Virginia mineral mine operators’ surety bond has increased following the passage of House Bill 1509. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2017.
Under current law, mineral mine operators must provide a surety bond in an amount between $200 and $1,000 per acre of when becoming licensed. The number of acres is calculated based on the number of acres the operator estimates will be disturbed or otherwise affected by mining operations over the next year.
HB 1509 will increase the surety bond amount to $3,000 per acre, with the number of acres calculated in the same way as under current law. Mineral mine operators must post an additional surety bond in the same amount—$3,000 per acre—within ten days of their permit’s anniversary date. The bond posted by the operator the previous year may be released only if reclamation efforts have been completed. Reclamation is the process of restoring and stabilizing the land that was disturbed, minimizing the damage caused by mineral mining.
Mineral mine operators must obtain a mine permit and safety license through the Division of Mineral Mining in the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) in order to begin mining operations. Operators removing less than 500 tons of minerals from a mine are exempt from these requirements, including the surety bond requirement, but must still obtain a mine permit.
Mineral mine operators’ permit application can be found online through the DMME’s forms page. Permit fees are $31 per permitted acre, plus $400 for paper application submissions or $330 for electronic application submissions. The permit application packet includes the following forms:
- Permit/license application
- Notice of Application to Mine
- Property Owners List (on page 2 of Notice of Application to Mine)
- Map legend
- DMM application checklist
When all completed forms are received, the proposed mining area is surveyed by the region’s mine inspector. Permit/licenses are valid for one year and must be renewed before their annual expiration. Mineral mine operators must submit an Annual Tonnage Report for the previous year that includes information like production tonnage and workers’ hours and wages.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has compiled helpful resources for mineral mine operators, including the following:
- Mineral Mining Operator’s Manual
- Safety and Health Regulations for Mineral Mining
- Mineral Mine Laws and Regulations