Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.1. Mines and Mining
Chapter 16. Permits for Certain Mining Operations; Reclamation of Land
6/30/2022

Article 2. Regulation of Mining Activity.

§ 45.1-181. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Permit required; fee; renewal fee; application; furnishing copy of map, etc., to landowner; approval by Department.

It is unlawful for any operator to engage in any mining operation in Virginia without having first obtained from the Department a permit to engage in such operation and paying a fee therefor of $50 per acre for every acre of land to be affected by the total operation for which plans have been submitted, which shall be deposited in the state treasury in a special fund to be used by the Director for the administration of this chapter. A permit shall be obtained prior to the start of any mining operation. If within 10 days of the anniversary date of the permit, the Director, after inspection, is satisfied that the operation is proceeding according to the plan submitted to and approved by him, then the Director shall renew the permit upon payment of a renewal fee by the operator for land to be affected by the total operation in the next ensuing year according to the following schedule:

Anniversary Date: Renewal Fee:

Beginning July 1, 2019 $18 per disturbed acre

Beginning July 1, 2020 $20 per disturbed acre

Beginning July 1, 2021 $22 per disturbed acre

Beginning July 1, 2022 $24 per disturbed acre

The renewal fees shall be deposited in the state treasury in the special fund set out above. If the operator believes changes in his original plan are necessary or if additional land not shown as a part of the approved plan of operation is to be disturbed, he shall submit an amended plan of operation which shall be approved by the Director in the same manner as an original plan and shall be subject to the provisions of this section and §§ 45.1-182.1 and 45.1-183. A separate permit shall be secured for each mining operation conducted. Application for a mining permit shall be made in writing on forms prescribed by the Director and shall be signed and sworn to by the applicant or his duly authorized representative. The application, in addition to such other information as may be reasonably required by the Director, shall contain the following information: (i) the common name and geologic title, where applicable, of the mineral to be extracted; (ii) a description of the land upon which the applicant proposes to conduct mining operations, which description shall set forth: the name of the county or city in which such land is located; the location of its boundaries and any other description of the land to be disturbed in order that it may be located and distinguished from other lands and easily ascertainable as shown by a map attached thereto showing the amount of land to be disturbed; (iii) the name and address of the owner or owners of the surface of the land; (iv) the name and address of the owner or owners of the mineral, ore or other solid matter; (v) the source of the operator's legal right to enter and conduct operations on the land to be covered by the permit; (vi) the total number of acres of land to be covered by the permit; (vii) a reasonable estimate of the number of acres of land that will be disturbed by mining operations on the area to be covered by the permit during the ensuing year; (viii) whether any mining permits of any type are now held by the applicant and the number thereof; (ix) the name and address of the applicant, if an individual; the names and addresses of all partners, if a partnership; the state of incorporation and the name and address of its registered agent, if a corporation; or the name and address of the trustee, if a trust; and (x) if known, whether the applicant, or any subsidiary or affiliate or any partnership, association, trust or corporation controlled by or under common control with applicant, or any person required to be identified by clause (ix), has ever had a mining permit of any type issued under the laws of this or any other state revoked or has ever had a mining or other bond, or security deposited in lieu of bond, forfeited. Clause (iv) shall not apply to the shell, container chamber, passage, or open space set forth in § 45.1-161.311:10.

The application for a permit shall be accompanied by two copies of an accurate map or aerial photograph or plan and meeting the following requirements:

1. Be prepared by a licensed engineer or licensed land surveyor or issued by a standard mapping service or in such a manner as to be acceptable to the Director;

2. Identify the area to correspond with the land described in the application;

3. Show adjacent deep mining, if any, and the boundaries of surface properties, with the names of owners of the affected area which lie within 100 feet of any part of the affected area;

4. Be drawn to a scale of 400 feet to the inch or better;

5. Show the names and location of all streams, creeks or other bodies of public water, roads, buildings, cemeteries, oil and gas wells, and utility lines on the area affected and within 500 feet of such area;

6. Show by appropriate markings the boundaries of the area of land affected, the outcrop of the seam at the surface or deposit to be mined, and the total number of acres involved in the area of land affected;

7. Show the date on which the map was prepared, the north arrow and the quadrangle name; and

8. Show the drainage plan on and away from the area of land affected, including the directional flow of water, constructed drainways, natural waterways used for drainage and the streams or tributaries receiving the discharge.

Upon receipt of a written request by any landowner on whose property a sand and gravel operation is permitted pursuant to this section, the operator of the sand and gravel operation shall provide a copy of the map, photograph or plan to the landowner.

No permit shall be issued by the Department until the Director has approved the plan of operation required in this section and § 45.1-182.1 and the bond from the applicant as required in § 45.1-183.

1968, c. 734; 1972, c. 206; 1974, c. 312; 1977, c. 312; 1983, c. 322; 1996, cc. 648, 659; 2003, cc. 542, 550; 2012, c. 695; 2019, c. 538.

§ 45.1-182. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1977, c. 312.

§ 45.1-182.1. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Operations plan; reclamation; policy of Director.

A. The application for a permit shall be accompanied by an operations plan in such form and with such accompanying material as the Director shall require. The operations plan shall describe the specifications for surface grading and restoration, including sketches delineating placement of spoil, stockpiles, and tailing ponds, to a surface that is suitable for the proposed subsequent use of the land after reclamation is completed.

B. The operations plan shall include a provision for reclamation of all land estimated to be affected by the mining operation for which the permit is sought. The reclamation provision shall be in such form and contain such accompanying material as the Director shall require and shall state:

1. The planned use to which the affected land is to be returned through reclamation;

2. Proposed actions to assure suitable reclamation of the affected land for the planned use to be carried out by the applicant as an integral part of the proposed mining operation and to be conducted simultaneously insofar as practicable. The Director shall set schedules for the integration of reclamation with the mining operation according to the various individual mineral types.

C. It shall be the policy of the Director to encourage adoption of productive land use, such as pasture, agricultural use, recreational areas, sanitary landfills, forestry and timberland operations, industrial and building sites, and to consider the general original contour in determining the particular reclamation program for the acreage. The Director may require an amendment to the operations plan to meet the exigencies of any unanticipated circumstance or event.

1977, c. 312; 1984, c. 590.

§ 45.1-183. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Bond of operator.

Each operator at the time of filing his application shall furnish bond on a form to be prescribed by the Director payable to the Department and conditioned that the operator shall faithfully perform all of the requirements of this chapter and of the operations plan as approved and directed by the Department. The amount of bond shall be $3,000 per acre, based upon the number of acres of land which the operator estimates will be affected by mining operations during the next ensuing year. Such bond shall be executed by the operator and by a corporate surety licensed to do business in this Commonwealth; provided, however, that in lieu of such bond the operator may deposit cash or collateral security acceptable to the Director.

1968, c. 734; 1970, c. 245; 1972, c. 206; 1974, c. 312; 1977, c. 312; 2017, c. 4.

§ 45.1-184. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Review of operations plan and reclamation provision by Director; issuance of permit.

Upon receipt of a reasonable operations plan and bond prescribed above, the Director shall review the plan and if it meets with his approval issue a permit. If the Director disapproves the plan, he shall furnish the applicant with his written objections thereto and his required amendments. Until the applicant shall amend his operations plan to meet the Director's reasonable objections and file a satisfactory amended plan with the Director, no permit shall be issued.

In reviewing such plan, if the Director finds that the operation will constitute a hazard to the public safety or welfare, or that a reasonable degree of reclamation or proper drainage control is not feasible, he may disapprove the permit application. Provided, however, that the Director may approve the permit after deleting the areas from the permit application held to be objectionable in the Director's findings.

The Director shall issue the permit unless he finds that the applicant has had control or has had common control with a person, partnership, association, trust or corporation which has had a mining permit revoked or bond or other security forfeited for failure to reclaim lands as required by the laws of this State, in which event no permit shall be issued. Except, however, if an operator who has heretofore forfeited a bond within thirty days of notice and demand by the Director pays the cost of reclamation in excess of the amount of the forfeited bond, or if any bond is forfeited and the amount forfeited is equal to or greater than the cost of reclamation, such operator shall then become eligible for another permit.

