Opencut Section

The Opencut Section reviews permit and amendment applications within its statutory timeframe to ensure Opencut minerals (bentonite, clay, scoria, soil materials, peat, sand or gravel) are extracted in accordance with the act and rules to ensure adequate protection of environmental resources and successful reclamation of the affected land back to a productive post-mining land use.  

News

eBill Payment Instructions

Click here for the Instruction to submit a Payment to DEQ Opencut electronically.

Stakeholder Group

The next meeting has been scheduled for June 19th, at 1:00 p.m., Big Horn Resort, 1801 Majestic Lane, Billings MT. To view minutes click here. Handouts for meeting: 

  • Agenda
  • SB 343
  • Draft Updated Plan of Operations and Application - Word
  • Draft Limited Borrow Operation - Word
  • Draft Phase II Release Request - Word
  • Draft Pond and Wetland Design Worksheet - Word
  • Draft Fuel Guideline and Worksheet - Word
  • Draft Determining Depth to Groundwater Worksheet - Word
File Transfer How-To

Click here for the slide show presentation for the State's File Transfer Service.

BLM Mineral Ownership Pamphlet

This pamphlet describes how to determine if the sub-surface minerals are owned by the Bureau of Land Management or a private land owner. Be sure to verify mineral ownershipprior to submitting an Opencut application.

Opencut's Sage Grouse Notice

Click here to see the latest information about Sage Grouse Requirements from the Montana Sage Grouse Program. 

 
Open Public Comments

Public Comment for Valley Sand and Gravel, LLC-McHugh 2 Gravel Pit-Opencut #3088

The Opencut Section has recieved a Permit Application and deemed it incomplete for the Valley Sand and Gravel, LLC-McHugh 2 Gravel Pit-Opencut #3088 in Lewis & Clark County. Comments will be accepted for this site throughout the permitting process. To submit a public comment click here. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this application.

Public Comment for Firstmark Materials-Oscar's Site Gravel Pit-Opencut #3115

The Opencut Section has received a complete Permit Application for the Firstmark Materials – Oscar's site – OC #3115 in Yellowstone County. Comments will be accepted for this site throughout the permitting process. To submit a public comment click here. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this application.

Public Comment for Riverside Contracting, Inc.-Donnes Site Gravel Pit-Opencut #3077

The Opencut Section has received a complete Permit Application for the Riverside Contracting, Inc. – Donnes site – OC #3077 in Yellowstone County. Comments will be accepted for this site throughout the permitting process. To submit a public comment click here. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this application.

Public Comment for Nelcon Inc.-Ullman Site Gravel Pit-Opencut #3064

The Opencut Section has received a complete Permit Application for the Nelcon, Inc. – Ullman Gravel Pit site – OC #3064 in Richland County. Comments will be accepted for this site throughout the permitting process. To submit a public comment click here. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this application.

Public Comment for LaSalle Sand & Gravel Corp-Pioneer Gravel Pit-Opencut #2935

The Opencut Section has received a complete Permit Application for the LaSalle Sand & Gravel Corp – Pioneer Gravel Pit site – OC #2935 in Flathead County. Comments will be accepted for this site throughout the permitting process. To submit a public comment click here. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this application.

Public Comment for Todd Townsend, Townsend Pit, Opencut #2903

The Opencut Mining Section conducted a public meeting for this permit application on December 12, 2017 at the Bitteroot River Inn located in Hamilton, Montana. The application can be viewed at https://searchopencutpermits.mt.gov/ by entering 'Townsend' in the 'Site Name' box and clicking 'Submit' or by entering '2903' in the 'Opencut#' box and clicking: 'Submit'

Comments will be accepted for this site throughout the permitting process. To submit a public comment click here. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this application.

Public Comment for Wade Moudy, Moudy Pit, Opencut #2949

The Opencut Mining Section conducted a public meeting for this permit application on December 12, 2017 at the Bitteroot River Inn located in Hamilton, Montana. The application can be viewed at https://searchopencutpermits.mt.gov/ by entering 'Moudy' in the 'Site Name' box and clicking 'Submit' or by entering '2949' in the 'Opencut#' box and clicking: 'Submit'

Comments will be accepted for this site throughout the permitting process. To submit a public comment click here. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this application.

Public Comment for Deer Creek Excavating, LLC-Cottonwood Site-Opencut #2864

The Opencut Section has received a complete Permit Application for the Deer Creek Excavating, LLC – Cottonwood site – OC #2864 in Powell County. Comments will be accepted for this site throughout the permitting process. To submit a public comment click here. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this application.

Site Locations Map

Click here to access Mapping DEQ's Data and view permitted Opencut site locations. 

Search Opencut Permits

Click here to Search Opencut Permits.

Forms

Request for Pre-Application Meeting

DEQ strongly recommends Operators request a meeting before submitting an application. In response, an Opencut scientist will contact the Operator and schedule a visit to provide guidance on the application process and recommendations on the proposed Opencut operation. Activities within or adjacent to designated sage grouse habitats require consultation with the Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program. The DEQ Sage Grouse Advisory is also a source of information.

