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U.S. Supreme Court

Jim Butler Tonopah Mining Co. v. West End Mining Co., 247 U.S. 450 (1918)

Jim Butler Tonopah Mining Company v.

West End Consolidated Mining Company

No. 249

Argued March 26, 27, 1918

Decided June 10, 1918

247 U.S. 450


The end lines of a lode mining claim, in the sense of the mining law, are those which are laid across the vein to show how much of it in length is appropriated and claimed by the miner. All other lines are side lines.

To sustain the extralateral right, the end lines must be parallel and straight, but this is not required of the side lines.

A mining claim was laid out as a parallelogram 1500 by 600 feet, but with two diagonally opposite angles truncated so that what would have been end lines in the absence of the truncation were thereby shortened substantially, but less than one half. Held that these shortened lines, which were straight and parallel, were the end lines within the meaning of the mining law and for the purpose of determining the extralateral right, and that the truncating lines were parts of the side lines. The extralateral right is a creation of the federal mining laws, and they alone must be looked to in defining it.

Where a single vein whose apex is within the boundaries of the claim, in its descent separates into two limbs -- one being the discovery vein --

Page 247 U. S. 451

which dip dwnward through the vertical planes of the side line, the extralateral right, its other elements being present, applies to each. The findings showed a fissure vein with two dipping limbs whose course downward was substantial, regular, and practically free from undulation. For 750 feet out of a total length of 1150 feet within the claim, each was practically a separate vein with a distinct summit or terminal edge. For the remaining 400 feet, the two were united, and, from the place of union, mineralized rock continued upward for from 20 or 30 to 100 feet. There was no contention that a top or apex had been found elsewhere. Held that it could not be said as a matter of law that there was no top or apex within the claim in the sense of the mining law.

39 Nev. 375 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 247 U. S. 452

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