PUB595 - Mining and Coal Exploration

Department of Natural Resources fact sheet
Department of Natural Resources Director: Carol S. Comer

Mining and Coal Exploration
The Land Reclamation Program (LRP) is responsible for regulating surface mining operations throughout Missouri. Mining in Missouri is divided into three categories defined by three different mining laws. These are 1) coal mines, 2) industrial minerals mines and 3) metallic minerals mines. Coal mining is administered under programs created by the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 and the corresponding state law is the Missouri Surface Mining Law. Industrial minerals are administered through the Missouri Land Reclamation Act, and metallic minerals are administered through the Missouri Metallic Minerals Waste Management Law. The three state statutes are all contained in Chapter 444 (RSMo). The portion of the Code of State Regulations (CSR) that governs and outlines the program’s responsibilities is recorded in 10 CSR 40. LRP also regulates the disposal of metallic mineral waste, which is recorded in 10 CSR 45.

A Coal Exploration Permit is required for exploratory drilling and test-pit excavation. Separate permit requirements apply for drilling operations and exploration work that remove more than 250 tons of coal, cause substantial disturbance to the natural land surface, or take place on land designated unsuitable for surface mining. An application fee and a reclamation bond of $5,000 must be posted for drilling operations. Full-cost bonding is needed for other exploration activities. Air pollution, water pollution, or Mine Safety and Health Administration permits may be required.

An Industrial Surface Mining Permit is required for the surface mining and surface disturbance associated with the underground mining of gravel, limestone, granite, traprock, tar sands, clay, barite, sandstone, oil shale, sand, shale, and all others as defined in Chapter 444.765 (RSMo). An application fee and reclamation bond must be posted. These operations typically require other permits from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, including the Air Pollution Control Program and the Water Pollution Control Branch. Should the mining occur in a stream, a permit may also be required by the nearest U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District Office. Mine Safety and Health Administration permits usually also are required.

A Metallic Mineral Waste Management Permit is required for the disposal of waste from metallic minerals mining, benefaction, and processing. A permit fee and financial assurance are required. Coordination is recommended with the department’s Air Pollution Control Program, Water Pollution Control Branch, Survey’s Dam Safety Program, Solid Waste Management Program, and Hazardous Waste Management Program. For additional information, contact LRP at 573-751-4041.

A Surface Coal Mine and Reclamation Permit is required for any surface coal mine operation as well as the surface disturbance associated with underground coal mines. An application fee, reclamation bond, and an annual permit fee are required. Air pollution, water pollution, and Mine Safety and Health Administration permits are required.

Many of the required forms are available online.

To receive a paper copy of any mining application form, please contact the Land Reclamation Program at 573-751-4041.