public lands during authorized use or occupancy under this subpart. You have 90 days after your operations end to remove these items. If BLM concurs in writing, this provision will not apply to seasonal operations that are temporarily suspended for less than one year and expected to continue during the next operating season or to operations that are suspended for no longer than one year due to market or labor conditions.

§3715.5-2   What happens to property I leave behind?

Any property you leave on the public lands beyond the 90-day period described in §3715.5-1 becomes property of the United States and is subject to removal and disposition at BLM's discretion consistent with applicable laws and regulations. You are liable for the costs BLM incurs in removing and disposing of the property.

§3715.6   What things does BLM prohibit under this subpart?

Except where other applicable laws or regulations allow, BLM prohibits the following:

(a) Placing, constructing, maintaining or using residences or structures for occupancy not meeting:

(1) The conditions of occupancy under §§3715.2 or 3715.2-1; or

(2) Any of the standards of occupancy under §3715.5;

(b) Beginning occupancy before the filing, review, and approval or modification of a plan of operation as required under 43 CFR part 3800, subparts 3802 or 3809;

(c) Beginning occupancy before consultation with BLM as required by §3715.3 for activities that do not require a plan of operations under 43 CFR part 3800, subpart 3802 or that are defined as casual use or notice activities under 43 CFR part 3800, subpart 3809;

(d) Beginning occupancy without receiving a determination of concurrence because the proposed occupancy or fencing will not conform to the provisions of §3715.2, §3715.2-1 or §3715.5;

(e) Not complying with any order issued under this subpart within the time frames the order provides;

(f) Preventing or obstructing free passage or transit over or through the public lands by force, threats, or intimidation; provided, however, that reasonable security and safety measures in accordance with this subpart are allowed;

(g) Placing, constructing, or maintaining enclosures, gates, or fences, or signs intended to exclude the general public, without BLM's concurrence;

(h) Causing a fire or safety hazard or creating a public nuisance;

(i) Not complying with the notification and other requirements under §3715.4 relating to an existing occupancy; and

(j) Conducting activities on the public lands that are not reasonably incident, including, but not limited to: non-mining related habitation, cultivation, animal maintenance or pasturage, and development of small trade or manufacturing concerns; storage, treatment, processing, or disposal of non-mineral, hazardous or toxic materials or waste that are generated elsewhere and brought onto the public lands; recycling or reprocessing of manufactured material such as scrap electronic parts, appliances, photographic film, and chemicals; searching for buried treasure, treasure trove or archaeological specimens; operating hobby and curio shops; cafes; tourist stands; and hunting and fishing camps.

§3715.7   How will BLM inspect my use or occupancy and enforce this subpart?

(a) BLM field staff is authorized to physically inspect all structures, equipment, workings, and uses located on the public lands. The inspection may include verification of the nature of your use and occupancy to ensure that your use or occupancy is, or continues to be, reasonably incident and in compliance with §§3715.2, 3715.2-1, 3715.4-1 and 3715.5.

(b) BLM will not inspect the inside of structures used solely for residential purposes, unless an occupant or a court of competent jurisdiction gives permission.

§3715.7-1   What types of enforcement action can BLM take if I do not meet the requirements of this subpart?

BLM has four types of orders that it can issue depending on the circumstances:

(a) Immediate suspension. (1) BLM may order an immediate, temporary suspension of all or any part of your use or occupancy if:

(i) All or part of your use or occupancy is not reasonably incident or is not in compliance with §§3715.2, 3715.2-1, 3715.3-1(b), 3715.5 or 3715.5-1, and

(ii) an immediate, temporary suspension is necessary to protect health, safety or the environment.

(2) BLM will presume that health, safety or the environment are at risk and will order your use or occupancy to be immediately and temporarily suspended if:

(i) You are conducting an occupancy under a determination of concurrence under this section; and

(ii) You fail at any time to meet any of the standards in §3715.3-1(b) or §3715.5(b), (c), or (e).

(3) The suspension order will describe—

(i) How you are failing or have failed to comply with the requirements of this subpart; and

(ii) The actions, in addition to suspension of the use or occupancy, that you must take to correct the noncompliance and the time by which you must suspend the use or occupancy. It will also describe the time, not to exceed 30 days, within which you must complete corrective action.

