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.