The provisions of this chapter concerning public notice, comment, and hearing; issuance of department decisions; effective date of department decisions; review of department decisions; and the duration of approvals apply to any approval, regardless of whether the application is filed before or after the department issues the decision to grant or deny the application for the mining or prospecting permit, notwithstanding any provisions related to those matters in s. 44.40
, subch. I
or VI of ch. 77
, ch. 23
, or 291
, or rules promulgated under those provisions, except as provided in s. 281.343 (7r)
and except that if a withdrawal of surface water or groundwater is subject to regional review or council approval under s. 281.346
, the applicable provisions related to regional review or council approval apply.
History: 2017 a. 134
Bonds and other security. 293.51(1)(1)
Upon notification that an application for a prospecting or mining permit has been approved by the department but prior to commencing prospecting or mining, the operator shall file with the department a bond conditioned on faithful performance of all of the requirements of this chapter and all rules adopted by the department under this chapter. The bond shall be furnished by a surety company licensed to do business in this state. In lieu of a bond, the operator may deposit cash, certificates of deposit or government securities with the department. Interest received on certificates of deposit and government securities shall be paid to the operator. The amount of the bond or other security required shall be equal to the estimated cost to the state of fulfilling the reclamation plan, in relation to that portion of the site that will be disturbed by the end of the following year. The estimated cost of reclamation of each prospecting or mining site shall be determined by the department on the basis of relevant factors including, but not limited to, expected changes in the price index, topography of the site, methods being employed, depth and composition of overburden and depth of nonferrous metallic mineral deposit being mined.
An operator shall maintain proof of financial responsibility ensuring the availability of funds for compliance with the long-term care requirements specified in the waste site feasibility study and plan of operation consistent with the requirements under s. 289.41
except that, notwithstanding s. 289.41 (3)
, the operator shall furnish the proof of financial responsibility in the form of a bond, cash, certificates of deposit, government securities, or insurance.
Upon notification that an application for a mining permit has been approved by the department but prior to commencing mining, the operator shall file with the department a bond issued by a surety company licensed to do business in this state, cash, certificates of deposit, or government security, to cover unforeseen remedial contingencies not otherwise covered by the bonds or other security required under sub. (1)
, including for the provision of a replacement water supply if required under s. 293.65 (4) (d)
. The amount of the bond or other security required shall be 10 percent of the total amount of the bonds or other security required under subs. (1)
. The operator shall increase, and may decrease, the amount of the bond under this subsection according to any increase or decrease in the amount of the bonds or other security required under subs. (1)
until the operator ceases to extract material from the mining site, at which point the amount of the bond under this subsection shall remain the same until released by the department. The bond or other security under this subsection shall be released no later than 40 years after the operator ceases to extract material from the mining site.
At the time of closure of the mining waste site, the operator shall provide proof of financial responsibility to the department in an amount equal to the reasonably anticipated costs during the period between 40 and 250 years after closure of the mining waste site to repair or replace any engineered cover systems or tailings water management control systems used at the mining site or mining waste site to avoid adverse environmental consequences. At the time that the application for a mining permit is approved, the department shall determine the amount to be paid at the time of closure based on the net present value discounted at a rate of at least 5 percent per year, and identify the reasonably anticipated costs that the amount is intended to cover. The operator shall provide the proof of financial responsibility in the form of a cash deposit, which the department shall segregate and invest in an interest-bearing account; certificates of deposit, government securities, or other interest-bearing forms of security; or proof of establishment of an interest-bearing account, including an escrow account or trust account. The operator or any successor in interest may use the funds or request the department release the funds to cover any reasonably anticipated costs that were identified by the department. The department shall release any remaining funds to the operator or the operator's successor in interest after all of the reasonably anticipated costs that were identified by the department have been incurred, or upon determining that the reasonably anticipated costs are no longer applicable.