(4) The suspension order will not be stayed by an appeal.

(b) Cessation order. (1) BLM may order a temporary or permanent cessation of all or any part of your use or occupancy if:

(i) All or any part of your use or occupancy is not reasonably incident but does not endanger health, safety or the environment, to the extent it is not reasonably incident;

(ii) You fail to timely comply with a notice of noncompliance issued under paragraph (c) of this section;

(iii) You fail to timely comply with an order issued under paragraph (d) of this section; or

(iv) You fail to take corrective action during a temporary suspension ordered under paragraph (a) of this section.

(2) The cessation order will describe—

(i) The ways in which your use or occupancy is not reasonably incident; is in violation of a notice of noncompliance issued under paragraph (c) of this section; or is in violation of an order issued under paragraphs (a) or (d) of this section, as appropriate;

(ii) The actions, in addition to cessation of the use or occupancy, that you must take to correct the noncompliance;

(iii) The time by which you must cease the use or occupancy, not to exceed 30 days from the date the Interior Board of Land Appeals affirms BLM's order; and

(iv) The length of the cessation.

(c) Notice of noncompliance. (1) If your use or occupancy is not in compliance with any requirements of this subpart, and BLM has not invoked paragraph (a) of this section, BLM will issue an order that describes—

(i) How you are failing or have failed to comply with the requirements of this subpart;

(ii) The actions that you must take to correct the noncompliance and the time, not to exceed 30 days, within which you must start corrective action; and

(iii) The time within which you must complete corrective action.

(2) If you do not start and complete corrective action within the time allowed, BLM may order an immediate suspension under paragraph (a) of this section, if necessary, or cessation of the use or occupancy under paragraph (b) of this section.

(d) Other. If you are conducting an activity that is not reasonably incident but may be authorized under 43 CFR Group 2900 or 8300, or, as to sites in Alaska, 43 CFR part 2560, BLM may order you to apply within 30 days from the date you receive the order for authorization under the listed regulations.

[61 FR 37125, July 16, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 59822, Nov. 5, 1997]

§3715.7-2   What happens if I do not comply with a BLM order?

If you do not comply with a BLM order issued under §3715.7-1, the Department of the Interior may request the United States Attorney to institute a civil action in United States District Court for an injunction or order to prevent you from using or occupying the public lands in violation of the regulations of this subpart. This relief may be in addition to the enforcement actions described in §3715.7-1 and the penalties described in §3715.8.

§3715.8   What penalties are available to BLM for violations of this subpart?

The penalties for individuals and organizations are as follows:

(a) Individuals. If you knowingly and willfully violate the requirements of this subpart, you may be subject to arrest and trial under section 303(a) of FLPMA (43 U.S.C. 1733(a)) and/or section 4 of the Unlawful Occupancy and Inclosures of Public Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1064). If you are convicted, you will be subject to a fine of not more than $100,000 or the alternative fine provided for in the applicable provisions of 18 U.S.C. 3571, or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, or both, for each offense.

(b) Organizations. If an organization or corporation knowingly or willfully violates the requirements of this subpart, it is subject to trial and, if convicted, will be subject to a fine of not more than $200,000, or the alternative fine provided for in the applicable provisions of 18 U.S.C. 3571.

§3715.8-1   What happens if I make false statements to BLM?

You are subject to arrest and trial before a United States District Court if, in any matter under this subpart, you knowingly and willfully falsify, conceal or cover up by any trick, scheme or device a material fact, or make any false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations, or make or use any false writings or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry. If you are convicted, you will be fined not more than $250,000 or the alternative fine provided for in the applicable provisions of 18 U.S.C. 3571, or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

§3715.9   What appeal rights do I have?

If you are adversely affected by a BLM decision, order or determination made under this subpart, you may appeal the decision, order or determination to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) under the provisions of 43 CFR part 4.

§3715.9-1   Does an appeal to IBLA suspend a BLM decision?

(a) An appeal to IBLA does not suspend an order requiring an immediate, temporary suspension of occupancy issued under §3715.7-1(a) before the appeal or while it is pending. In this case, the provisions of 43 CFR 4.21(a) do not apply.

(b) The provisions of 43 CFR 4.21(a) apply to all other BLM decisions, orders or determinations under this subpart.



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