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Moore v. State

ELR Citation: 30 ELR 20218
Nos. No. S-8624, 992 P.2d 567/(Alaska, 11/26/1999)

The court holds that the Alaska mining commissioner permissibly nullified the mining rights acquired by a mining claims locator on state-selected federal lands. The court first holds that the commissioner did not err in finding that the locator was not qualified to conduct business in Alaska and, thus, was not qualified to acquire mining rights under state law. Contrary to the locator's argument, the state does not convey an ephemeral claim in waiting for state selected federal lands that becomes a mining right by operation of law when the federal government tentatively approves the state-selected lands. If there is no mining right for the state to void, there is no mining right for the state to convey, and the locator's state-selected land locations would be worthless. In addition, the state has a present substantial interest in state-selected lands before tentative approval by the federal government. These rights become mining claims when the federal government conveys the selection to the state. The locator acquired mining rights at the time it located state-selected lands. Therefore, the locator acquired his rights by location, not by operation of law.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (12 pp., ELR Order No. L-136).

Counsel for Appellant
Thomas E. Meacham
Law Offices of Thomas E. Meacham
9500 Prospect Dr., Anchorage AK 99516
(907) 346-1077

Counsel for Appellees
Lawrence Z. Ostrovsky, Ass't Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
1031 W. 4th St., Ste. 200, Anchorage AK 99501
(907) 269-5100