The applicant shall submit a certificate of insurance certifying that the applicant has in force a liability insurance policy issued by an insurer authorized to do business in this state, or in lieu of a certificate of insurance evidence that the applicant has satisfied state or federal self-insurance requirements, covering all mining operations of the applicant in this state and affording personal injury and property damage protection in a total amount deemed adequate by the department but not less than $50,000.
Upon approval of the operator's bond or other security under subs. (1)
, and (1r)
, mining application, and certificate of insurance, the department shall issue written authorization to commence mining at the permitted mining site in accordance with the approved mining and reclamation plans.
Any operator who obtains mining permits from the department for 2 or more mining sites may elect, at the time the 2nd or any subsequent site is approved, to post a single bond in lieu of separate bonds on each site. Any single bond so posted shall be in an amount equal to the estimated cost to the state determined under sub. (1)
of reclaiming all sites the operator has under mining permits. When an operator elects to post a single bond in lieu of separate bonds previously posted on individual sites, the separate bonds may not be released until the new bond has been accepted by the department.
The department may not require an operator to provide a type or form of financial assurance other than those specified in this section.
Any person who is engaged in mining on July 3, 1974 need not file a bond or deposit cash, certificates of deposits or government securities with the department under this section to obtain the written authorization to commence mining under sub. (3)
Review of permits; periodic reports. 293.53(1)(a)
Eighteen months after the issuance of a prospecting permit, and annually thereafter until prospecting ceases, the department shall review the permit, reclamation plan and bond to ascertain adequacy, compliance with state or federal laws enacted after the issuance of the permit and technological currency. If the department after review determines that the plan should be modified or the bond amount changed, it shall notify the permit holder of the necessary modifications or changes. If the permit holder does not request a hearing within 30 days, the modifications or changes shall be deemed accepted.
If the permit holder desires to modify the permit, an amended application shall be submitted to the department, which shall process the amendment as if it were an original application if the proposed modification substantially broadens or changes the scope of the original prospecting proposal.
To the extent that testimony and evidence submitted at the original prospecting permit proceedings or from previous modification hearings is relevant to the issues of modification or granting or denial of the amendment, it may be adopted in the subsequent proceedings, subject to the opportunity for cross-examination and rebuttal, if not unduly repetitious.
The operator shall furnish the department with a report for each mining site every 12 months after issuance of the permit, within 30 days after completion of all mining at the mining site and within 30 days after completion of the mining plan and of the reclamation plan. The reports shall include, in addition to such other information as the department requires, such information and maps as the department deems necessary to evaluate the extent of mining and the reclamation accomplished during the previous calendar year.
Annually, the department shall review the mining and reclamation plans and bonds, using the procedure specified under sub. (1)
The department shall cancel the mining permit held by any operator who fails and refuses to submit reports required under this subsection.
History: 1995 a. 227
; 1995 a. 227
An operator at any time may apply for amendment or cancellation of a mining permit or for a change in the mining or reclamation plans for any mining operation which the operator owns or leases. The operator shall submit any application for the amendment, cancellation or change on a form provided by the department and shall identify the tract of land to be added to or removed from the permitted mining site or to be affected by a change in the mining or reclamation plans.
The department shall process the application for an increase or decrease in the area of a mining site or for a substantial change in the mining or reclamation plans in the same manner as an original application for a mining permit except as provided under par. (d)
The department shall determine if any change in the mining or reclamation plans is substantial and provide notice of its determination in the same manner as specified under s. 293.43 (2m) (b)
The department shall provide notice of any modification which involves an increase or decrease in the area of a mining site or a substantial change in the mining or reclamation plan in the same manner as an original application for a mining permit under s. 293.43 (2m)
. If 5 or more interested persons do not request a hearing in writing within 30 days of notice, no hearing is required on the modification. The notice shall include a statement to this effect.
If a hearing is held, testimony and exhibits from the hearing on either the original applications for a mining permit or from previous modification hearings which are relevant to the instant modification may be adopted, subject to cross-examination and rebuttal if not unduly repetitious.
