Amendments made in 1990 to the Land Reclamation Act (Missouri’s industrial minerals mining law) improved the requirements to be met for completing industrial mineral (IM) permit and reclamation processes. Industrial Minerals are gravel, limestone, granite, traprock, tar sands, clay, barite, sandstone, oil shale, sand and shale.


Public Meeting Comments and Responses

By law, the permit application process requires all mining applicants participate in a public notice period. During the public notice period, an informal public meeting may be requested so the public may voice comments and concerns to the Land Reclamation Program (LRP). If a public meeting is requested, the permit applicant must host a meeting. All comments and concerns will be considered when the LRP director makes a decision to either issue or deny the permit application. The director’s decision and meeting summary titled, Attachment I, is provided to the operator and those who wrote letters or signed in at the public meeting.

Comments, concerns and director's decisions relating to permit proposals.


NOTE: Stakeholder Meetings Held

Land Reclamation Program staff held public meetings to seek input on a proposed fee increase to industrial minerals producers. A rule change is required to modify the fee structure. Stakeholder meetings were held October 19, 2015, and May 13, 14, 15 and 18, 2015. Notices about upcoming meetings will be noted here and once an agreement has been reached, the draft rule also will be noted here and on the Rules in Development web page. Once an agreement has been reached, the draft rule also will be posted there.


Online Permit Search

There are approximately 750 Industrial Mineral mine sites in Missouri. This website allows a user to select a county and identify the active mine sites in that county. Some counties do not have a mine site that is permitted under the Land Reclamation Act. Click on a county on the map image or select a county, commodity or permit type from the drop-down tabs. When information is available for your area of interest, click on the blue permit number located to the left of the name of the permittee for additional contact and location data. 


Locate Industrial and Metallic Mineral Mine Sites

Industrial Minerals Permit Application Forms - New and Renewal Packets
Industrial mineral mining permits are issued for period of 12-months. These permits must be renewed annually until the Missouri Mining Commission certifies that all mined land covered by the permit is fully reclaimed.


In-Stream Sand and Gravel Mining


Industrial Minerals Activity Reports

The fees collected from industrial mineral permits are utilized to conduct the necessary regulatory functions. These functions include managing both the permitting, and inspection and enforcement of industrial mineral mining companies. Completing reviews on approximately 350 permit actions each year while conducting necessary inspections with limited staff allocation continues to be a challenging goal for the program.

The Land Reclamation Program continues to look for ways to improve its methods of helping the public to understand the IM permitting procedures. For the past several years, citizens living near proposed mines have requested about 10  public meetings per year about the issuance of mining permits.

It is probable that requests for meetings, which require a tremendous amount of staff time to address, will become increasingly common as mining companies look to open sites in, and close to, heavily populated areas. New sites and expansions to existing sites are requested in order to provide building commodities to meet the needs and demands of on-going and new construction. It follows that a corresponding increase in the amount of Land Reclamation staff time will have to be spent on any realized increases in the number of meeting requests. Changes have been implemented to associated statutes and rules in order for the Land Reclamation Program to better respond to the needs of the environment, the citizens of Missouri, and the mining companies about industrial mineral-related issues.

Routinely, many of the concerns brought before the staff director of the Missouri Mining Commission by local citizens are about issues outside the regulatory authority provided to the program through the Land Reclamation Act. These issues include concerns about blasting, safety on public roads and the mine’s effect on property values. Even so, the director has allowed all citizens who have requested meetings under the proper circumstances to personally appear at scheduled public meetings to express their concerns. While the constraints in the laws have prohibited the director from denying permits, this regular contact with the public has brought an acute awareness to the staff director and commission about what is most troubling to the citizens. In return, the public has an opportunity to learn more about the permitting and reclamation requirements under the Land Reclamation Act. Continued contact of this sort will help pave the way for the citizens to resolve their concerns about mining.


Industrial Minerals Inspection

The state is divided into two geographic regions with one permanent inspector/permit reviewer assigned to each area. Newly hired personnel will float between each area to assist the assigned inspector. Since these inspectors have other duties related to the permitting of industrial minerals operations and inspections of metallic mineral mine sites, they are limited in the amount of industrial minerals inspections they can perform in a given year. The operations range in size from more than 300-acre limestone quarries to small one-acre gravel pits.

