Montana Department of Environmental Quality About Us Permitting & Operator Assistance Public Participation

Coal Mining

Program Overview

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.

Types of Permits

The Coal Section reviews applications for several different types of activities related to coal mining. If you believe you need a permit, applicable forms and instructions can be found by clicking the "Permitting and Operator Assistance" button. Contact us if you have questions or run into problems with any of the information. We're here to help!

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.

Coal Mining Contacts

Section Supervisor
Robert Smith (406) 444-4967

Program Support Specialist
Sharona Gilbert (406) 444-4966



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DEQ ePermitting Public Portal

The Coal Mining Program utilizes an electronic permitting system called the ePermit. The following revision types have public comment periods for completeness and/or acceptability that can be viewed under this system: amendments, major revisions, transfers, and renewals. Bond release applications are still submitted outside of the system. Once approved, the revision remains available on the system until superseded by a new revision. To view both pending and approved applications that are available on the public portal click here: myCOALPublic

Pending Applications

Big Sky Coal Mine Area A

Bond Release SL11

East Decker Coal Mine

Bond Release SL7

West Decker Coal Mine

Bond Release SL8

Recent Actions & Approvals


Coal Mine Reclamation
Big Sky Mine - Bond Release
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