  1. Request for Pre-Application Meeting - Word
A - Master Guidance Documents

This guidance document is a MUST-READ for all permitting activities:

  1. How To Obtain And Comply With An Opencut Mining Permit - PDF
  2. Electronic Submittal of Opencut Documents - PDF
  3. eBill Payment Instructions - PDF
  4. DEQ Opencut Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - PDF
  5. DEQ Air Quality Freqently Asked Questions (FAQ) - PDF
  6. Public Meeting Expecations - PDF
B - Permit and Amendment Applications

Use the following documents to apply for an Opencut Mining Permit or Amendment:

  1. Opencut Mining Plan Of Operation And Application - Word
  2. Landowner Consultation - Word
  3. Zoning Compliance - Word
  4. Surface Landowners List- Excel
  5. Boundary Coordinate Table (BCT) - Excel
  6. Reclamation Bond Spreadsheet - Excel
  7. Weed Board Notification of Opencut Operation - Word
  8. SHPO File Search Request Form for Opencut Site - Excel
C - Bond Forms

One of the following bonding instruments is also required:

  1. Cash Bond for Opencut Mining Permit - Word
  2. Certificate of Deposit Assignment - Word
  3. Irrevocable Letter Of Credit for Opencut Mining Permit - Word
  4. Property Bond for Opencut Mining Permit- Word
  5. Surety Bond for Opencut Mining Permit- Word
  6. Surety Bond Rider for Opencut Mining Permit - Word
D - Liability or Bond Release Request Form

Upon Completion of Reclamation, use the following form to request Liability or Bond Release:

  1. Phase I Release Request - Word
  2. Phase II Release Request - Word
E - Other Applications

Use the following documents for various permitting functions as appropriate:

  1. Limited Borrow Operation Application - Word
  2. Limited Opencut Operation (LOO) - Word
  3. Assignment of Opencut Mining Permit Application - Word
  4. Request for Extension of Reclamation Date - Word
  5. Request to Modify Bonded Acreage - Word
F - Other Forms
  1. Additional Well Data - Excel
  2. Decline Public Meeting - Word
G - Guidelines

The following documents provide technical guidance for Opencut Mining Permitting:

  1. Map Guideline - PDF
  2. Seed Mix Guideline - PDF
  3. Soil Guideline - PDF
  4. Wash Plant Settling Pond Guideline - PDF
  5. Groundwater Guideline - PDF
  6. Class III Cultural Reources Inventory Guideline - PDF
H - Worksheets

Use these worksheets to help you in the Opencut permitting process:

  1. Determining Depth to Groundwater Worksheet - Word
  2. Fuel Guideline for Spill Prevention and Management Worksheet - Word
  3. Pond and Wetland Design Worksheet - Word
  4. Stream/Waterway Worksheet - Word
I - Other Government Guidelines

These forms are provided by other agencies to help you in the Opencut permitting process:

  1. DNRC-Opencut Mining: Do You Need a Water Right? - PDF
  2. DEQ Water Protection Bureau Permitting Guide: Sand and Gravel Operations - PDF
J - Archaeology Information and Forms

Cultural Resource Submittal Procedure:

  1. Submit two copies and one digital copy (CD/DVD/Thumb Drive or File Transfer Service) of the following to:

      James Strait
      Montana DEQ
      Dir. Office
      1520 E 6th Ave
      Helena, MT 59601
      Email: JStrait@mt.gov

  •       Do not submit copies of the Archaeological Reports to Opencut as this is confidential data.  Opencut only requires the “Concurrence” letter from SHPO to be submitted with the application.
  •       Please ensure there is an un-attached and completed CRABS form accompanying the report: https://mhs.mt.gov/shpo/forms
  •       Montana File Transfer Service instructions: https://transfer.mt.gov/Home/Instructions  (DO NOT send via email.)
  1. SHPO Forms Website: https://mhs.mt.gov/shpo/forms
  2. SHPO Consultant List: https://mhs.mt.gov/Portals/11/shpo/docs/Consultants.pdf
  3.  Request a SHPO report using the Opencut form above (under B-8)
  4. Refer to G-6 above for completing and submitting a Class III Archaeological Report (i.e., -obtaining SHPO "Concurrence")
  5. Small Scale Inventory Report Form
  6. SHPO How To Process - PDF

Laws/Rules

Montana Code Annotated

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

  • Opencut Mining Reclamation, Title 82, Chapter 4, Part 4
Administrative Rules of Montana

Contacts

Contact Information
Physical Address: 1218 E 6th Avenue, Helena, MT 59601
Mailing Address: DEQ Opencut Mining Section, PO Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620-0901
Phone: (406) 444-4970
Fax: (406) 444-4988
Email: DEQOpencut@mt.gov