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Minerals and Aggregates
dredge on umpqua river
Dredging on the Umpqua River, photo John Lilly
Oregon is rich in mineral resources. Throughout the state’s history, a wide variety of minerals have been produced from many locations.
 
Because of its mineral endowment and varied geology, mining companies still look at Oregon as a place to explore for and develop mineral deposits.
 
Similarly, many people come to the state each year to prospect for gold and search for mineral specimens.
 
The Department of State Lands (DSL) is responsible for the management, leasing, and sale of state-owned mineral rights on approximately 3 million acres throughout Oregon.
 
These mineral rights occur on both the lands managed by DSL, as well as on lands owned by other state agencies.
 
DSL receives approximately $1.3 million per year in mineral royalties, the majority of which is derived from sand and gravel mined from state-owned submerged and submersible land.
 
Among the other minerals produced on state-owned land have been gold, rock, diatomite and natural gas.
 
Most of the Department’s mineral rights are located in eastern Oregon, particularly in Lake, Harney and Malheur counties. These mineral rights generally occur as a "split estate," underlying the surface of land owned by either a private party or another government agency, most often the Bureau of Land Management.
 
Throughout the rest of Oregon, DSL’s mineral rights typically are associated with scattered state-owned parcels, large forested areas, and state-owned submerged and submersible land.
 
If you want to know whether state-owned mineral rights occur in a specific area, or if these rights are reserved under a current exploration permit or lease, contact DSL.
 
Mining Activities Regulated By DSL
 
If you are involved in any of the following activities on state-owned land, you should contact DSL to determine what, if any, form of authorization such as a lease, permit, general authorization or license you will need to obtain from the agency.
  • Exploring for mineral deposits.
  • Collecting mineral samples, including petrified wood and semi-precious stones.
  • Recreational mining such as panning, sluicing, or dredging for gold or other metals in or along Oregon’s streams.
  • Developing or mining mineral deposits.
  • Removing sand and gravel from both upland as well as state-owned submerged and submersible lands.
 
 
 
More Information...
 
 Sand and Gravel License or Lease
 Mining FAQs
 Oregon Rivers Closed to Recreational Mining
 
 Bureau of Land Management
 Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries