Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 5. Coal Mine Safety Act
5/26/2022

Article 4. Licensing for Operation of Coal Mines.

§ 45.2-535. (Effective October 1, 2021) License required for operation of a coal mine; term.

A. No person shall engage in the operation of any coal mine within the Commonwealth without first obtaining a license for the operation of a coal mine from the Department. A license for the operation of a coal mine shall be required prior to commencement of the operation of a mine. A separate license is required for each mine operated. Licenses shall be in a form that the Director prescribes. The license shall be posted in a conspicuous place near the main entrance to the mine. The license shall not be transferable, and every change in ownership of a mine shall be reported to the Department as provided in subsection B of § 45.2-540.

B. Each license for the operation of a coal mine shall be valid for a period of no more than one year following the date of issuance. License renewal shall be obtained annually by the anniversary of the date of issuance.

C. Each application for a license for the operation of a coal mine or a renewal or transfer of a license for the operation of a coal mine shall be submitted to the Department accompanied by a fee, payable to the State Treasurer, of $350.

Code 1950, §§ 45-17.1, 45-17.2; 1958, c. 306; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-22, 45.1-23; 1972, c. 235; 1978, c. 489; 1983, c. 356; 1984, c. 590; 1988, c. 577; 1994, c. 28, §§ 45.1-161.57, 45.1-161.58; 1996, c. 774; 1997, c. 390; 1999, c. 256; 2003, cc. 542, 550; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-536. (Effective October 1, 2021) Coal Mine Operator License Fund.

There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Coal Mine Operator License Fund, referred to in this section as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All fees collected pursuant to the provisions of subsection C of § 45.2-535 shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purposes of purchasing or commissioning safety equipment, safety training, safety education, or any expenditure to further the safety program in the mining industry. All expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Director.

Code 1950, § 45-17.2; 1958, c. 306; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-23; 1972, c. 235; 1978, c. 489; 1983, c. 356; 1984, c. 590; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2003, cc. 542, 550, § 45.1-161.58; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-537. (Effective October 1, 2021) Application for license for the operation of a coal mine.

A. An application for a license for the operation of a coal mine shall be submitted by the person who will be the operator of the mine. No application for a license or a renewal thereof shall be considered complete unless it contains the following:

1. The identity of the operator of the mine.

a. If the operator is a sole proprietorship, the operator shall state (i) his full name and address; (ii) the name and address of the mine and its federal mine identification number; (iii) the name and address of the person with overall responsibility for operating decisions at the mine; (iv) the name and address of the person with overall responsibility for health and safety at the mine; (v) the federal mine identification numbers of all other mines in which the sole proprietor has a 20 percent or greater ownership interest; and (vi) the trade name, if any, and the full name, address of record, and telephone number of the proprietorship.

b. If the operator is a partnership, the operator shall state (i) the name and address of the mine and its federal mine identification number; (ii) the name and address of the person with overall responsibility for operating decisions at the mine; (iii) the name and address of the person with overall responsibility for health and safety at the mine; (iv) the federal mine identification numbers of all other mines in which the partnership has a 20 percent or greater ownership interest; (v) the full names and addresses of all partners; (vi) the trade name, if any, and the full name and address of record and telephone number of the partnership; and (vii) the federal mine identification numbers of all other mines in which any partner has a 20 percent or greater ownership interest.

c. If the operator is a corporation, the operator shall state (i) the name and address of the mine and its federal mine identification number; (ii) the name and address of the person with overall responsibility for operating decisions at the mine; (iii) the name and address of the person with overall responsibility for health and safety at the mine; (iv) the federal mine identification numbers of all other mines in which the corporation has a 20 percent or greater ownership interest; (v) the full name, address of record, and telephone number of the corporation and the state of incorporation; (vi) the full name and address of each officer and director of the corporation; (vii) the full name, address, and state of incorporation of the parent corporation if the corporation is a subsidiary corporation; and (viii) the federal mine identification numbers of all other mines in which any corporate officer has a 20 percent or greater ownership interest.

