77-3-112. Examination of lands prior to leasing. (1) Before the board leases any lands for the mining of metalliferous metals or gems, the department shall investigate the character of the lands and the nature and possible extent of the mineral deposits therein for the purpose of determining whether those lands are of such a character as to warrant the issuance of a mining lease thereon and for the purpose of determining the amount of royalty and other rentals or considerations for which the lands should be leased for mining purposes under this part.
(2) Upon the filing of an application for a mining lease the board may, if the lands covered by the application have not been examined by the department, require the applicant for the lease to deposit with the department an amount of money, not exceeding $500 in any one case, which in its judgment will cover the cost of a special examination to enable the board to pass upon the application in accordance with this part. Such deposit shall be used to reimburse the state for the actual cost of the examination, and any portion of the deposit not required for such reimbursement shall, upon the approval or rejection of the application, be repaid to the applicant by the department.
(3) The department shall make and preserve complete records of all such examinations.