The Secretary of the Interior may convey to any occupant of an unpatented mining claim which is determined by the Secretary to be invalid an interest, up to and including a fee simple, in and to an area within the claim of not more than
(a) five acres or
the acreage actually occupied by him, whichever is less. The Secretary may make a like conveyance to any occupant of an unpatented mining claim who, after notice from a qualified officer of the United States that the claim is believed to be invalid, relinquishes to the United States all rights in and to such claim which he may have under the mining laws. Any conveyance authorized by this section, however, shall be made only to a qualified applicant, as that term is defined in section 702
of this title, who applies therefor within the period ending June 30, 1971, and upon payment of an amount established in accordance with section 705
of this title.
As used in this section, the term qualified officer of the United States means the Secretary of the Interior or an employee of the Department of the Interior so designated by him: Provided, That the Secretary may delegate his authority to designate qualified officers to the head of any other department or agency of the United States with respect to lands within the administrative jurisdiction of that department or agency.