FERROUS METALLIC MINING
The legislature finds all of the following:
That attracting and aiding new mining enterprises and expanding the mining industry in Wisconsin is part of Wisconsin public policy.
That mining for nonferrous metallic minerals is different from mining for ferrous minerals because in mining for nonferrous metallic minerals, sulfide minerals react, when exposed to air and water, to form acid drainage.
That if the mineral products and waste materials associated with nonferrous metallic sulfide mining operations are not properly managed and controlled, they can cause significant damage to the environment, affect human health, and degrade the quality of life of the affected community.
That the special concerns surrounding nonferrous metallic mining warrant more stringent regulatory measures than those warranted for ferrous mineral mining operations.
That the provisions in ch. 293
, 2011 stats., are a deterrent to ferrous mineral mining in this state and are not necessary to ensure that ferrous mineral mining will be conducted in an environmentally sound manner.
That simplifying and shortening the permitting process for ferrous mineral mining when compared to nonferrous metallic mineral mining, as Minnesota and Michigan have done, will encourage ferrous mineral mining in Wisconsin and create jobs and generate resources for the state.
That because of the fixed location of ferrous mineral deposits in the state, it is probable that mining those deposits will result in adverse impacts to wetlands and that, therefore, the use of wetlands for bulk sampling and mining activities, including the disposal or storage of mining wastes or materials, or the use of other lands for mining activities that would have a significant adverse impact on wetlands, is presumed to be necessary.
History: 2013 a. 1
In this subchapter:
“Air pollution" means the presence in the atmosphere of one or more air contaminants in such quantities and of such duration as is injurious to human health or welfare, animal or plant life, or property.
“Applicant" means a person who applies for, or is preparing to apply for, an exploration license or a mining permit or who files a bulk sampling plan.
“Approval" means, except as provided in par. (b)
, any permit, license, certification, contract, or other authorization that the department issues, or any other action by the department, that is required for exploration, to engage in bulk sampling at a bulk sampling site, or to construct or operate a mining site, including any action required for any of the following:
The withdrawal of land entered as county forest land under s. 28.11
and any modification of, or amendment to, a county forest land use plan necessitated by the withdrawal of the land.
The withdrawal of land designated as managed forest land under subch. VI of ch. 77
and any modification of, or amendment to, a managed forest land management plan necessitated by the withdrawal of the land.
“Approval" does not include a permit, license, certification, contract, or other authorization related to the construction of any new plant, equipment, property, or facility for the production, transmission, delivery, or furnishing of power.
“Background water quality" means the concentration of a substance in groundwater as determined by monitoring at locations that will not be affected by a mining site.
“Baseline water quality" means the concentration of a substance in groundwater or surface water as determined by monitoring before mining operations begin.
“Borrow materials" means soil or rock used in construction or reclamation activities.
“Bulk sampling" means excavating in a potential mining site by removing less than 10,000 tons of material for the purposes of obtaining site-specific data to assess the quality and quantity of the ferrous mineral deposits and of collecting data from and analyzing the excavated materials in order to prepare the application for a mining permit or for any other approval.
“Closing" means the time at which a mining waste site ceases to accept mining wastes.
“Closure" means the actions taken by an operator to prepare a mining waste site for long-term care and to make it suitable for other uses.
“Construct" means to engage in a program of on-site construction, including site clearing, grading, dredging, or filling of land.
“Department" means the department of natural resources.
“Disposal" means the discharge, deposit, injection, dumping, or placing of a substance into or on any land or water.
“Environmental impact report" means a document submitted by a person seeking a mining permit that discloses environmental impacts of the proposed mining.
“Environmental pollution" means contaminating or rendering unclean or impure the air, land, or waters of the state, or making the air, land, or waters of the state injurious to public health or animal or plant life.
“Ferrous mineral" means an ore or earthen material in natural deposits in or on the earth that primarily exists in the form of an iron oxide, including taconite and hematite.
“Fill area" means an area proposed to receive or that is receiving direct application of mining waste.
“Freeboard" means the height of the top of a dam above the adjacent liquid surface within the impoundment.
“Groundwater" means any of the waters of the state occurring in a saturated subsurface geological formation of rock or soil.
“Groundwater quality" means the chemical, physical, biological, thermal, or radiological quality of groundwater at a site or within an underground aquifer.
“Groundwater quality standards" means numerical values consisting of enforcement standards and preventive action limits contained in Table 1 of s. NR 140.10
, and Table 2 of s. NR 140.12
, Wis. Adm. Code, and any preventive action limits for indicator parameters identified under s. NR 140.20 (2)
, Wis. Adm. Code.
“Leachate" means water or other liquid that has been contaminated by dissolved or suspended materials due to contact with refuse disposed of on the mining site.
“Merchantable by-product" means all waste soil, rock, mineral, liquid, vegetation, and other material directly resulting from or displaced by the mining, cleaning, or preparation of minerals, during mining operations, that are determined by the department to be marketable upon a showing of marketability made by the operator, accompanied by a verified statement by the operator of his or her intent to sell the material within 3 years from the time it results from or is displaced by mining.
“Mining" means all or part of the process involved in the mining of a ferrous mineral, other than for exploration, including commercial extraction, agglomeration, beneficiation, construction of roads, removal of overburden, and the production of refuse, involving the removal of more than 15,000 tons of earth material a year in the regular operation of a business for the purpose of extracting a ferrous mineral.
“Mining plan" means a proposal for mining on a mining site, including a description of the systematic activities to be used for the purpose of extracting ferrous minerals.
