(a) Possessory rights. Pursuant to section 22(c) of the act, on any lands to be conveyed to Village or Regional Corporations, any person who prior to August 31, 1971, initiated a valid mining claim or location, including millsites, under the general mining laws and recorded notice thereof with the appropriate State or local office, shall not be challenged by the United States as to his possessory rights, if all requirements of the general mining laws are met. However, the validity of any unpatented mining claim may be contested by the United States, the grantee of the United States or its successor in interest, or by any person who may initiate a private contest. Contest proceedings and appeals therefrom shall be to the Interior Board of Land Appeals.
(b) Patent requirements met. An acceptable mineral patent application must be filed with the appropriate Bureau of Land Management office not later than December 18, 1976, on lands conveyed to Village or Regional Corporations.
(1) Upon a showing that a mineral survey cannot be completed by December 18, 1976, the filing of an application for a mineral survey, which states on its face that it was filed for the purpose of proceeding to patent, will constitute an acceptable mineral patent application, provided all applicable requirements under the general mining laws have been met.
(2) The failure of an applicant to prosecute diligently his application for mineral patent to completion will result in the loss of benefits afforded by section 22(c) of the Act.
(3) The appropriate office of the Bureau of Land Management shall give notice of the filing of an application under this section to the Village or Regional Corporation which has selection rights in the land covered by the application.
(c) Patent requirements not met. Any mineral patent application filed after December 18, 1976, on land conveyed to any Village or Regional Corporation pursuant to this Act, will be rejected for lack of departmental jurisdiction. After that date, patent applications may continue to be filed on land not conveyed to Village or Regional Corporations until such land is conveyed.