Mine Site Permitting

mining equipment

Regulated Activities

A mine-site location permit is required prior to commencing any preparatory work (i.e., any on-site disturbances, including construction of roads, rail spurs, buildings, power lines, etc., but excluding prospecting) unless an operating permit has been granted under the Strip and Underground Mine Reclamation Act. The application for the permit includes a long-range mining plan. A mine-site location permit is valid for one year and renewable until an operating permit is obtained.

Statute: Strip and Underground Mine Siting Act; 82-4-101, et seq., MCA


Application Requirements

A person applying for a mine-site location permit must file an application with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The application must contain a reclamation plan for any preparatory work and other information required by the DEQ. The DEQ may require maps showing a water drainage plan, location of all adjacent waters, buildings, roads, cemeteries, etc.; geologic cross sections; a public liability insurance policy, etc. The applicant is also required to file with the DEQ a surety bond payable to the state in a sum determined by the department. The sum may not be less than $200 or more than $10,000 for each acre of land disturbed by preparatory work, with a minimum total bond of $5,000.

Statute: 82-4-122 and 123, MCA
Rule: ARM 17.24.1803-1810


Permitting Procedures

The DEQ must notify the applicant of the acceptability of a proposed mine-site location within 365 days of receipt of a complete application. If the proposed site is approved, the DEQ must issue a mine-site location permit. If the location is not approved, the DEQ must notify the applicant in writing, stating reasons why the location is unacceptable. The DEQ must also notify the applicant within 365 days of the acceptability of the reclamation plan. If the plan is not acceptable, the DEQ must state its reasons. It may propose modifications, delete areas or reject the entire plan.

Statute: 82-4-122, MCA


Permit Denial

The mine-site location permit may be denied for numerous reasons, including, but not limited to: an inadequate reclamation plan; adverse reclamation possibilities; exceptional topographic, cultural resource or scientific characteristics; critical biological productivity or ecological fragility; historic or geologic importance; threat of a public hazard; or designation of the land as unsuitable for mining.

Statute: 82-4-125, 82-4-227, 228 MCA
Rules: ARM 17.24.1131-1148