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U.S. Laws and Regulations Governing Gold Mining on Private and Federal Lands Prepared by National Mining Association (NMA) www.nma.org October, 2005 Background

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u s laws and regulations governing gold mining on private and federal lands

U.S. Laws and Regulations Governing Gold Mining on Private and Federal Lands

Prepared by National Mining Association (NMA)

www.nma.org

October, 2005

background
Background
  • U.S. laws and regulations governing gold mining on federal (public) and private lands cover a broad range of environmental, worker safety, materials handling, labor relations, public comment, mandatory land reclamation and land access matters.
  • Some laws, such as the General Mining Law, are specific to mining of metals on federal lands, while requirements affecting environmental performance and public comment, for example, apply to all of American industry.
  • Most metals mining in the United States occurs in 12 western states, where much of the land is owned by the federal government.
federal public lands
Federal (Public Lands)
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the U.S. Department of the Interior is responsible for approximately 700 million acres of Federal mineral estate.
    • 168 million acres have been withdrawn from entry, leasing and sale, except for valid existing rights. (First class lands)
    • 182 million acres are restricted. (Second class lands)
    • Remaining lands are accessible, subject to laws and regulations. (Third class lands)
withdrawn lands
Withdrawn Lands
  • National Parks 80.0 million acres
  • Wilderness Preservation System (FWS) 20.0 million acres
    • Plus total ANWAR wilderness 11.0 million acres
  • Wilderness Preservation System (FS) 34.7 million acres
    • Plus National Recreation Areas 2.6 million acres
  • Wilderness Preservation System (BLM) 5.3 million acres
    • National Monuments 5.5 million acres
    • Plus National Conservation Areas 1.0 million acres
  • Type 1 (reservoir withdrawn lands) 6.9 million acres
    • Plus acquired land

Total 168.0 million acres

restricted lands
Restricted Lands
  • National Recreation Areas (NPS) 3.7 million acres
  • All Wildlife Refuges (FWS) 63.0 million acres
    • Except ANWAR
  • Future Roadless Areas (FS) 58.5 million acres
  • Wilderness Study Areas (BLM) 32.2 million acres
  • Acquired Lands (BOR) 1.0 million acres
  • DOD 24.0 million acres

Total182.0 million acres

Mineral development activities are subject to Federal Surface Management Agency (SMA) approval and only if not in conflict with land use designation.