d. If the operator is any organization other than a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, the operator shall state (i) the nature and type, or legal identity of the organization; (ii) the name and address of the mine and its federal mine identification number; (iii) the name and address of the person with overall responsibility for operating decisions at the mine; (iv) the name and address of the person with overall responsibility for health and safety at the mine; (v) the federal mine identification numbers of all other mines in which the organization has a 20 percent or greater ownership interest; (vi) the full name, address of record, and telephone number of the organization; (vii) the name and address of each individual who has an ownership interest in the organization; (viii) the names and addresses of the principal organization officials or members; and (ix) the federal mine identification numbers of all other mines in which any official or member has a 20 percent or greater ownership interest;

2. The name and address of any agent of the operator with responsibility for the business operation of the mine and of any person with an ownership or leasehold interest in the coal to be mined;

3. The names and addresses of persons to be contacted in the event of an accident or other emergency at the mine;

4. Any information required by the Department that is relevant to an assessment of the safety and health risks likely to be associated with the operation of the mine; and

5. For any license renewal, the annual report required pursuant to § 45.2-540. When no change has occurred to the information required by subdivision 1, 2, or 3, the operator of the mine shall only be required to certify that such information on the current license application is accurate and complete.

B. The application shall be certified as being accurate and complete by the applicant if an individual or by the agent of a corporate applicant or by a general partner of an applicant that is a partnership. The application shall be submitted on forms furnished or approved by the Department.

C. Within 30 days after the occurrence of any change in the information required by subsection A, the operator shall notify the Department, in writing, of such change.

Code 1950, §§ 45-7, 45-12, 45-17.3, 45-68.4, 45-69, 45-73, 45-75, 45-78, 45-79, 45-81, 45-83; 1950, p. 156; 1954, c. 191; 1958, c. 306; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-21, 45.1-24; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 222, 489; 1982, c. 255; 1984, cc. 178, 590; 1988, c. 577; 1993, cc. 171, 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.59; 1996, c. 774; 1997, c. 390; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-538. (Effective October 1, 2021) Denial or revocation of license for the operation of a coal mine.

A. The Chief may revoke a license for the operation of a coal mine or deny an application for the issuance of a license for the operation of a coal mine upon determining that the applicant, the operator, or the operator's agent has committed violations of the mine safety laws of the Commonwealth, including regulations adopted by the Department or the Board of Coal Mining Examiners, that demonstrate a pattern of willful violations resulting in an imminent danger to miners.

B. The Chief may revoke every license issued to any person for the operation of a coal mine and may deny every application by a person for the issuance of a license for the operation of a coal mine who has been convicted of knowingly permitting a miner to work in an underground coal mine where a methane monitor or other device capable of detecting the presence of explosive gases was impaired, disturbed, disconnected, bypassed, or otherwise tampered with in violation of § 45.2-849.

C. The Chief may revoke every license issued to any person for the operation of a coal mine and may deny every application by a person for the issuance of a license for the operation of a coal mine who has been convicted of violating subsection A of § 45.2-856 or 45.2-857.

D. Any person whose license application is denied or whose license is revoked pursuant to subsection A, B, or C may bring a civil action in the circuit court of the city or county in which the mine is located for review of the decision. The commencement of such proceeding shall not, unless specifically ordered by the court, operate as a stay of the decision. The court shall promptly hear and determine the matters raised by the aggrieved party. In any such action, the court shall receive the records of the Department with respect to the determination and shall receive additional evidence at the request of any party. The court, basing its decision on the preponderance of the evidence, shall grant relief that the court determines appropriate.

1993, c. 247, § 45.1-22.1, c. 389, § 45.1-98.4; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.60; 1997, c. 390; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-539. (Effective October 1, 2021) Operating without license; penalty.

A. In addition to any other power conferred by law, the Chief or his designated representative may issue an order closing any coal mine that is operating without a license. The procedure for issuing a closure order shall be as provided in § 45.2-569.

B. Any person operating an unlicensed mine is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. Each day any person operates an unlicensed mine shall constitute a separate offense.

Code 1950, § 45-17.4; 1958, c. 306; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-25; 1978, c. 489; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.61; 1997, c. 390; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-540. (Effective October 1, 2021) Annual reports; condition to issuance of license following transfer of ownership.

A. The operator of each mine or his agent shall annually, by February 15, mail or deliver to the Department a report for the preceding 12 months ending with December 31. Such report shall state (i) the names of the operator, any agent, and any officers of the mine; (ii) the amount of coal mined; and (iii) other information, not of a private nature, that from time to time is required by the Department on forms furnished or approved by the Department.

