Gold prospectors file Alaskan claims to exact and develop a valuable mineral deposit that they have discovered for the right of possession, and a parcel of land. However this right doesn’t include the surface rights exclusively.
On lands that are administered by the Federal government, there are three basic kinds of minerals: salable, leasable, and locatable. Alaskan claims are staked on public domain lands where there are locatable minerals.
Locatable minerals include both nonmetallic minerals such as mica, asbestos, and fluorspar and metallic minerals lead, silver, and gold. As a result of the complex legal requirements for discovery, it is almost impossible to list all of the locatable minerals.
There are some significant differences between the requirements for Alaskan claims and those for Federal claims. Since a prospector never knows where in Alaska the gold will be located, prospectors need to be knowledgeable in both prior to ongoing prospecting.
As a result of the sensitive areas such as Federal Wildlife Refuges, National Preserves, and National Parks in Alaska, over 75% of the land that is owned by the US Government in Alaska isn’t open to mining since it is located in National Preserves, National Parks, and National Monuments. Much of the remaining lands have already been claimed but there are some lands that are open to Alaskan claims. Therefore, the first thing that is required for a prospector to obtain Alaskan claims is some research about the land status to determine if the land has already been claimed or is available for mineral entry.
Basically there are two kinds of Alaskan claims which are placer and lode.
Placer claims include all deposits that aren’t located within a lode claim. They need to be appropriated by a placer claim except when there's rock in the place claims, such as veins of quartz. Where practical, placer claims are located by legal subdivision such as complete lots and aliquot part. The maximum size for an association placer claim for a minimum of eight locators is 160 acres and is 20 acres for each locator. In Alaska, the maximum size for a placer claim is 40 acres.
Lode claims are claims that include lodes that have well defined boundaries or classic veins. Lode claims also include other rock in places that have deposits of valuable minerals and can be some wide locations of mineralized rock. Some examples include veins that bear a large volume of metallic minerals such as gold and quartz but have a low grade of disseminated deposits of gold.