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Originally posted by photobug
I've looked into this before. AS the saying goes nothing is free. I believe with a mining claim you have to pay yearly upkeep fees as well as have to make minor improvements to the property. I think there are also regulations in place that prohibit you from building a 3,000 dream home.
Regardless of this a mining claim allows you the legal use of the property for mining such as gold mining etc. I don't think you could operate a strip mine as you are not allowed to destroy the property. It is usually located in protected wilderness areas.
I think in a SHTF scenerio a mining claim would be helpful for your storage and planning needs but since the property isn't really yours I would think you are a little limited as compared to buying a small piece of property.