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)
If an order under sub. (4) (d)
requiring the operator to provide water or to reimburse the town, village or city for the cost of supplying water is appealed and is not upheld, the court shall order the cost incurred by the operator in providing water or in reimbursing the town, village or city pending the final decision to be reimbursed from the investment and local impact fund under s. 15.435
Groundwater quality. 293.66(1)(1)
For the site of any activity that will take place under a mining or prospecting permit or under another approval related to a mining or prospecting operation, the department shall determine the depth in the Precambrian bedrock below which the groundwater is not reasonably capable of being used or made suitable for human consumption and is not hydrologically connected to other sources of groundwater that are suitable for human consumption. The department shall notify the applicant of its determination before the department issues a draft environmental impact statement.
For an activity regulated under a mining or prospecting permit or another approval related to the mining or prospecting operation, the department may not apply a groundwater enforcement standard at any point that is deeper than the depth identified under sub. (1)
History: 2017 a. 134
GENERAL PROVISIONS; ENFORCEMENT
Exploring, bulk sampling, prospecting, and mining without authorization.
Any person who engages in exploration without a license or bulk sampling without the necessary license or approvals shall forfeit not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for each parcel as defined under s. 293.21 (1) (b)
on which unlicensed exploration or bulk sampling without the necessary license or approvals took place. Any person who authorizes or engages in prospecting without a prospecting permit or any operator who authorizes or engages in mining without a mining permit and written authorization to mine under s. 293.51 (3)
shall forfeit all profits obtained from such illegal activities and not more than $10,000 for each day during which the mine was in operation. The operator shall be liable to the department for the full cost of reclaiming the affected area of land and any damages caused by the mining operation. Each day's violation of this section shall be deemed a separate offense. If the violator is a corporation, limited liability company, partnership or association, any officer, director, member, manager or partner who knowingly authorizes, supervises or contracts for exploration, bulk sampling, prospecting, or mining shall also be subject to the penalties of this section.
History: 1973 c. 318
; 1977 c. 421
; 1993 a. 112
; 1995 a. 227
; Stats. 1995 s. 293.81; 2017 a. 134
Mining and reclamation; orders. 293.83(1)(a)
Violations; order or other action required.
If the department finds a violation of law or any unapproved deviation from the mining or reclamation plan at a mining site under a mining permit:
The department shall issue an order requiring the operator to comply with the statute, rule or plan within a specified time;
The department shall require the alleged violator to appear before the department for a hearing and answer the charges complained of; or
The department shall request the department of justice to initiate action under s. 293.87
Effective dates of orders.
Any order issued under par. (a) 1.
following a hearing takes effect immediately. Any other order takes effect 10 days after the date the order is served unless the person named in the order requests in writing a hearing before the department within the 10-day period.
Hearing on orders.
If no hearing on an order issued under par. (a) 1.
was held and if the department receives a request for a hearing within 10 days after the date the order is served, the department shall provide due notice and hold a hearing.
Enforcement of orders.
The department shall cancel the mining permit for a mining site held by an operator who fails to comply with an order issued under par. (a) 1.
The department shall inform the department of justice of the cancellation within 14 days. After receiving notice of the cancellation, the department of justice shall commence an action under s. 293.87
If reclamation of a mining site is not proceeding in accordance with the reclamation plan and the operator has not commenced to rectify deficiencies within the time specified in the order, or if the reclamation is not properly completed in conformance with the reclamation plan within one year after completion or abandonment of mining on any segment of the mining site, or if the exploration license or prospecting or mining permit is revoked under s. 293.87 (2)
, excepting acts of God, such as adverse weather affecting grading, planting and growing conditions, the department, with the staff, equipment and material under its control, or by contract with others, shall take such actions as are necessary for the reclamation of mined areas. The operator shall be liable for the cost to the state of reclamation conducted under this section. Any operator who is exempted from filing a bond or depositing cash, certificates of deposits or government securities by s. 293.51 (6)
shall not be liable for an amount greater than an amount specified by the department. The specified amount shall be equal to and determined in the same manner as the amount of the bond or other security otherwise required under s. 293.51 (1)
, assuming the operator had not been exempt from such filing or depositing.
All other prospecting and mining permits held by an operator who refuses to reclaim a mining site in compliance with the reclamation plan after the completion of mining or after the cancellation of a mining permit shall be canceled. The department may not issue any prospecting or mining permits for that site or any other site in this state to an operator who refused to reclaim a mining site in compliance with the reclamation plan.
The department may issue a stop order to an operator, requiring an immediate cessation of mining, in whole or in part, at any time that the department determines that the continuance of mining constitutes an immediate and substantial threat to public health and safety or the environment.
If no hearing on the stop order was held, the department shall schedule a hearing on the stop order, to be held within 5 days after issuance of the order and shall incorporate notice of the hearing in the copy of the order served upon the operator. The department also shall give notice to any other persons who previously requested notice of such proceedings.
Within 72 hours after commencement of any hearing under par. (b)
, unless waived by agreement of the parties, the department shall issue a decision affirming, modifying or setting aside the stop order. The department may apply to the circuit court for an order extending the time, for not more than 10 days, within which the stop order shall be affirmed, modified or set aside.