82-4-431. Permit for mining, processing, and reclamation required. (1) A permit is required for an operator who:
(a) conducts an opencut operation that results in the removal of more than 10,000 cubic yards of materials and overburden;
(b) conducts more than one opencut operation where each of the operations results in the removal of less than 10,000 cubic yards of materials and overburden but the operations result in the removal of 10,000 cubic yards or more of materials and overburden in the aggregate; or
(c) removes materials or overburden at a previously mined site where the removal, combined with the amount of previously mined materials and overburden, exceeds 10,000 cubic yards.
(2) Except as provided in or conditioned under subsections (5) and (6), an operator who holds a permit under this part may conduct a limited opencut operation without first securing an additional permit or an amendment to an existing permit if the limited opencut operation meets the following criteria:
(a) the area to be disturbed by the limited opencut operation is located more than 1 mile from the operator's nearest existing limited opencut operation;
(b) the total amount of materials and overburden removed does not exceed 10,000 cubic yards and the total area from which the materials and overburden are removed does not exceed 5 acres; and
(c) the operator:
(i) submits appropriate site and opencut operation information on a limited opencut operation form provided by the department; and
(ii) within 1 year of the department's receipt of the limited opencut operation form, salvages all soil from the area to be disturbed, removes the materials, grades the affected land to 3:1 or flatter slopes, blends the graded land into the surrounding topography, replaces an appropriate amount of overburden and all soil, and reclaims to conditions present prior to mining all access roads used for the operation unless the landowner requests in writing that specific roads or portions of the roads remain open. Roads left open at the landowner's request must be sized to support the use of the road after opencut operations.
(iii) at the first seasonal opportunity, seeds or plants all affected land with vegetative species that meet the requirements of 82-4-434.
(3) At the operator's request and with department approval, the operator may have up to 1 additional year to perform the reclamation required by subsection (2)(c), provided the operator does not apply to extend or continue the limited opencut operation pursuant to subsection (4).
(4) (a) An operator who commences a limited opencut operation pursuant to subsection (2) may apply for a permit to continue or expand that opencut operation pursuant to the provisions of this subsection (4).
(b) The permit application must be complete within 180 days of the department's receipt of the limited opencut operation form.
(c) If the complete permit application is acceptable within 1 year of the department's receipt of the limited opencut operation form, the provisions of subsections (2)(c)(ii) and (2)(c)(iii) do not apply and reclamation must be conducted as prescribed in the permit.
(d) If the complete permit application is not acceptable within 1 year of the department's receipt of the limited opencut operation form, the application is considered abandoned and void. Starting 3 days after the department notifies the applicant that the application is considered abandoned and void, the applicant has 180 days to complete the reclamation provided for in subsections (2)(c)(ii) and (2)(c)(iii).
(e) If the permit application is withdrawn by the applicant within 1 year of the department's receipt of the limited opencut operation form, the reclamation provided for in subsections (2)(c)(ii) and (2)(c)(iii) must be completed within 180 days of the date of the withdrawal.
(5) The department may refuse to approve an application for issuance of a permit under subsection (1) or may prohibit the operator from conducting an opencut operation under subsection (2) if, at the time of notification by the operator to the department, the operator has a pattern of violations or is in current violation of this part, rules adopted under this part, or provisions of a permit.
(6) The department may require an additional bond as a condition for the conduct of an opencut operation under subsection (2).
(7) Opencut operations described in subsection (2) may not occur:
(a) in ephemeral, intermittent, or perennial streams;
(b) in an area where the opencut operation will intercept surface water, ground water, or any slope that is steeper than 3:1; or
(c) in any area where mining would be restricted by other laws.
(8) Sand and gravel opencut operations must meet applicable local zoning regulations adopted under Title 76, chapter 2.
History: En. Sec. 7, Ch. 326, L. 1973; amd. Sec. 20, Ch. 39, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 50-1507; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 280, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 408, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 431, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 410, Ch. 418, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 14, Ch. 507, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 385, L. 2007; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 198, L. 2013.