1968, c. 734; 1974, c. 312; 1977, c. 312.

§ 45.1-184.1. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Application for permit; adjoining landowners; local official.

A. The application for a permit shall be accompanied by a statement showing the names and addresses of the owners of property within one thousand feet of the property line of any land proposed to be permitted and certification that such landowners have been notified by certified mail of the application for a permit unless notified previously. Such residents may file written objections with the Director, and may request a hearing. This section shall apply to initial applications for permits only, and no new notice shall be required for renewal applications or for permits for acreage in addition to that originally permitted.

B. The application for the permit shall also be accompanied by a statement certifying that the chief administrative official of the local political subdivision has been notified of the proposed operation by certified mail.

1977, c. 312.

§ 45.1-184.2. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Succession of one operator by another at uncompleted project.

Where one operator succeeds another at any uncompleted operation, whether by sale, assignment, lease, merger, or otherwise, the Director may release the first operator from all liability under this chapter as to that particular operation and transfer the permit to the successor operator, provided, however, that the successor operator has complied with the requirements of this chapter, and the successor operator assumes as part of his obligation under this chapter, all liability for the reclamation of the area of land affected by the first operator. No fee, or any portion thereof, paid by the first operator shall be returned to either operator. The permit fee for the successor operator for the area of land permitted by the first operator shall be calculated according to the following schedule, except as provided by § 45.1-180.4:

Date of Succession: Permit Fee:

Beginning July 1, 2019 $18 per disturbed acre

Beginning July 1, 2020 $20 per disturbed acre

Beginning July 1, 2021 $22 per disturbed acre

Beginning July 1, 2022 $24 per disturbed acre

The mining permit for the successor operator shall be valid for one year from the date of issuance and shall be renewed thereafter in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

1977, c. 312; 1996, cc. 648, 659; 2003, cc. 542, 550; 2019, c. 538.

§ 45.1-185. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Additional bond to be posted annually; release of previous bond; report of reclamation work.

Within 10 days following the anniversary date of any permit, the operator shall post additional bond in the amount of $3,000 per acre for each acre of land estimated by him to be disturbed during the next year following the anniversary date of the permit. Bond or other security previously posted shall be released for the areas disturbed in the last 12 months if reclamation work has been completed or transferred to additional acres to be disturbed. The approval of the Director to release the bond shall be obtained in accordance with the following:

The operator shall file with the Department a written report on a form to be prescribed by the Department stating under oath that reclamation has been completed on certain lands and submit the following:

(i) Identification of the operation; (ii) the county or city in which it is located and its location with reference to the nearest public highway; (iii) a description of the area of land affected by the operation within the period of time covered by such report with sufficient certainty to enable it to be located and distinguished from other lands; and (iv) an accurate map or plan prepared by a licensed land surveyor or licensed engineer or issued by a standard mapping service or in such manner as to be acceptable to the Director showing the boundary lines of the area of land affected by the operation, the number of acres comprising such area, and the methods of access to the area from the nearest public highway.

1968, c. 734; 1974, c. 312; 1977, c. 312; 2017, c. 4.

§ 45.1-186. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1977, c. 312.

§ 45.1-186.1. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Notice of noncompliance served on operator.

A. The Director may cause a notice of noncompliance to be served on the operator whenever the operator fails to obey any order by the Director to:

1. Apply the control techniques and institute the actions approved in his operations and reclamation plan;

2. Comply with any required amendments to the operations or reclamation plan; or

3. Comply with any other requirement of this chapter or any rules or regulations promulgated pursuant thereto which affect the health, safety and welfare of the Commonwealth.

B. A copy of the notice shall be delivered to the operator or served by certified mail addressed to the operator at the permanent address shown on the application for a permit. The notice shall specify in writing in what respects the operator has failed to obey the order of the Director and shall require the operator to comply with the order within a reasonable period of time as fixed by the Director, following service of the notice.

