The department’s Land Reclamation Program issues permits for mining industrial minerals. 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 permit and reclamation processes. Industrial Minerals are gravel, limestone, granite, traprock, tar sands, clay, barite, sandstone, oil shale, sand, shale and other minerals defined by state statute. The two main types of industrial mineral mining include open pit mining and in-stream sand and gravel mining.

The department continues to look for ways to improve its methods of helping the public to understand the industrial mineral permitting procedures. New mine sites, or existing sites that are being transferred, expanded, or significantly revised do have an opportunity for the public to comment or request a hearing. For the past several years, citizens living near proposed mines have requested about 10 public meetings per year about the issuance of mining permits. Department attend these informal public meetings and the permit applicant hosts the public meeting.  

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 department through the Land Reclamation Act. These issues include concerns about blasting, safety on public roads and the mine’s effect on property values. Citizens who have requested meetings under the proper circumstances express their concerns at these informal meetings. 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.

Need a Permit?

The permitting and public comment processes for mining permits are defined in the Land Reclamation Act, 444.772 and 773, RSMo. A short summary is provided below. Also, refer to How to Obtain Quarry Permits in Missouri - PUB2404 for additional information.

Locate forms and instructions for obtaining permits for industrial mineral mining.

Application Process

A mining permit application, which may include forms, fees, maps and bonding, is received and reviewed by the department's Land Reclamation Program. Deficiencies are identified by staff and are communicated to the operator who is responsible for correcting them. After all corrections are received by staff and no additional corrections are needed, the application is deemed complete by staff and the operator is given a notice to proceed with the public notice process. 

Public Notice Process 

The applicant must advertise the proposed mine site once a week for four consecutive weeks in a newspaper certified to publish public notices pursuant to 493.050 located in the county where the mine site is located. In addition, the applicant shall send certified mail to the governing body of the counties or cities in which the proposed mine site is located and to the last known addresses of all first tier record landowners. These first tier landowners are those whose property is within 2,640 feet (one-half mile) from the border of the proposed long term mine plan area, and do not have a legal relationship with either the applicant or the owner of the land upon which the mine plan area is located. Please contact us if you have questions about the definition of a legal relationship or about how to proceed. 

During the above mentioned four consecutive weeks of newspaper advertisement and the additional 15 days following the last publication date, any member of the public can respond with comments or request a public meeting. All comments are answered to address concerns, and will be considered when the LRP director makes a decision to either issue or deny the permit application. Letters requesting a public meeting will result in the operator holding an informal public meeting to address concerns. Department representatives attend this meeting to record the meeting and to answer questions regarding laws or regulations. 

Within six weeks after the public meeting is held, the director makes a decision to either issue or deny the permit. The director may impose reasonable conditions on the permit. The director’s decision and meeting summary titled, Attachment I, is provided to the operator and those that wrote in or signed in at the public meeting. Any party adversely affected by the decision may be entitled to pursue an appeal before the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC). The affected party has 30 days after the date of the director’s decision to file an appeal to the AHC. Instructions about how to appeal the decision are provided in the director’s decision. 

Current public meeting comments, concerns and director's decisions relating to permit proposals.

Hearing Request Process 

The director’s decision can be appealed to the AHC as provided by 621.250.3 RSMo: “If you were adversely affected by this decision, you may be entitled to pursue an appeal before the administrative hearing commission. To appeal, you must file a petition with the AHC within 30 days after the date this decision was mailed or the date it was delivered, whichever date is earlier. If any such petition is sent by registered mail or certified mail, it will be deemed filed on the date mailed; if it is sent by any method other than registered mail or certified mail, it will be deemed filed on the date received by the AHC.” The mailing address of the AHC is below.

Administrative Hearing Commission
PO Box 1557
Jefferson City, MO 65102

Hearing Process 

The AHC is a neutral, independent administrative tribunal. The AHC conducts the proceedings and makes a recommendation to the Missouri Mining Commission to either issue or deny the permit. 

Final Decision

The Missouri Mining Commission will determine whether to issue or deny the permit on the AHC’s recommendation. This decision is subject to judicial review by the court of appeals district with territorial jurisdiction in the county where the mine is located or is to be located. 

Additional Quarry Permit Applications

In addition, permit applicants should also investigate to learn if the following permits are applicable from other programs within the department:

  • Air Pollution Control Program – For questions, call the construction permit unit at 573-751-4817
  • Water Protection Program – For questions, call 573-751-1300

Fees

Fees collected from industrial mineral permits are utilized to conduct the necessary regulatory functions. These functions include managing the permitting, inspection, and enforcement of industrial mineral mining companies. Completing reviews on approximately 350 permit actions and conducting about 375 inspections each year is a challenging goal for the program.

Fees are indicated on permit forms that are required for mining.

Forms

Locate forms and instructions for obtaining permits for industrial mineral mining.

Inspections

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 (e.g., lateral distances from excavations to public road rights of way), erosion and siltation control, grading, topsoil handling and revegetation. Inspectors also evaluate each mine site to ensure all mining disturbance is confined to the permitted and bonded area and the approved post-mining land uses are being established. 

Complaint inspections are conducted after the program receives 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 department and are referred to the appropriate regulatory authority. Some complaints involve the removal of sand and gravel in streams for personal use, where the program only has authority over commercial mining operations. Other agencies regulate personal use mining.

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 the reclamation has not been properly completed.

Often, violations observed during an inspection are eliminated through the use of conference, conciliation and persuasion (CC & 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 & 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 1990. The 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.

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.

Activity Reports