If the application is to cancel any or all of the unmined part of a mining site, the department shall ascertain, by inspection, if mining has occurred on the land. If the department finds that no mining has occurred, the department shall order release of the bond or the security posted on the land being removed from the permitted mining site and cancel or amend the operator's written authorization to conduct mining on the mining site. No land where mining has occurred may be removed from a permitted mining site or released from bond or security under this subsection, unless reclamation has been completed to the satisfaction of the department.
If the department finds that because of changing conditions, including but not limited to changes in reclamation costs, reclamation technology, minimum standards under ss. 293.13
and 293.15 (1)
or governmental land use plans, the reclamation plan for a mining site is no longer sufficient to reasonably provide for reclamation of the project site consistent with this chapter and any rules adopted under this chapter, it shall require the applicant to submit amended mining and reclamation plans which shall be processed in the same manner as an application for an original mining permit. The applicant shall be deemed to hold a temporary mining permit which shall be effective until the amended mining permit is issued or denied. The department shall review the mining and reclamation plans annually after the date of the mining permit issuance or previous review under this section.
History: 1995 a. 227
; 2017 a. 134
When one operator succeeds to the interest of another in an uncompleted mining operation by sale, assignment, lease or otherwise, the department shall release the first operator from the duties imposed upon the first operator by this chapter as to such operation if:
Both operators have complied with the requirements of this chapter; and
The successor operator discloses whether it has forfeited any performance security because of noncompliance with any prospecting or mining laws within the previous 20 years, posts any bond required under s. 293.51
and assumes all responsibilities of all applicable permits, licenses and approvals granted to the predecessor operator.
History: 1995 a. 227
Cessation of mining or reclamation.
If there is a cessation of mining or reclamation which is not set forth in either the mining plan or the reclamation plan, the operator shall so notify the department within 48 hours and shall commence stabilization of the mining site according to rules established by the department. If the department determines after hearing that stabilization of the mining site is inadequate to protect the environment, the department shall order the operator to commence additional measures to protect the environment, including, if the cessation is reasonably anticipated to extend for a protracted period of time, reclamation according to the reclamation plan or part of the reclamation plan. Usual and regular shutdown of operations on weekends, for maintenance or repair of equipment or facilities or for other customary reasons shall not constitute a cessation of mining.
History: 1977 c. 421
; 1995 a. 227
; Stats. 1995 s. 293.59.
Determination of abandonment of mining. 293.61(1)(1)
Except as provided under sub. (2)
, abandonment of mining occurs if there is a cessation of mining, not set forth in an operator's mining or reclamation plans or by any other sufficient written or constructive notice, extending for more than 6 consecutive months.
Abandonment of mining does not occur:
If the cessation of mining is due either to labor strikes or to such unforeseen developments as adverse market conditions, as determined by the department;
If the cessation of mining does not continue beyond the time period specified by the department. The time limit specified by the department may not exceed 5 years for a mining operation for which a permit is issued under s. 293.49
on or after May 19, 1984. The time limit specified by the department may not exceed 10 years for a mining operation for which a permit is issued under s. 293.49
before May 19, 1984;
If the site is maintained in an environmentally stable manner, as determined by the department, during the cessation of mining; and
If the reclamation of the site continues according to the reclamation plan during the cessation of mining to the extent possible.
History: 1983 a. 517
; 1995 a. 227
; Stats. 1995 s. 293.61.
Certificate of completion, partial completion and bond release. 293.63(1)(1)
Upon the petition of the operator, but not less than 4 years after notification to the department by the operator of the completion of the reclamation plan, if the department finds after conducting a hearing that the operator has completed reclamation for any portion of the mining site in accordance with the reclamation plan and this chapter, the department shall issue a certificate of completion setting forth a description of the area reclaimed and a statement that the operator has fulfilled its duties under the reclamation plan as to that area.
Upon the issuance of any certificate of completion under sub. (1)
for any portion of the mining site, but not for the entire mining site, the department shall allow the operator to reduce the amount of the bond to an amount which shall equal the estimated cost of reclamation of the portion of the mining site which is disturbed or for which reclamation has been completed but no certificate of completion has been issued.