“Mining site" means the surface area disturbed by mining, including the surface area from which the ferrous minerals or refuse or both have been removed, the surface area covered by refuse, all lands disturbed by the construction or improvement of haulageways, and any surface areas in which structures, equipment, materials, and any other things used in the mining are situated.
“Mining waste" means tailings, waste rock, mine overburden, waste treatment sludges, or other discarded material, including solid, liquid, semi-solid, or contained gaseous material, resulting from mining or from the cleaning or preparation of ferrous minerals during mining operations, except that “mining waste" does not include topsoil and mine overburden intended to be returned to the mining site or used in the reclamation process and that is placed on the mining site for those purposes, as provided for in the approved mining plan, and does not include merchantable by-products.
“Mining waste site" means any land or appurtenances thereto used for the storage or disposal of mining waste or for the storage of merchantable by-products, but does not include land or appurtenances used in the production or transportation of mining waste, such as the concentrator, haul roads, or tailings pipelines, that are part of the mining site.
“Nonferrous metallic mineral" means an ore or other earthen material to be excavated from natural deposits on or in the earth for its metallic content but not primarily for its iron oxide content.
“Operator" means any person who is engaged in mining, or who holds a mining permit, whether individually, jointly, or through subsidiaries, agents, employees, or contractors.
“Overburden" means any unconsolidated material that overlies bedrock.
“Person" means an individual, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association, local governmental agency, interstate agency, state agency, or federal agency.
“Piping" means the progressive erosion of materials from an embankment or foundation caused by the seepage of water.
“Principal shareholder" means any person who owns at least 10 percent of the beneficial ownership of an applicant or operator.
“Reagent" means a substance or compound that is added to a system in order to bring about a chemical reaction or is added to see if a reaction occurs to confirm the presence of another substance.
“Reclamation" means the process by which an area physically or environmentally affected by exploration or mining is rehabilitated to either its original state or to a state that provides long-term environmental stability.
“Reclamation plan" means the proposal for the reclamation of an exploration site under s. 295.44 (2) (b)
or a mining site under s. 295.49
“Refuse" means all mining waste and all waste materials deposited on or in the mining site from other sources, except merchantable by-products.
“Related person" means any person that owns or operates a mining site in the United States and that is one of the following when an application for a mining permit is submitted to the department:
A person that holds more than a 30 percent ownership interest in the applicant.
A subsidiary or affiliate of the applicant in which the applicant holds more than a 30 percent ownership interest.
“Subsidence" means lateral or vertical ground movement caused by a failure, initiated at the mine, of a man-made underground mine, that directly damages residences or commercial buildings, except that “subsidence" does not include lateral or vertical ground movement caused by earthquake, landslide, soil conditions, soil erosion, soil freezing and thawing, or roots of trees and shrubs.
“Tailings" means waste material resulting from beneficiation of crushed ferrous minerals at a concentrator or from washing, concentration, or treatment of crushed ferrous minerals.
“Unsuitable" means that the land proposed for mining is not suitable for mining because the mining activity will more probably than not destroy or irreparably damage any of the following:
Habitat required for survival of species of vegetation or wildlife designated as endangered through prior inclusion in rules adopted by the department, if the endangered species cannot be reestablished elsewhere.
Unique features of the land, as determined by state or federal designation and incorporated in rules adopted by the department, as any of the following, which cannot have their unique characteristic preserved by relocation or replacement elsewhere:
“Wastewater and sludge storage or treatment lagoon" means a man-made containment structure that is constructed primarily of earthen materials, that is for the treatment or storage of wastewater, storm water, or sludge, and that is not a land disposal system, as defined in s. NR 140.05 (11)
, Wis. Adm. Code.
“Water supply" means the sources and their surroundings from which water is supplied for drinking or domestic purposes.
History: 2013 a. 1
Responsibilities related to mining.
The department shall serve as the central unit of state government to ensure that the impact from mining and reclamation on the air, lands, waters, plants, fish, and wildlife in this state will be minimized and offset to the extent practicable. The administration of occupational health and safety laws and rules that apply to mining remain exclusively the responsibility of the department of safety and professional services. The powers and duties of the geological and natural history survey under s. 36.25 (6)
remain exclusively the responsibility of the geological and natural history survey. Nothing in this section prevents the department of safety and professional services and the geological and natural history survey from cooperating with the department in the exercise of their respective powers and duties.
History: 2013 a. 1
“Abandonment" means the filling or sealing of a drillhole.
“Clay slurry" means a fluid mixture of native clay formation or commercial clay or clay mineral products and water prepared with only the amount of water necessary to produce fluidity.
“Concrete grout" means a mixture consisting of type A portland cement and an equal or lesser volume of dry sand combined with water.
“Driller" means a person who performs core, rotary, percussion, or other drilling involved in exploration for ferrous minerals.
“Drilling site" means the area disturbed by exploration, including the drillhole.
“Dump bailer" means a cylindrical container with a valve that empties the contents of the container at the bottom of a drillhole.
“Explorer" means any person who engages in exploration or who contracts for the services of drillers for the purpose of exploration.
“Exploration" means the on-site geologic examination from the surface of an area by core, rotary, percussion, or other drilling, where the diameter of the hole does not exceed 18 inches, for the purpose of searching for ferrous minerals or establishing the nature of a known ferrous mineral deposit, including associated activities such as clearing and preparing sites or constructing roads for drilling. “Exploration" does not include drilling for the purpose of collecting soil samples or for determining radioactivity by means of placement of devices that are sensitive to radiation.
“License year" means the period beginning on July 1 of any year and ending on the following June 30.
“Neat cement grout" means a mixture consisting of type A portland cement and water.