Mining groups are reporting that the BLM will increase annual maintenance fees on association placer mining claims on public lands 8-fold, from $140 to $1120 per 160 acre claim. Lode claims are not on the table in the correspondence I've seen. The Northwest Mining Association reports that "effective with the claim maintenance fees due September 1, each 20 acre placer claim will require a separate claim fee. Association placer claims will require a claim fee for each 20 acres or fraction thereof. Thus, a 160 acre placer claim will require 8 claim fee payments instead of one.” The fee was previously raised to $140 from $100. New claims also require a $15 filing fee and $34 location fee.
The latest numbers I can find show 43,924 mining claims in Arizona as of 2008. I don't know how many are association placer claims. [Right, mining claim delineation. Credit, BLM]
Update 5-1-12 9:30 pm: Thanks to the anonymous commenter below who pointed out my error in initially saying all mining claims would be affected. In fact, only association placer claims are discussed by the BLM responses. That makes my last statement (crossed out) incorrect.
CFR § 3832.22 How much land may I include in my mining claim?
(a) Lode claims. Lode claims must not exceed 1,500 by 600 feet. If there is a vein, lode, or ledge, each lode claim is limited to a maximum of 1,500 feet along the course of the vein, lode, or ledge and a maximum of 300 feet in width on each side of the middle of the vein, lode, or ledge.
(b) Placer claims. (1) An individual placer claim may not exceed 20 acres in size.
(2) An association placer claim may not exceed 160 acres. Within the association, each person or business entity may locate up to 20 acres. To obtain the full 160 acres, the association must consist of at least eight co-locators. You may locate smaller association claims. Thus, three co-locators may jointly locate an association placer claim no larger than 60 acres. You may not use the names of other persons as dummy locators (fictitious locators) to locate an association placer claim for your own benefit.Nyal Niemuth