C. If the operator has not complied with the requirements set forth in the notice of noncompliance within the time limits fixed therein, the Director shall revoke the permit and declare the forfeiture of the entire bond, which, when collected, shall be deposited in the state treasury in a special reclamation fund to be used by the Director in performing reclamation under the provisions of this chapter. After completion of the reclamation and payment of all fees as required by this chapter, any additional funds from the forfeiture: (i) of the bond shall be returned to the corporate surety; or (ii) of the collateral security, certified check or cash that has been deposited in lieu of bond, shall be returned to the person who provided it originally or to the operator. Within 30 days of the issuance of any permit revocation or bond forfeiture made under this section, the operator may request a review pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 (§ 2.2-4018 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act.

1977, c. 312; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 45.1-186.2. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Collection of debts.

The amount by which the cost of reclamation exceeds the amount of the operator's forfeited bond shall constitute a debt of the operator to the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Director is authorized to collect such debts, together with the cost of collection, through appropriate legal action or by declaring the forfeiture of other payments. Moneys collected through legal action, less the cost of collections, shall be deposited in the special reclamation fund created under § 45.1-186.1.

1981, c. 76.

§ 45.1-186.3. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Commonwealth to have lien for reclamation work.

The Commonwealth shall have a lien, if perfected as provided in subsection A of § 45.1-186.4, on land owned by the operator and reclaimed by the Director pursuant to this chapter for the amount of the increase in the appraised market value of the land resulting from the reclamation, except that no lien shall attach to or be filed against the property of any person if the Director waives the lien as provided in subsection B of § 45.1-186.4.

2017, c. 4.

§ 45.1-186.4. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Perfection of lien; waiver of lien.

A. Except as provided in subsection B, the Director shall perfect the lien given under the provisions of § 45.1-186.3 by filing, within six months after completion of the reclamation, in the clerk's office of the court of the county or city in which the land or any part thereof is located, a statement consisting of the names of all owners of record of the property sought to be charged; an itemized account of moneys expended for the reclamation work; notarized copies of appraisals, made by an independent appraiser, of the fair market value of the land both before and upon completion of the reclamation work; and a brief description of the property to which the lien attaches.

B. The Director shall waive a lien if he determines that (i) the direct and indirect costs of filing such lien exceed the increase in fair market value resulting from reclamation or (ii) if reclamation is necessitated by an unforeseen occurrence, the reclamation will not result in a significant increase in the fair market value of the land.

2017, c. 4.

§ 45.1-186.5. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Recordation and indexing of lien; notice.

It shall be the duty of the clerk in whose office the statement described in § 45.1-186.4 is filed to record the statement in the deed books of such office, and index the statement in the general index of deeds, in the name of the Commonwealth as well as the owner of the property, showing the type of such lien. From the time of such recording and indexing, all persons shall be deemed to have notice thereof.

2017, c. 4.

§ 45.1-186.6. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Priority of lien.

Liens acquired under this article shall have priority as a lien second only to the lien of real estate taxes imposed upon the land.

2017, c. 4.

§ 45.1-186.7. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Hearing to determine amount of lien.

Any party having an interest in the real property against which a lien has been filed may, within 60 days of such filing, petition the court of equity having jurisdiction wherein the property or some portion thereof is located to hold a hearing to determine the increase in the fair market value of the land as a result of reclamation. After reasonable notice to the Director, the court shall hold a hearing to determine such increase. If the court determines such increase to be erroneously excessive, it shall determine the proper amount and order that the lien and the record be amended to show this amount.

2017, c. 4.

§ 45.1-186.8. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Satisfaction of lien.

Liens acquired under this article shall be satisfied to the extent of the value of the consideration received at the time of transfer of ownership. Any unsatisfied portion shall remain as a lien on the property and shall be satisfied in accordance with this section. If an owner fails to satisfy a lien as provided herein, the Director may proceed to enforce the lien by a bill filed in a court of equity having jurisdiction wherein the property or some portion thereof is located.

2017, c. 4.

