General Mining Act Law and Legal Definition

The General mining Act of 1872 is a federal statute. The Act is one among the major statutes on federal land management policy. The Act generally deals with hard rock mining. The Act authorizes and governs, prospecting and mining for economic minerals, such as gold, platinum, and silver, on federal public lands. The Act promotes the development and settlement of publicly owned lands.

The Act provides that any U.S. citizen of 18 years and above and any foreign company with subsidiaries incorporated in the U.S can freely enter a public domain land to explore minerals. No permission is required for exploring minerals. Although the Act provides permission to the U.S citizens to explore minerals, exploring in certain public domain lands are excluded by the Act. National park is an example of a public domain land excluded from exploring.