Any person, firm or corporation engaged in or controlling commercial surface mining of industrial minerals in areas opened on or after Jan. 1, 1972, must obtain a permit from the Missouri Mining Commission, in accordance with section 444.770.1 and section 444.770.2 RSMo.

Missouri has natural formations of limestone, clay, sandstone and granite along with sand and gravel deposits. These industrial minerals provide the foundation of Missouri’s infrastructure. Mining for these industrial minerals occurs in almost every county of the state. More than 50 million tons of these minerals are mined in Missouri each year. Missouri has more than 500 open pit permitted mine sites; approximately 350 of these sites are limestone quarries. People utilize industrial minerals every day, in the home in which we live, the roads, and bridges on which we drive, in the building in which we work, in the food we eat and in the purification of the water we drink. Industrial minerals are in toothpaste, antacids and charcoal.       

There are no regulations in the Land Reclamation Act relating to how deep an open pit site can be mined, though it typically is not economical for operators to mine deep enough to hit the water table. The general concerns relating to open pit operations are factors such as blasting, groundwater, and truck traffic. However, these concerns are not regulated by the Land Reclamation Act. Who Regulates Blasting at Quarries PUB2734.

General Information

Industrial mineral open pit mine sites range in size from one acre sand and gravel pits to 1,000 acre limestone sites. This type of mining operation removes topsoil and other soil material to expose the mineral commodity. Blasting usually is required to fracture the mineral from the formation. Open pit operations have a long-term mine plan boundary, where mining could occur, and a permitted boundary (also known as bonded), where the active mining operations can occur inside of the long term mine plan boundary. Areas where overburden is removed and placed must be permitted. There are places in the Ozarks where the limestone outcrops from the soil or has very little soil material above the mineral formation. In northern Missouri, there may be 90 feet of soil above a mineral formation. Open pit operations have a reclamation responsibility and therefore must remain permitted with the department until the last acre has been released from reclamation responsibility. Open pit mining operations are reclaimed to the post-mining land use of development, water, agriculture and wildlife. Learn more: Clay Pit Reclamation - PUB2812


Permits to conduct open pit mining are required