MINES AND MINING
MINERAL RIGHTS IN STATE LANDS
47-704. Leases of mineral rights in state lands. (1) The state board of land commissioners may lease in tracts of sizes as the board may deem fair for prospecting, exploration, and mining of mineral deposits, except for leases for oil, gas and other hydrocarbons that may be contained in any portion of the unsold lands of the state or that may be contained in state lands sold with a reservation of mineral deposits or that belong to the state of Idaho by reason of being situate between the high water marks of navigable rivers of the state, for such annual rental, not less than one dollar ($1.00) per acre per annum, and for such royalty upon the product as the board may deem fair and in the interest of the state, except in the case of state oil and gas leases wherein the royalty to the state shall be not less than twelve and one-half percent (12 1/2%), and provided that the minimum royalty shall not be less than two and one-half percent (2 1/2%) and not more than market conditions.
(2) All mineral leases, except leases for oil, gas, and other hydrocarbons, and geothermal resources of state school lands and for lands belonging to the state of Idaho, shall be for a term of up to twenty (20) years and shall be continued if any of the following provisions are met:
(a) Precious metals, minerals, mineral concentrates, mineral products, or ores are produced in paying quantities;
(b) The lessee has negotiated and remitted a prepaid royalty no less than five dollars ($5.00) per acre per year;
(c) The lessee in good faith conducts exploration, prospecting, work, or mining operations thereon;
(d) The mineral lease is undergoing a regulatory approval process for exploration, prospecting, or mining; or
(e) The lessee conducts work on land adjacent or near the leased premises as a single mining operation, including construction of infrastructure associated with mining.
(3) Provided, that the leaseholder of any mineral lease except leases for oil, gas, and other hydrocarbons, and geothermal resources heretofore or hereafter issued, upon the expiration of the initial lease and all renewals thereof, shall be given the preferential right to renew such lease or renewal leases under such readjustment of the terms and conditions as the board may determine to be necessary in the interest of the state.
(4) All applications received, whether by mail or by personal delivery over the counter, shall be immediately stamped with the date and hour of filing. Simultaneous filings result when two (2) or more applications are received for the same lands during the same hour of the same day. Simultaneous filings shall be resolved by competitive bidding. This provision does not apply to applications received from an applicant having a preferential right under this section. In the absence of a simultaneous filing, and except for lands and resources which may be designated for competitive bidding, right of priority to a mineral lease shall be determined by the first qualified applicant who shall file a completed, signed application on the form of the department of lands or exact copy thereof between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. during any business day, together with the application fee set by the board.
(5) Applications for mineral leases shall be made under oath in such form as the board may prescribe, and the applicant shall describe the land, specify the particular mineral or minerals, and give such additional information as may be required by the rules and regulations of the board. If the applicant for a lease has previously filed a certificate of location, as provided in section 47-703, Idaho Code, upon any part of the land desired to be leased, such application shall be given a preferential right to the land covered by his location; that no lands upon which a mineral location has been duly made and recorded as provided in section 47-703, Idaho Code, shall be leased for mining purposes during the two (2) year periods to any applicant except the person having made such location; provided, however, that no locations may be made for oil and gas deposits or lands or for geothermal resources.
(6) Any motorized exploration as defined in section 47-703, Idaho Code, on the lands between the ordinary high water marks of any navigable river of the state shall be prohibited except upon written approval by the board and submission of a bond to the department in the form and amount set by the board; and, if applicable, an operator shall also comply with the Idaho dredge and placer mining protection act, chapter 13, title 47, Idaho Code; provided, that in all instances an operator shall comply with the stream protection act and all other applicable laws and rules of the state.
(7) Upon receipt by the state board of land commissioners of an application to lease any lands which may belong to the state of Idaho by reason of being situate between the high water marks of navigable rivers of the state, the board shall cause, at the expense of the applicant, a notice of such application to be published once a week for two (2) issues in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or counties in which said lands described in said application are situated. The board or its authorized representative shall hold a public hearing on the application, if requested in writing, no later than thirty (30) days after the last published notice by ten (10) persons whose lawful rights to use the waters applied for may be injured thereby, or by an association presenting a petition with signatures of not less than ten (10) such aggrieved parties; provided that the board may order a public hearing in the first instance. The board shall consider fully all written and oral submissions respecting the application.
(8) Provided, however, that the state board of land commissioners shall send notice of any such application for leasing the bed of navigable rivers to the director of the department of water resources, who, if the director thinks advisable, shall at the expense of the applicant make an investigation. If said investigation shows that the rights of interested parties may be jeopardized by the issuance of the proposed lease, the director shall give notice of such applications to parties affected thereby. If it shall appear to the state board of land commissioners that the leasing of any lands between the high water marks of any navigable river will be injurious to the rights of any person or persons having the right to the use of the waters thereof, for irrigation, power, or any other lawful purpose, the state board of land commissioners shall deny such application.
(9) Mineral leases granted according to this section, including but not limited to leases that have been awarded but not executed, shall comply with the following terms and conditions:
(a) After granting of a lease, no fees or payments shall be charged to lessees except for royalty payments, including prepaid and production, and rent per acre per annum.
(b) Rent per acre per annum may be indexed for inflation, but no more than three percent (3%) per annum. The rental paid shall be deducted from the royalties as they accrue for the life of the lease.
(c) No more than one (1) lease may be issued for the same mineral on the same land.
(d) Only one (1) lessee may hold multiple mineral leases on the same land.
(e) In the event of an exchange or sale involving leased lands, the purchaser shall accept and be assigned to perform the exact terms and conditions set forth in the lease as the lessor.
(f) The leaseholder demonstrates a mineral resource is present on the public lands using industry standard to estimate or project a mineral resource that is likely viable for future mineral development. The board shall recognize its role as a partner on behalf of state lands and provide confidentiality to the leaseholders regarding resource estimates that may be reported. If the leaseholder determines in the future to drop any mineral lease, the board may use this information for public consumption to encourage and support mineral development on those leases.
(g) No less than one hundred eighty (180) days prior to the expiration date of the mineral lease, lease terms and conditions shall be fairly modified and readjusted if needed. If an agreement cannot be reached, the lessor and lessee shall engage in good faith mediation. The lease shall remain in full force and effect during the mediation.
[(47-704) added 1923, ch. 96, sec. 6, p. 115; am. 1925, ch. 220, sec. 3, p. 404; am. 1937, ch. 124, sec. 2, p. 185; am. 1939, ch. 99, sec. 1, p. 166; am. 1949, ch. 77, sec. 1, p. 135; am. 1951, ch. 43, sec. 1, p. 52; am. 1957, ch. 201, sec. 1, p. 416; am. 1957, ch. 210, sec. 1, p. 439; am. 1967, ch. 225, sec. 1, p. 676; am. 1980, ch. 31, sec. 1, p. 54; am. 1981, ch. 325, sec. 5, p. 679; am. 1986, ch. 81, sec. 3, p. 240; am. 1990, ch. 316, sec. 2, p. 863; am. 1990, ch. 317, sec. 2, p. 866; am. 2020, ch. 341, sec. 2, p. 999; am. 2021, ch. 321, sec. 34, p. 975.]