Limestone Mine in Jasper County - Active Mine.
Limestone Mine in Jasper County - Active Mine

Inspections typically fit into one of three categories: regular inspection, complaint inspection or bond release inspection. Regular inspections are conducted to determine if an operator is in compliance with the approved permit and the applicable performance requirements of the Land Reclamation Act. Performance requirements checked by inspectors include timeliness of reclamation, safety barriers, lateral support (i.e., lateral distances from excavations to public road right-of-ways), erosion and siltation control, grading, topsoil handling and revegetation. Inspectors also evaluate each mine site to ensure that all mining disturbance is confined to the permitted and bonded area and that the approved post-mining land uses are being established. Complaint inspections are conducted after the program receives

Limestone Mine in Jasper County - Reclaimed to Water Impoundment.
Limestone Mine in Jasper County - Reclaimed to Water
Impoundment

notification from the public that an industrial minerals operation may be in violation of the Land Reclamation Act. These complaints are received by phone, email or regular mail. Complaints filed by citizens may involve blasting, noise, truck traffic, water pollution, erosion or siltation. Following an investigation, the inspector and operator often are successful in resolving a citizen’s complaint in a timely manner. However, many public complaints related to mining operations, such as blasting and noise, are not regulated by the Land Reclamation Program and are referred to the appropriate regulatory authority.

Bond release inspections are conducted at the operator’s request when reclamation has been completed. The focus of the bond release inspection is to determine if the mine site has been reclaimed in accordance with the reclamation plan. The inspector also must evaluate if the operator has established the designated post-mining land use(s). Post mining land uses may be designated as wildlife habitat, agricultural, development/industrial or water impoundment. When mined land is properly reclaimed, a recommendation for bond release is made to the staff director of the Missouri Mining Commission. If approved, the reclamation bond is released to the operator. If the request for bond release is denied, the operator has the right to request that a formal hearing be held before the Missouri Mining Commission to contest the denial. The landowner also has the right to request a hearing if they believe that the reclamation has not been properly completed.

 

Fireclay Mine in Osage County - Prereclamation.
Fireclay Mine in Osage County - Prereclamation

Often, violations observed during an inspection are eliminated through the use of conference, conciliation and persuasion (CC and P). This is a process where the operator is encouraged to correct a noncompliance through voluntary action and normally is used in cases of relatively minor noncompliance. If attempts to correct a violation through CC and P are not successful, a notice of violation is issued to the operator.

The enforcement powers of the Missouri Mining Commission were enhanced in two significant ways when the Land Reclamation Act was revised in 1990The commission now has the power to impose administrative penalties when notices of violation are issued, and they have the option to refer civil actions to the Cole County Court rather than the county in which the violation occurred. Such powers enable much more prompt and vigorous action against violators than in the past.

Fireclay Mine in Osage County - Postreclamation.
Fireclay Mine in Osage County - Postreclamation

An increased number of site inspections at industrial minerals operations carry the potential for an increase in enforcement activity during the coming year. Industrial mineral operators not thoroughly familiar with the requirements of the act risk inadvertent noncompliance. Only through close coordination with Land Reclamation Program personnel are potential enforcement actions avoided or minimized.

In-Stream Sand and Gravel Mining

One of the most prevalent types of mining in Missouri, as far as the number of sites is the "in-stream" removal of sand and gravel. Numerous operators across the entire state use sand and gravel deposits, called gravel or sand "bars," as a source of aggregate material.

In Missouri, this activity underwent several regulatory control changes in the 1990s. In the early 1990s, the Land Reclamation Program was the permitting and enforcement authority that  issued permits for this type of mining activity, and the program oversaw the proper removal of sand and gravel from Missouri’s streams. In the mid-1990s, the regulation of this activity was taken up by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) who basically took over the process of permitting and inspecting these mining facilities. USACE lost jurisdiction over this activity in late 1998 owing to a ruling by the U.S. District Court of Appeals. The court found that de minimis or incidental fall back of sand and gravel into the stream from which it was being excavated did not constitute the placement of fill by the mining operation. Hence, the court ruled that USACE had exceeded their authority in requiring a permit for this activity.

In January 1999, the Land Reclamation Program resumed the former position of the regulatory authority over this type of mining activity and bases this authority upon the provision of the state’s Land Reclamation Act. Approximately 150 permits were re-issued to the mining industry during the early months of 1999 by the Land Reclamation Program to take the place of the existing USACE permits. This responsibility continues to the present day on the part of the Land Reclamation Program with approximately 250 active In-stream mine sites issued.