§ 45.1-187. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Additional bond to cover amended estimate of land to be disturbed.

If, during any operation, it is found that the operator's estimate of the amount of disturbed land for which bond or other security has been posted for reclamation is less than the actual area disturbed, the Director shall order the operator to file additional bond or security sufficient to cover an amended estimate of land to be disturbed by such operation.

1968, c. 734; 1974, c. 312.

§ 45.1-188. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Interference with reclamation unlawful; other mining operations on land.

It shall be unlawful for any owner or owners of surface rights or the owner or owners of mineral rights to interfere with the operator in the discharge of his obligations to the Commonwealth for the reclamation of lands disturbed by him. If the owner or owners of surface rights or the owner or owners of mineral rights desire to conduct other mining operations on lands disturbed by the operator furnishing bond hereunder, such owner or other person shall be in all respects subject to the provisions of this chapter and the Director shall then release an equivalent amount of bonds to the operator originally furnishing bond on the disturbed area.

1968, c. 734; 1974, c. 312.

§ 45.1-189. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1977, c. 312.

§ 45.1-190. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1974, c. 312.

§ 45.1-191. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Penalty for violation of chapter, etc.

Any violation of any provision of this chapter or of any order of the Director shall be a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 or a maximum of 1 year in jail, or both.

1968, c. 734; 1974, c. 312.

§ 45.1-192. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Assistance of federal, state and local agencies.

In approving plans of operation and in issuing rules and regulations for reclamation, the Director may avail himself and his Department of the advice, assistance and facilities of local soil and water conservation district supervisors or any other federal, state or local agency.

1968, c. 734.

§ 45.1-193. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1977, c. 312.

§ 45.1-193.1. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Injunction prohibiting mining operation.

Whenever adverse ecological disruptions or the injurious effects thereof seriously threaten or endanger the health, safety, welfare and property rights of citizens of Virginia, and abatement is not feasible by the application of control techniques, the Director shall petition the appropriate circuit court for an injunction to prohibit further operations. Such injunction shall not relieve the operator from his duty to reclaim lands previously affected according to the terms and conditions of this permit.

1977, c. 312.

§ 45.1-194. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Appeals from decisions of the Department.

An appeal from any order of the Department shall be conducted in accordance with Article 3 (§ 2.2-4018 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act. The appeal shall be taken within 30 days following the issuance of the order by forwarding to the Director by certified mail a notice of appeal designating the order from which the appeal is taken.

1968, c. 734; 1974, c. 312; 1979, c. 302; 1982, c. 117; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 45.1-195. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2012, cc. 803 and 835, cl. 47.

§ 45.1-197. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Local standards and regulations; waiver of application of chapter; review for strict compliance with chapter.

Counties, cities and towns may establish standards and adopt regulations dealing with the same subject, provided, however, such standards and regulations shall not be below those adopted by the Director.

This chapter shall not be construed to repeal any local ordinance or regulation or charter provision now in effect in any county, city or town where the provisions are not less than the standards adopted by the Director. The Director may waive the application of this chapter if, in his opinion, a county, city or town in which mining operations are being conducted has enacted and is enforcing zoning ordinances dealing with the subject matter, prescribing standards and regulations not below those set forth in this chapter. If the Director waives the provisions hereof, the operator shall comply strictly with all the provisions of the ordinances of such counties, cities and towns in which his operations are located.

The Director may also waive the application of this chapter as to any mining or borrow pit operation which is conducted solely and exclusively for a state project and which is subject by contract to the control and supervision of a state agency, provided regulations satisfactory to the Director have been promulgated and are incorporated in any contract for such removal.

The county, city, town or state agency shall assure strict compliance with all the provisions of the ordinances, regulations or contracts and the Director shall from time to time review the ordinances, regulations or contracts and the enforcement programs to assure compliance with this chapter. If the Director determines that there is not strict compliance with this chapter, then he may rescind his waiver of the application of this chapter.

1968, c. 734; 1974, c. 312; 1977, c. 312.

§ 45.1-197.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1974, c. 96.

§ 45.1-197.2. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1984, c. 590.