Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
3/24/2017

Requirements Applicable to Surface Mineral Mining

§ 45.1-161.304. Scope of chapter.

This chapter shall be applicable to the operation of any surface mineral mine in the Commonwealth, and shall supplement the provisions of Chapter 14.4:1 (§ 45.1-161.292:1 et seq.).

1994, c. 28; 1997, c. 390.

§ 45.1-161.305. Regulations governing conditions and practices at surface mineral mines.

A. The Director shall promulgate rules and regulations, in accordance with Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act, necessary to ensure safe working conditions and practices at surface mineral mines in the Commonwealth. Nothing in this section shall restrict the Director from promulgating regulations more stringent than regulations promulgated pursuant to the federal mine safety law. Such rules and regulations applicable to surface mineral mines shall establish requirements:

1. For protecting miners from general risks found at surface mineral mines;

2. For the provision and use of personal protection equipment;

3. For controlling unstable ground conditions;

4. For the handling and storage of combustible materials, including requirements for emergency plans, fire-fighting and emergency rescue, fire prevention and safety features on mine equipment, and fire prevention and safety in mine structures and buildings;

5. For controlling exposure to airborne toxic contaminants;

6. For safe storage, transportation, and use of explosives and blasting devices;

7. For the safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of drilling equipment;

8. For the construction, use, maintenance, and inspection of boilers, air compressors, and compressed gas systems;

9. For the safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of mobile equipment;

10. For the safe design, use, maintenance, and inspection of ladders, walkways, and travel ways;

11. For the safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of electrical equipment and systems;

12. For the safe design, use, maintenance, and inspection of guards on moving parts of equipment and machinery;

13. For the storage, transportation and handling of materials, including corrosive and hazardous substances;

14. For the safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of hoisting equipment and cables;

15. For the actions of certified and competent persons; and

16. For the design, construction, maintenance, inspection of refuse piles, and water and silt retaining dams, including emergency response plans.

B. The Director shall not promulgate any regulation relating to surface mineral mines which is inconsistent with requirements established by the Act, or which, when an operator takes action to comply with the provisions of such regulation, would place the operator in violation of the federal mine safety law.

1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1998, c. 695.

§ 45.1-161.306. Standards for regulations.

In promulgating rules and regulations pursuant to § 45.1-161.305, the Director shall consider:

1. Standards utilized and generally recognized by the surface mineral mining industry;

2. Standards established by recognized professional mineral mining organizations and groups;

3. The federal mine safety law;

4. Research, demonstrations, experiments, and such other information that is available regarding the maintenance of a reasonable degree of safety protection, including the latest available scientific data in the field, the technical and economical feasibility of the standards, and the experience gained under this Act and other mine safety laws; and

5. Such other criteria as shall be necessary for the protection of safety of miners and other persons or property likely to be endangered by surface mineral mines or related operations.

1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.307. Mining in proximity to gas and oil wells.

A. The Director shall promulgate regulations requiring licensed operators to notify, and in appropriate circumstances obtain the consent of, the Director prior to removing minerals in the proximity of any gas or oil well already drilled or in the process of being drilled.

B. Any licensed operator who plans to remove any mineral, drive any passage or entry or extend any workings in any mine closer than 500 feet to any gas or oil well already drilled or in the process of being drilled shall file with the Director a notice that mining is taking place or will take place, together with a copy of parts of the maps and plans required under § 45.1-161.292:37, which show the mine workings and projected mine workings which are within 500 feet of the well. The licensed operator shall simultaneously mail copies of such notice, maps and plans by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the well operator and the Gas and Oil Inspector. Each notice shall contain a certification made by the sender that he has complied with these requirements.

C. Subsequent to the filing of the notice, the licensed operator may proceed with mining operations in accordance with the maps and plans; however, without the prior approval of the Director, he shall not remove any material, drive any entry, or extend any workings in any mine closer than 200 feet to any gas or oil well already drilled or in the process of being drilled. Each licensed operator who files such a petition shall mail copies of the petition, maps and plans by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the well operator and the Gas and Oil Inspector no later than the day of filing. The Gas and Oil Inspector and the well operator shall have standing to object to any petition filed under this section. Such objections shall be filed within ten days following the date such petition is filed.

1990, c. 92, § 45.1-92.1; 1994, c. 28; 1997, c. 390; 1998, c. 695.

§ 45.1-161.308. Respiratory equipment.

A. The Director shall promulgate regulations requiring miners exposed for short periods to hazards from inhalation of gas, dust, or fumes to wear approved respiratory equipment.

B. Until the final regulations promulgated by the Director pursuant to subsection A become effective, miners exposed for short periods to hazards from inhaling dust or fumes shall wear approved respiratory equipment.

Code 1950, § 45-86; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-99; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.309. Health regulations.

A. The Director shall have the authority to promulgate regulations requiring that sources of dust at surface mineral mines be wetted down unless controlled by dry collection measures, or other means approved by the Director.

B. The Director shall have the authority to promulgate regulations providing that miners at surface mineral mines which are subject to inspection by the Department pursuant to § 45.1-161.292:54 shall not be exposed to noise levels that exceed the federal limit adopted by the Mine Safety and Health Administration for non-coal miners. The regulations shall provide that if such exposure exceeds the federal limit, the Director may require the operator to employ feasible engineering and administrative control measures.

1994, c. 28; 1997, c. 390.

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