regulatory authority federal lands
Regulatory Authority: Federal Lands
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 40 CFR 6
    • Establishes EPA procedures for complying with NEPA
    • Establishes requirements for contents of Environment Impact Statement (EIS)
    • Establishes EPA procedures for floodplain management and wetlands protection
regulatory authority federal lands8
Regulatory Authority: Federal Lands
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Surface Management Regulations 43 CFR 3802, 3809
    • Establishes requirements for approval of construction of access roads and power lines on public lands under BLM jurisdiction
    • Requires Environmental Assessment/Environmental Impact Statement to address existing physical, biological, visual, cultural and socio-economic resources, impacts of proposed activity on these resources and mitigative measures
    • Requires activities to be conducted to prevent unnecessary and undue degradation
    • Generally requires plans of operation and reclamation and financial assurance for reclamation
regulatory authority federal lands9
Regulatory Authority: Federal Lands
  • Forest Service (FS) Regulations, 36 CFR 228
    • Establishes requirements for approval of activities including exploration, mining, construction of access roads and power lines on public lands under FS jurisdiction
    • Requires Environment Assessment/Environmental Impact Statement to address existing physical biological, visual, cultural and socio-economic resources, impacts of proposed activity on these resources and mitigative measures.
    • Requires activities to be conducted to minimize adverse environmental impacts where feasible
    • Generally requires plans of operation and reclamation and financial assurance for reclamation.
regulatory authority reclamation
Regulatory Authority: Reclamation
  • Current federal regulations provide for mandatory reclamation of any disturbance on public lands.
  • BLM and the Forest Service have reclamation policies requiring mining operations to provide financial assurances for all mining activities on lands under their control
  • All mining states have adopted reclamation laws that take into account local climate, geological and land use conditions
regulatory authority environment
Regulatory Authority: Environment
  • States have primacy for environmental regulation of mining on federal and non-federal lands through the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
  • States enforce their own regulatory programs through state water quality standards, among other laws.
mining law of 1872
Mining Law of 1872
  • Governs access to federal lands
  • Covers exploration for and development of minerals on federal (public) lands.
  • Establishes private mining rights to “locatable” minerals on federal lands.
    • Covers all valuable metallic minerals (e.g., gold, silver, lead, tin, copper) and large group of nonmetallic minerals (e.g., calcium borates, feldspar, fluorspar and gypsum).
    • Does not include leasable minerals (e.g., oil, gas, coal, etc.) or salable minerals such as sand and gravel.
  • Has evolved through series of legislative, judicial and administrative modifications. More than 37 statutes enacted that either directly amend the Mining Law or apply to operations conducted under the Mining Law.
mining law of 187213
Mining Law of 1872
  • Patents
    • 3 million acres have gone into private ownership by mineral claimants. In contrast:
      • 288 million acres converted under agricultural homesteads
      • 94 million acres provided as land grants to railroads
    • Congressional moratorium placed on further patents in 1994
      • Applications in process were grandfathered
      • All patents subject to objections
mining law of 187214
Mining Law of 1872
  • Maintenance fees
  • Claims fees
u s laws and regulations at each step in mining process

U.S. Laws and Regulations at Each Step in Mining Process

Exploration

Mining

Materials Handling

Processing

Smelting

Refining

Closure and Reclamation

1 0 exploration
Environmental/Social Considerations

Protected lands, sacred sites

U.S. Legal Protections

Withdrawn & Restricted Lands

Federal Land Planning & Management Act

Section 302(b) requires compliance with federal & state laws related to protection of environment and cultural resources. Must prevent unnecessary/undue degradation 43 CFR 3809.415(a); 3809.420(b)(8)

National Historic Preservation Program

Section 106 (16 U.S.C. 470f)

1.0 Exploration
1 0 exploration17
Environmental/Social Considerations

Air and water safety

U.S. Legal Protections

Federal & State Clean Air Act

State Water Quality Standards

Resource Conservation & Recovery Act

Federal Land Planning & Management Act

Air – 3809.420(b)(4)

Water – 3809.420(b)(5)

Waste – 3809.420(b)(2)

1.0 Exploration
1 0 exploration18
Environmental/Social Considerations

Host community consultation

U.S. Legal Protections

Public hearings (consultation) at various stages in permitting process

1.0 Exploration
2 0 surface mining
Environmental/Social Considerations

Underground water quality/flow

Worker safety

U.S. Legal Protections

Federal Safe Drinking Water Act & regulations

State groundwater protection requirements

State aquifer protection programs

Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) 30 U.S.C. 801 et seq.

2.0 Surface Mining
2 0 surface mining20
Environmental/Social Considerations

Safe use of explosives

U.S. Legal Protections

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives

Regulations on purchase, storage and use of explosive materials, including training, security precautions and communications among employees when using explosives

30 CFR part 56, Subpart E (MSHA)

27 CRF Part 55S (ATF)

2.0 Surface Mining
2 0 surface mining21
Environmental/Social Considerations

Proper development

Safe water discharges

U.S. Legal Protections

Required to prevent unnecessary/undue degradation. Must mitigate

3809.420(a)(4)

3809.420(b)(2)

Must have stormwater management plan

NPDES Permit

2.0 Surface Mining
2 0 surface mining22
Environmental/Social Considerations

Safe handling/storage of fuels, hazardous materials

U.S. Legal Protections

Department of Transportation HAZMAT regulations, MSHA, OSHA & EPA requirements

Superfund Amendments & Reauthorization Act (SARA) Title III notice requirements, including Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) requirements

