Frank Erisman


Frank Erisman assists the extractive industries in the location, exploration, development and production of minerals from public, private and Native lands. Frank’s mineral know-how extends to most minerals, from argentite in Colorado to zeolites in Wyoming and most of the commercial minerals in between. His main experience has been working with clients advancing coal, uranium, and precious and base metal as well as industrial mineral projects.

An accomplished arbitrator, Frank has been involved in numerous American Arbitration Association and party-appointed arbitration matters involving disputes over the ownership of mineral interests and the interpretation of mineral transaction documents.

Additionally, Frank has negotiated on behalf of small and large landowners in transactions with parties desiring to explore and potentially develop their land’s private mineral interests.

Frank has decades of experience of working on land use, governmental leases and concessions, acquisition and sale of mineral properties, the financing and security of mining properties and mining claims. He assists clients with their interests worldwide, including Russia, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and Suriname.



Large Landowner Mineral Work

  • Assisted the Doyon Native Regional Corporation for over 35 years on land selection, ANSCA 7(i), mineral transaction and land use issues pertaining to Doyon’s 12 million acres of land in central Alaska.
  • Advised Oregon mineral owner of the potential of more than 300,000 acres of mineral rights owned in Eastern Oregon.
  • Negotiated and drafted mineral exploration agreements for ranchers to monetize large holdings of mineral rights.
  • Assisted several Northwest timber companies in negotiating and preparing transactions to allow the development of their mineral holdings.
  • Prepared a gold mining lease and option to lease for a Southern Oregon gold exploration project.

Mineral Company Work

  • Performed a due diligence review in anticipation of purchases of large operating coal, gold and copper mines in Nevada, Montana and Utah.
  • Planned, oversaw and accomplished the “land rush” staking of federal mining claims in Wyoming and successfully litigated the resulting disputes.
  • Negotiated and documented numerous Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Form 5 LLC mining joint ventures.
  • Advised and argued in favor of coal mining and land use permits in two Colorado counties based upon the theory of preemption of local law by SCMR.


  • Twice arbitrated ownership and operating disputes pertaining to Colorado’s sole diamond mine.
  • Chaired an arbitration panel challenged with resolving operational charges in a Northwest wind generation project. 

Memberships & Awards


  • Oregon Mining Association, Chair (2015-2016)
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, President (1997-1998), Trustee (1980-present)
  • American Bar Association, Section of Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment, Chair
  • Colorado Mining Association
  • Eastern Oregon Mining Association


  • Colorado School of Mines Medal (2002)
  • Oregon Super Lawyers
  • Colorado School of Mines Distinguished Achievement Award, “For Distinguished Career Achievement Which Contributed to the Prestige of The Colorado School of Mines”
  • Colorado Super Lawyers, Natural Resources Law
  • Best Lawyers in America Award: Energy Law, Mining Law, and Natural Resources Law (1995-2019)

Resources & Ideas


Community Activities

Community Activities

  • Colorado School of Mines Board of Trustees, Member (1993-2002), President (1997-2002)
  • Colorado School of Mines Foundation Investment Committee
  • Western Resources Legal Center, Board Member (2014-Present)




Oregon State Courts

Colorado State Courts

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

United States District Court, Colorado

Outside The Office