“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.
“Termination" means the filling of drillholes and the reclamation of a drilling site.
No person may engage in exploration, or contract for the services of drillers for purposes of exploration, without an annual license from the department. The department shall provide copies of the application for an exploration license to the state geologist upon issuance of the exploration license. A person seeking an exploration license shall file an application that includes all of the following:
An exploration plan that includes all of the following:
A description of the site where the exploration will take place and a map of that area showing the locations of the exploration.
A description of the means and method that will be used for the exploration.
A description of the grading and stabilization of the excavation, sides, and benches that will be conducted.
A description of how the grading and stabilization of any deposits of refuse will be conducted.
A description of how any diversion and drainage of water from the exploration site will be conducted.
A description of how any backfilling will be conducted.
A description of how any pollutant-bearing minerals or materials will be covered.
A description of how the topsoils will be removed and stockpiled or how other measures will be taken to protect topsoils before exploration.
A description of how vegetative cover will be provided.
A description of how any water impoundment will be accomplished.
Identification of the means and method that will be used to prevent significant environmental pollution to the extent practicable.
A reclamation plan, designed to minimize adverse effects to the environment to the extent practicable, that includes all of the following:
A description of how all toxic and hazardous wastes and other solid waste will be disposed of in solid or hazardous waste disposal facilities licensed under ch. 289
or otherwise in an environmentally sound manner.
A description of how topsoil will be preserved for purposes of future use in reclamation.
A description of how revegetation will be conducted to stabilize disturbed soils and prevent air and water pollution to the extent practicable.
A description of how disturbance to wetlands will be minimized to the extent practicable.
A statement that all drillholes will be abandoned in compliance with sub. (5)
A certificate of insurance showing that the applicant has in force a liability insurance policy issued by an insurance company licensed to do business in this state covering all exploration conducted or contracted for by the explorer in this state and affording personal injury and property damage protection in a total amount determined to be adequate by the department, but not more than $1,000,000 and not less than $50,000.
A copy of the applicant's most recent annual report to the federal securities and exchange commission on form 10-K, or, if this is not available, a report of the applicant's current assets and liabilities or other data necessary to establish that the applicant is competent to conduct exploration in this state.
The department and the state geologist shall protect as confidential any information, other than effluent data, contained in an application for an exploration license, upon a showing that the information is entitled to protection as a trade secret, as defined in s. 134.90 (1) (c)
, and any information relating to the location, quality, or quantity of a ferrous mineral deposit, to production or sales figures, or to processes or production unique to the applicant or that would tend to adversely affect the competitive position of the applicant if made public.
An applicant shall submit, as part of the application for an exploration license, a bond in the amount of $5,000 that is conditioned on faithful performance of the requirements of this section, that is issued by a surety company licensed to do business in this state, and that provides that the bond may not be canceled by the surety, except after not less than 90 days' notice to the department in writing by registered or certified mail.
If the surety for a bond submitted under par. (a)
issues a cancellation notice, the explorer shall deliver a replacement bond at least 30 days before the expiration of the 90 day notice period. If the explorer fails to submit a replacement bond, the explorer may not engage in exploration until the explorer submits a replacement bond.
If the license of the surety company for a bond submitted under par. (a)
is revoked or suspended, the explorer, within 30 days after receiving written notice from the department, shall deliver a replacement bond. If the explorer fails to submit a replacement bond, the explorer may not engage in exploration until the explorer submits a replacement bond.
The department may require that the amount of the bond submitted under this subsection be increased at any time, if the department determines that the level of activity by the explorer makes it likely that the bond would be inadequate to fund the termination of all drillholes for which the explorer is responsible.
The department shall release a bond submitted under this subsection one year after the issuance of the last certificate of completion of exploration under sub. (9) (c) 3.
if the explorer no longer holds an exploration license and the department determines that the explorer has complied with this section.
(4) Issuance or denial of exploration license. 295.44(4)(a)(a)
Except as provided in par. (c)
, within 10 business days of receiving an administratively complete application for an exploration license, the department shall issue the exploration license or provide the notice required under par. (f)
of intent not to issue the exploration license, unless the application is for an upcoming license year. If an application is for an upcoming license year, the department shall issue the exploration license or provide the notice required under par. (f)
of intent not to issue the exploration license within 10 business days of receiving an administratively complete application or on the next July 1, whichever is later.
An application for an exploration license is considered to be administratively complete on the day that it is submitted, unless, before the 10th business day after receiving the application, the department provides the applicant with written notification that the application is not administratively complete. The department may determine that an application is not administratively complete only if the application does not include an exploration plan; a reclamation plan; an exploration license fee; a bond; a certificate of insurance; or a copy of the applicant's most recent annual report to the federal securities and exchange commission on form 10-K, or, if this is not available, a report of the applicant's current assets and liabilities or other data necessary to establish that the applicant is competent to conduct exploration in this state. The department may not consider the quality of the information provided. In a notice provided under this paragraph, the department shall identify what is missing from the application.
If the department provides notification, in compliance with par. (b)
, that an application is not administratively complete, the department shall issue the exploration license or provide the notice required under par. (f)
of intent not to issue the license within 7 business days of receipt of the missing item, unless the application is for an upcoming license year. If the application is for an upcoming license year, the department shall issue the exploration license or provide the notice required under par. (f)
of intent not to issue the exploration license within 7 business days of receipt of the missing item or on the next July 1, whichever is later.