Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 4. Opencut Mining Reclamation


82-4-403. Definitions. When used in this part, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, the following definitions apply:

(1) "Affected land" means the area of land and land covered by water that is disturbed by opencut operations. A private road may be included as affected land only with the landowner's consent.

(2) "Amendment" means a change to the approved permit.

(3) "Board" means the board of environmental review provided for in 2-15-3502.

(4) "Department" means the department of environmental quality provided for in 2-15-3501.

(5) "Landowner" means the holder of legal title to land subjected to an opencut operation.

(6) "Materials" means bentonite, clay, scoria, peat, sand, soil, gravel, or mixtures of those substances.

(7) "Occupied dwelling unit" means a structure with permanent water and sewer facilities that is used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by at least one person who maintains a household that is lived in as a primary residence.

(8) "Opencut operation" means activities conducted for the primary purpose of sale or utilization of materials, including:

(a) mine site preparation;

(b) (i) removing the overburden and mining directly from the exposed natural deposits; or

(ii) mining directly from natural deposits of materials;

(c) processing of materials mined from the natural deposits, except that processing facilities located more than 300 feet from where materials were mined or are permitted to be mined are not part of the opencut operation;

(d) transporting, depositing, staging, and stockpiling of overburden and materials unless the activity occurs more than 300 feet from where the materials were mined or are permitted to be mined;

(e) storing or stockpiling of materials at processing facilities that are part of the opencut operation;

(f) reclamation of affected land; and

(g) parking or staging of vehicles, equipment, or supplies unless:

(i) the activity is separated from other opencut operations by at least 25 feet and is connected to the opencut operation by a single road that is no more than 25 feet wide; or

(ii) the activity is inside the construction disturbance area shown on a construction project plan.

(9) "Operator" means a person who holds a permit issued pursuant to this part. For purposes of enforcing the provisions of this part, the term also includes any person conducting opencut operations on affected land that is not covered by a permit.

(10) "Overburden" means the earth that lies above a natural deposit of materials.

(11) "Person" means:

(a) a natural person;

(b) a firm, association, partnership, cooperative, or corporation;

(c) a department, agency, or instrumentality of the state or any governmental subdivision; or

(d) any other entity.

(12) "Plan of operation" means a plan that:

(a) meets the requirements of 82-4-434; and

(b) contains a description of current land use, topographical data, hydrologic data, soils data, proposed mine areas, proposed mining and processing operations, proposed reclamation, and appropriate maps.

(13) "Processing facilities" means:

(a) crushers, screens, and pug mills;

(b) asphalt, wash, and concrete plants;

(c) treatment, sedimentation, or retention areas for processing facilities; and

(d) areas receiving washout from vehicles and equipment using the processing facilities.

(14) "Reclamation" means the reconditioning of affected land to make the area suitable for productive use, including but not limited to forestry, agriculture, grazing, wildlife, recreation, or residential or industrial development.

(15) "Soil" means the dark or root-bearing surface matter that has been generated through time by the interaction of biological activity, climate, topography, and parent material and that is capable of sustaining plant growth and is recognized and identified as such by standard authorities and methods.

(16) "Water conveyance facilities" means existing diversions, aqueducts, canals, ditches, drains, flumes, headgates, syphons, or other structures or infrastructure actively used to facilitate the beneficial use of a water right under Title 85.

History: En. Sec. 4, Ch. 326, L. 1973; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 209, L. 1974; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 235, L. 1974; amd. Sec. 17, Ch. 39, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 50-1504; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 280, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 402, Ch. 418, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 9, Ch. 507, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 385, L. 2007; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 198, L. 2013; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 545, L. 2021.