Resource management in Oregon is the responsibility of the Department of Geology and Minerals Inventory (DOGAMI) which regulates exploration permits and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which regulates land access. In many cases, the Forest Service also regulates land access where they have responsibility (which includes much of Oregon).

DOGAMI’s mission is to provide information and regulation in the mining industry to make Oregon safe and prosperous. Their goal is to prepare the state for decisions where resource potential is fully understood and where the resources are responsibly developed.

BLM, part of the Department of the Interior, grants and administers mining claims which are subject to the Mining Law of 1872. This law declared that “all valuable mineral deposits in land belonging to the United States to be free and open to exploration and purchase”. Subsequent laws have not amended the original 1872 law but have addressed some of its shortcomings such as the Federal Land Policy & Management Act of 1976 which gave the BLM information on the owners of existing mining claims and to track which claims had been abandoned.

The Forest Service, part of the Department of Agriculture, administers the nation’s forests and grasslands and is the largest land management agency outside the Department of the Interior. Within the Forest Service is the Mineral & Geology Management program which administers mineral exploration, development and reclamation on lands managed by the Forest Service.

Despite the Mining Law of 1872, DOGAMI’s mission of making Oregon prosperous and the abundance of mineral resources within the state, there has not been a mine permitted in Oregon since the 1980s. Recent announcements by the President of the United States, Joe Biden, who openly called for more mining within the country, have led to what many observers are suggesting is a softening on the stance against mining in Oregon. Indeed, mining permits are being awarded to companies in other states that had previously resisted mining and advanced exploration permits have been awarded within Oregon for lithium and gold.

The goal with any mine development is to develop the resources responsibly, without harm to the environment and to the benefit of the people of Oregon.