2.0 Surface Mining
3 0 underground mining
Environmental/Social Considerations

Management of mine wastes

Worker and mine safety

U.S. Legal Protections

Must be managed to prevent unnecessary/undue degradation

3809.420(b)(2)

Extensivestate requirements, RCRA imminent hazard authority

CERCLA liabilities

30 CFR Parts 48, 57, 58, 62

MSHA regulations re employee training, operator safety and health and provisions for use of protective equipment as necessary

3.0 Underground Mining
3 0 underground mining24
Environmental/Social Considerations

Protection of aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity, water supply

U.S. Legal Protections

Must monitor for and meet state water quality standards/criteria within jurisdictional waters, must have Clean Water Act Section 402 permit for water discharge, 404 permit for discharge of fill material

Safe Drinking Water Act

3.0 Underground Mining
4 0 materials handling
Environment/Social Considerations

Appropriate construction of roads, waste, disposal facilities and other support operations

Protection of ecosystems

U.S. Legal Protections

All roads and other facilities must be reclaimed 3809.420(b)(1,3,5) and state requirements for reclamation plans must be approved and bonded prior to mining.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process; no unnecessary/undue degradation. State requirements to protect/mitigate adverse effects

4.0 Materials Handling
4 0 materials handling26
Environmental/Social Considerations

Safe use or discharge of chemicals

U.S. Legal Protections

Discharges must be controlled to prevent unnecessary/undue degradation 3809.420(b)(11)

State & Federal Clean Water Act-

NPDES (Section 402)

Nationwide and Individual Permits (Section 404)

CERCLA Liabilities

RCRA imminent hazard authority

State groundwater requirements

4.0 Materials Handling
5 0 ore processing beneficiation
Environmental/Social Considerations

Safe operation of heap leaching facilities and use of cyanide and other chemicals

Safe operation of tailings facilities

U.S. Legal Protections

Federal & State Clean Water Act requirements; Spill Prevention Control Countermeasures (SPCC) plan required; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) Natural Resource Damage (NRD) liability; state requirements. Must minimize the release of leaching solutions in the environment 3809.420(b)(11)

See above

5.0 Ore Processing/Beneficiation
5 0 ore processing beneficiation28
Environmental/Social Considerations

Safe use of cyanide and other chemicals

Operator safety and health

Control of acid mine drainage

U.S. Legal Protections

Federal and state Clean Water Act/NPDES permits; CERCLA NRD liability; CWA SPCC plans; must minimize the release of leaching solutions into the environment 3809.420(b)(11)

30 CRF Parts 48 et al – Employee training and operator safety and health.

Must prevent unnecessary/undue degradation and minimize; state & federal requirements to reclaim mined area with potential to generate AMD

5.0 Ore Processing/Beneficiation
6 0 smelting
Environmental/Social Considerations

Employee health and safety

Air emissions

U.S. Legal Protections

30 CRF Part 56, subpart D, H, J, K, M, N, O, Q; 30 CFR Part 62 (MSHA); 30 CFR Part 48

29 CFR Parts 1900-1910 (OSHA) require protection of employees form exposure to safety or health conditions that might endanger them.

State and federal Clean Air Act requirements

6.0 Smelting
7 0 refining
Environmental/Social Considerations

Tailings, waste residue

Use of cyanide

U.S. Legal Protections

Federal and state Clean Water Act requirements; SPCC plan required; CERCLA NRD liability

See above

7.0 Refining
8 0 closure reclamation
Environmental/Social Considerations

Long-term plan, strategy

Physical and socio-economic stability

US Legal Protections

Required to submit reclamation plan with plan of operations and to bond

3809.401(b)(3)

Reclamation plan subject to public comments/hearings

8.0 Closure & Reclamation
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