Upon issuance of a certificate or certificates of completion of reclamation for the entire mining site, the department shall require that the operator maintain a bond equal to at least 10 percent of the cost to the state of reclamation of the entire mining site if mining of the site was wholly underground, and at least 20 percent of the cost to the state of reclamation of the entire mining site if any surface mining was conducted. Where the mining site in the mining plan is less than 10 acres, the department may release the bond after issuance of the certificate under sub. (1)
After 20 years after the issuance of a certificate or certificates of completion for the entire mining site, the department shall release the bond if the department finds that the reclamation plan has been complied with.
The department shall, by rule, establish a procedure for release of reclamation bonds for prospecting sites similar to subs. (1)
, but with shorter time periods.
History: 1973 c. 318
; 1977 c. 421
; 1995 a. 227
; Stats. 1995 s. 293.63.
Withdrawal of surface waters; withdrawal of groundwater; damage claims. 293.65(1)(1)
This section governs the withdrawal of groundwaters or surface waters by persons engaged in prospecting or mining. Discharges of waters are subject to ch. 283
, construction of necessary dams or other structures is subject to chs. 30
and construction of wells is subject to ch. 280
, to the extent applicable.
Withdrawal of surface water; permit required. 293.65(2)(a)
Any person intending to withdraw surface waters for prospecting or mining shall apply to the department for a permit. The forms and procedures used under s. 30.18
apply to the extent practicable.
The department, upon receipt of an application for a permit, shall determine the minimum stream flow or lake level necessary to protect public rights, the minimum flow or level necessary to protect the rights of affected riparians, the point downstream beyond which riparian rights are not likely to be injured by the proposed withdrawal and the amount of surplus water, as defined in s. 30.01 (6d)
, if any, at the point of the proposed withdrawal.
At the hearing on the permit application, the department shall take testimony on:
The public rights in the lake or stream and the related environment which may be injured by the proposed withdrawal;
The public benefits provided by increased employment, economic activity and tax revenues from the mining operation;
The direct and indirect social and economic costs and benefits of the proposed mining operation;
Whether the proposed withdrawal will consume nonsurplus water;
The rights of competing users of such water resources; and
Any other issues identified by the department as relevant to the decision of whether to issue or deny a permit.
Within 30 days after hearing, the department shall issue or deny a permit. The following standards shall govern the decision of the department:
If injury to public rights exceeds the public benefits generated by the mining, the permit shall be denied.
If the proposed withdrawal will consume nonsurplus waters, and will unreasonably injure rights of riparians identified by par. (b)
who are beneficially using such waters, the permit shall be denied unless a permit is granted under par. (e)
or all such riparians consent to the proposed withdrawal.
The department may require modification of a proposed withdrawal so as to avoid injury to public or riparian rights, and as modified, may grant the permit.
Water withdrawn in accordance with a permit issued under this subsection may be used on nonriparian property.
The department shall maintain continuing jurisdiction over water withdrawal made according to permits issued under this subsection and may modify such permits to prevent undue injury to riparians who gave consent under par. (d) 2.
at the time of issuance of the permit.
Hearings on applications for withdrawal permits under this subsection shall be preceded by mailed notice to all parties or affected persons and by publication in the affected area of a class 2 notice, under ch. 985
. Hearings may be conducted as part of a hearing on an application for a mining permit under s. 293.37
If a hearing on the application for a permit is conducted as a part of a hearing under s. 293.43
, the notice and hearing provisions in that section supersede the notice and hearing provisions of this subsection.
Withdrawal of groundwater; dewatering; permit requirements. 293.65(3)(a)(a)
An approval under s. 281.34
is required to withdraw groundwater for prospecting or mining or to dewater mines if the capacity and rate of withdrawal of all wells involved in the withdrawal of groundwater or the dewatering of mines exceeds 100,000 gallons each day. A permit under s. 283.31
is required to discharge pollutants resulting from the dewatering of mines.
