Coal Section

The Coal Section is responsible for ensuring the reclamation of land affected by surface and underground mining activity and regulation of development of coal mines in order to maintain the integrity of Montana's natural resources. 

Click here to tour Montana Coal Mines.

Permit Types

Notice of Intent

An operator files a Notice of Intent (NOI) with DEQ for the purpose of gathering environmental baseline data to establish the conditions of an area before beginning strip or underground mining, or to determine location, quality, and quantity of a mineral reserve prior to submitting an application for prospecting.


An operator files an application for prospecting permit with DEQ for land not already included in a current mine operating permit and if the prospecting is conducted for the purpose of determining location, quality, and quantity of a mineral reserve. This application must include a reclamation plan and bond.

Coal Mine Permitting

An operator files an application for surface or underground mining with DEQ prior to engaging in mining operations. The application must include information regarding climate, geology, hydrology, vegetation, etc as well as a detailed reclamation plan and bond.

To view permits/applications in our e-Permit Public Portal click here



Coal Reclamation Video

Reclamation in Montana

HELENA – Montana began regulating strip mining in 1971 when the Legislature adopted the Montana Open Cut and Strip Mine Reclamation Act. It said that all lands disturbed by the taking of natural resources shall be reclaimed and the Legislature shall provide procedures and standards for the reclamation. Today, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality works with coal mining companies in Montana to allow for human activity without compromising the environment.

DEQ and the mines work together to bring a problem-solving mentality to the process, say DEQ Coal Program managers. The goal is to take what we have today, and figure out how we can make it better for tomorrow.


Annual Report

This annual report for Fiscal Year 2020 has been prepared by the Coal Section, Coal and Opencut Mining Bureau, Montana Department of Environmental Quality as a summary of activities during the fiscal year.  This summary report provides information on the extent of coal mining, prospecting, and reclamation within the state.  Additionally, it provides summary information on the amount of reclamation bond required for each company.  The extent of bond release – indicated by the number of acres for each of four phase of bond release – is also presented.  If you should have any questions regarding this report, please feel free to contact the program at 406-444-4970.

Previous years reports:
2019 Annual Report
2018 Annual Report
2017 Annual Report

Pending Applications

Click here to view pending applications.


A - Prospecting Forms
  1. Notice of Intent Form - Word
  2. Short Form - Word
  3. Long Form - Word
  4. Renewal Form - Word
  5. Transfer Form- Word
  6. Assignment Form - Word
  7. Monthly/Annual Prospecting Report Form - Excel
  8. Bond Release Form - Word
B - Surface Mine Permit Forms
  1. Application/Amendment Form - Word
  2. Renewal Form - Word
  3. Transfer Form - Word
  4. Assignment Form - Word
  5. Bond Release Form - Word
C - Blasting Forms
  1. Application/Renewal Form - Word
  2. New Blaster Affidavit - Word
  3. Renewal Blaster Affidavit - Word
  4. Blaster Training Manual - pdf
  5. Online Blasting Classes Approved for Montana:
    1. ISEE Practical Blasting Fundamentals (16 hours)
    2. Academy Blasting: Basics of Blasting (4 hours)
    3. IME eLearning Modules Based on IME SLPs
    4. ISEE Blaster Training 2020 Webinar Series (16 hours)
D - Other Forms
  1. Map Affidavit - Word
  2. Permit Update Affidavit - Word
E - Guidelines
  1. Submittal Guidelines - pdf
  2. Annual Report Standard -pdf
  3. Annual Hydro Report Standard -pdf
    1. Quality Assurance Summary Report - pdf
    2. Monitoring and Quality Assurance Plan - pdf 
  4. Cultural and Historic Resource Guidelines - pdf
  5. Erosional Features Guidelines -pdf
  6. Postmine Topography Plan Guidelines - pdf
  7. Soil, Overburden and Regraded Spoil Guidelines - pdf
  8. Vegetation Sampling Guidelines - pdf
  9. Fish and Wildlife Guidelines - pdf
  10. Approximate Original Contour Guidelines - pdf
F - Reference Documents
  1. U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service,1951 Soil Survey Manual - ARM 17.24.301(114)
  2. U.S.D.A Soil Conservation Service, National Soils Handbook - ARM 17.24.301(115)
  3. U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service, Soil Taxonomy (Handbook 436) - ARM 17.24.301(115)
  4. U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service, Technical Release No. 60 (Earth Dams and Reservoirs) - ARM 17.24.642(1)(f)
  5. U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service, Pond 378 - ARM 17.24.642(1)(f)
  6. 40 CFR Part 136, Guidelines Establishing Test Procedures for the Analysis of Pollutants - ARM 17.24.645(6)
  7. Montana DEQ, Montana Numeric Water Quality Standards, Circular WQB-7- ARM 17.24.645(6)
  8. 40 CFR Part 434, Coal Mining Point Source Cagegory BPT, PAT, PCT Limitations and New Source Performance Standards - ARM 17.24.646(6)
  9. U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service, Land Capability Classification for Montana - ARM 17.24.746
  10. Maas and Hoffman, Crop Salt Tolerance-Current Assessment - ARM 17.24.806(1)
  11. 30 CFR 761.16 - ARM 17.24.1133(3)


Montana Code Annotated

Coal Mining Act, Title 82 Minerals, Oil, and Gas, Chapter 4 Reclamation

  • Coal and Uranium Mine Reclamation, Title 82, Chapter 4, Part 2
Administrative Rules of Montana


Contact Information
Physical Address: 1218 E 6th Avenue, Helena, MT 59601
Mailing Address: DEQ Coal Section, PO Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620-0901
Phone: (406) 444-4970
Fax: (406) 444-4988

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