North Dakota Metal Scrap Statute

North Dakota
The State Metals Theft Laws summaries are not intended to provide or be relied as a legal advice. This material is provided to serve as a reasonable compilation of the most current state scrap laws and is intended to be a resource or supplement to, and provide ideas for, compliance with all applicable laws. The ISRI State Scrap Laws are subject to change and readers should visit to make certain they are reading the most recent version of ISRI's summaries of the State Metals Theft Laws
Overview of Provisions (use the section titles to travel directly to that section)

Please Note: 2013 North Dakota Senate Bill 2151 became effective on May 1, 2013, creating N.D. Cent. Code Tit. 51, Ch. 35: Purchases By Scrap Metal Dealers.

Materials Covered and Other Definitions

"Scrap Metal" means ferrous or nonferrous metals purchased primarily for reuse or recycling, including metals combined with other materials at the time of purchase or acquisition, and including insulated and uninsulated wire and cable. Scrap metal does not include automobiles, automobile hulks, or any aluminum food or beverage containers.

  • "Ferrous Metals" means those metals that will attract a magnet, and includes alloys of those metals.
  • "Nonferrous Metals" means those metals that will not normally attract a magnet, including copper, brass, aluminum, bronze, lead, zinc, platinum, nickel, and includes alloys of those metals.

"Scrap Metal Dealer" means a person engaged in the business of purchasing, selling, trading, or bartering scrap metal, and includes all employees of the scrap metal dealer


Exempts purchases from:

  • Another Dealer who regularly conducts scrap metal business in North Dakota;
  • Government agencies;
  • Persons regularly engaged in the business of manufacturing metals or regularly engaged in the business of selling metals at retail or wholesale, including scrap processing or manufacturing that produces byproducts for scrap;
  • Persons regularly engaged in the generation or transmission of electricity, or in telephone, telegraph, or cable communications, if they provide the Dealer with a bill of sale or other written evidence of ownership of the Scrap Metal purchased.

Dealers shall keep records of receipts of Scrap Metal worth over $25 with the following:

  • The Date, Time, and Place of each purchase or transaction;
  • Description of the Scrap Metal received and the weight and type;
  • Amount paid and the manner of payment, including check or electronic transfer;
  • Name and address of the Seller or Deliverer; and
  • Copy of the Seller or Deliverer's valid government-issued identification card or driver's license with their full name, photograph, date of birth, and signature.

Dealers must retain records for 7 years after the date of each purchase at their business premises or other reasonably available location within North Dakota.


A Dealer's premises must be kept open for inspection by law enforcement officers during regular business hours. Business records and business inventory must also be open for inspection at all times during reasonable business hours or "at reasonable times if ordinary hours of business are not kept".

Before conducting an inspection an officer must inform a Dealer that they are a law enforcement officer and the purpose of the inspection. Officers must comply with all of a Dealer's reasonable and customary safety requirements. A Dealer may also require an officer to sign an inspection log with their name and serial or badge number and the date, time, and purpose for the inspection.

Payment Restriction

No cash payments over $1,000; payment for such must be by check or electronic transfer.


A Dealer who willfully fails to comply with the Act is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

A Dealer who willfully buys, receives, possesses, or conceals stolen Scrap Metal:

  • Under $500 in value is guilty of a class A misdemeanor;
  • Exceeding $500 in value is a class C felony.

Provisions shall take precedence over and supersede any local ordinance adopted by a political subdivision that regulates scrap metal transactions.

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This summary of State Metals Theft Laws is being viewed on this website under license and is owned and copyrighted by Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. ("ISRI"),1615 L Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036.