The department may not issue an approval under s. 281.34
if the withdrawal of groundwater for prospecting or mining purposes or the dewatering of mines will result in the unreasonable detriment of public or private water supplies or the unreasonable detriment of public rights in the waters of the state. No withdrawal of groundwater for prospecting or mining purposes or the dewatering of mines may be made to the unreasonable detriment of public or private water supplies or the unreasonable detriment of public rights in the waters of the state. Notwithstanding any limitation on approval conditions in s. 281.34
, if the department determines that a proposed withdrawal of groundwater or dewatering of mines will result in the unreasonable detriment of public or private water supplies or the unreasonable detriment of public rights in the waters of the state the department shall include conditions in the mining or prospecting permit or in an approval issued under s. 281.34
to ensure that the withdrawal or dewatering will not result in the unreasonable detriment of public or private water supplies or the unreasonable detriment of public rights in the waters of the state. These conditions may include a requirement that the applicant for the mining or prospecting permit or approval under s. 281.34
provide a replacement water supply of similar quality, provide an increased amount of water to the water supply, or temporarily augment the quantity of water in, or flowing into or from, the affected waters of the state that is of substantially similar quality and that has substantially similar characteristics to the water that was in the affected waters of the state before any proposed mining or prospecting activity began.
As used in this subsection, “person" does not include a town, village or city.
A person claiming damage to the quantity or quality of his or her private water supply caused by prospecting or mining may file a complaint with the department and, if there is a need for an immediate alternative source of water, with the town, village or city where the private water supply is located. The department shall conduct an investigation and if the department concludes that there is reason to believe that the prospecting or mining is interrelated to the condition giving rise to the complaint, it shall schedule a hearing.
The town, village or city within which is located the private water supply which is the subject of the complaint shall, upon request, supply necessary amounts of water to replace that water formerly obtained from the damaged private supply. Responsibility to supply water shall commence at the time the complaint is filed and shall end at the time the decision of the department made at the conclusion of the hearing is implemented.
If the department concludes after the hearing that prospecting or mining is the principal cause of the damage to the private water supply, it shall issue an order to the operator requiring the provision of water to the person found to be damaged in a like quantity and quality to that previously obtained by the person and for a period of time that the water supply, if undamaged, would be expected to provide a beneficial use, requiring reimbursement to the town, village or city for the cost of supplying water under par. (c)
, if any, and requiring the payment of compensation for any damages unreasonably inflicted on the person as a result of damage to his or her water supply. The department shall order the payment of full compensatory damages up to $75,000 per claimant. The department shall issue its written findings and order within 60 days after the close of the hearing. Any judgment awarded in a subsequent action for damages to a private water supply caused by prospecting or mining shall be reduced by any award of compensatory damages previously made under this subsection for the same injury and paid by the operator. The dollar amount under this paragraph shall be changed annually according to the method under s. 70.375 (6)
. Pending the final decision on any appeal from an order issued under this paragraph, the operator shall provide water as ordered by the department. The existence of the relief under this section is not a bar to any other statutory or common law remedy for damages.
If the department concludes after the hearing that prospecting or mining is not the cause of any damage, reimbursement to the town, village or city for the costs of supplying water under par. (c)
, if any, is the responsibility of the person who filed the complaint.
Failure of an operator to comply with an order under par. (d)
is grounds for suspension or revocation of a prospecting or mining permit.
This subsection applies to any claim for damages to a private water supply occurring after June 3, 1978.
Costs incurred by a town, village or city in monitoring the effects of prospecting or mining on surface water and groundwater resources, in providing water to persons claiming damage to private water supplies under sub. (4) (c)
, or in retaining legal counsel or technical consultants to represent and assist the town, village or city appearing at the hearing under sub. (4) (b)
are reimbursable through the investment and local impact fund under s. 15.435
Any costs paid to a town, village or city through the investment and local impact fund under par. (a)
shall be reimbursed to the fund by the town, village or city if the town, village or city receives funds from any other source for the costs incurred under par. (a)