Effective July 1, 2016, the performance surety bond amount required for surface mining operations will increase from a maximum of $2,500 per acre to a maximum of $15,000 per acre. The bond increase is included in Senate Bill 1197, signed into law on February 25 by Gov. Butch Otter. The bill modifies sections of Title 47, Chapter 15 of the Idaho Statutes.
Surface mining occurs when minerals are extracted by removing the soil and rock above. In contrast, underground mining leaves the soil and rock in place and transports minerals through shafts or tunnels. The Surface Mining Act of 1971 requires that land used for surface mining is reclaimed when mining is through, meaning the mining operation must return the land to a “productive condition.” Anyone conducting a surface mining operation must submit a reclamation plan to the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) for approval.
Surface mining operations in Idaho also require a performance bond as a reclamation guarantee. The bond ensures that the operator will perform reclamation as required by law. The State Board of Land Commissioners will determine the cost of reclaiming the mined land and the amount of bond coverage. Per the passage of S 1197, the bond amount will not exceed $15,000 per acre. If the surface mining operator fails to complete reclamation, a claim can be filed against the bond to cover reclamation costs.
The reclamation bond can be canceled with 90 days’ notice to the IDL. However, cancellation does not absolve the bond holder of liability accumulated before cancellation.
In lieu of a performance bond, mining operators have the option of filing other types of security assurances:
- Certificate of deposit/time deposit receipt
- Letter of credit
Contact the IDL with questions about surface mining and land reclamation in the state. SuretyBonds.com can help you get bonded in Idaho quickly, easily and accurately.