Division of Lands & Minerals


Preference rights lease availability list

Revised January 25, 2010

Please note that this leasing program is not for recreational prospecting activities, such as gold panning, but for parties capable of exploring hardrock mineral prospects using modern exploration methods. Information on recreational prospecting

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has established a list of mineral rights continuously available through application for non-ferrous metallic mineral leasing.

The Preference Rights mineral leases authorize exploration and development of non-ferrous metallic minerals and impose certain requirements on the lessee. These requirements include:

In addition, the state lessee must comply with all regulatory laws.

Mineral rights may be included on the list if they do not contain an identified mineral resource and the area is not being explored by multiple parties. The mineral rights must have been offered at a public lease sale within the last four years. Also, the Department does not include mineral rights on the list if a state metallic mineral lease is in effect within three miles.

As of January 25, 2010, there are no mineral rights available through the preference rights list.

The Department may add mining units to the preference rights lease availability list only on the first business day of each month. The Department may withdraw mining units from the list at any time, and mining units shall be deemed withdrawn from the list without any further action by the Department as soon as the mining units no longer meet the criteria to be included on the list.

Minnesota Rules, part 6125.0610, provides that at the time of application the applicant for a preference rights lease must be qualified to do business in Minnesota and must have qualified to conduct exploratory borings in Minnesota by registering with the Department of Natural Resources. Preference rights leases are awarded, with the approval of the State Executive Council, to the first qualified applicant who files an application that is not rejected under the leasing rules.

Application forms, instructions on how applications are to be submitted, copies of the leasing rules, and further information may be obtained from:

Kathy A. Lewis
Department of Natural Resources, Division of Lands and Minerals
500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4045
tel. (651) 259-5404
fax: (651) 296-5939
email: kathy.lewis@state.mn.us