B. Whenever the owner of a mine transfers the ownership of such mine to another person, the person transferring such ownership shall submit a report to the Department of such change and a statement of the tons of coal produced since the January 1 previous to the date of such sale or transfer of such mine. A license shall not be issued covering such transfer of ownership until the report is furnished.

C. The operator of each coal mine or his agent shall annually, by February 15, mail or deliver to the Department (i) an affidavit, certified by the commissioner of the revenue of the locality in which the coal mining operations are conducted, stating that all local coal severance taxes enacted pursuant to §§ 58.1-3703, 58.1-3712, 58.1-3713, and 58.1-3741 due with respect to the coal mining operations have been paid and (ii) an affidavit, certified by the Treasurer of the locality in which the coal mining operations are conducted, stating that all personal property, real estate, and mineral land taxes due with respect to coal mining operations have been paid.

Code 1950, §§ 45-7, 45-12, 45-68.4, 45-69, 45-73, 45-75, 45-78, 45-79, 45-81, 45-83; 1950, p. 156; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-21; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 222, 489; 1982, c. 255; 1984, cc. 178, 590; 1988, c. 577; 1993, cc. 171, 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.62; 1996, c. 774; 1997, c. 390; 2013, cc. 305, 618; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-541. (Effective October 1, 2021) Discontinuance of the working of a mine; notices to Department; resumption of mining following discontinuance.

A. The operator or his agent shall send notice of his intent to discontinue the working of an underground coal mine for a period of 30 days or a surface mine for a period of 60 days to the Department at least 10 days prior to discontinuing the working of a mine with such intent or at any time a mine becomes an inactive mine. Unless examinations of the mine are being conducted during the period of discontinued use, all surface openings to the discontinued underground coal mine shall be secured against unauthorized entrance when the activities are discontinued for 30 days or longer. Danger signs shall be posted at each secured entrance.

B. The operator or his agent shall send to the Department 10 days' prior notice of intent to resume the working of an inactive mine. The production of coal at such mine shall not resume until a mine inspector has inspected and approved it for resumption of production activities.

C. Emergency actions necessary to preserve a mine may be undertaken without the prior notice of intent and advance inspection required by subsection B. In such event, a mine foreman shall examine a mine for hazardous conditions immediately before miners are permitted to work. The operator or his agent shall notify the Department as soon as possible after commencing emergency action necessary to preserve the mine.

D. The operator or his agent shall send to the Department 10 days' prior notice of any change in the name of a mine or in the name of the operator of a mine.

E. The operator or his agent shall send to the Department 10 days' prior notice of the opening of a new mine.

F. Any notice required by this section shall be in writing and shall include the name of the mine, the location of the mine, the name of the operator, and the operator's mailing address and email address.

Code 1950, §§ 45-7, 45-12, 45-68.4, 45-69, 45-73, 45-75, 45-78, 45-79, 45-81, 45-83; 1950, p. 156; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-21; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 222, 489; 1982, c. 255; 1984, cc. 178, 590; 1988, c. 577; 1993, cc. 171, 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.63; 1996, c. 774; 1997, c. 390; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-542. (Effective October 1, 2021) Maps of mines required to be made; contents; extension and preservation; use by Department; release; posting of map.

A. Prior to commencing mining activity, the operator of a coal mine or his agent shall make or cause to be made, unless already made and filed, an accurate map of such mine. Such map shall be submitted to the Chief prior to producing coal at the mine. All maps shall be presented on the Virginia Coordinate System of 1983, South Zone, unless otherwise approved by the Chief. At intervals not to exceed 12 months and when a coal mine is abandoned, the operator shall submit to the Chief copies of an up-to-date map of the entire mine in an electronic format approved by the Chief. The operator shall also submit to the Chief revisions that show directional changes whenever mine projections deviate more than 600 feet from the approved mine map. Only maps in an electronic format shall be accepted unless otherwise approved by the Chief. If there are no changes in the information required to be submitted pursuant to this section at the time an updated map is due, the operator may submit a notice that there are no changes to the map in lieu of submitting an updated map to the Department.

B. Underground coal mine maps shall show:

1. The active workings;

2. All pillared, worked out, and abandoned areas, except as provided in this section;

3. Entries and air courses with the quantity of airflow, direction of airflow indicated by arrows, and ventilation controls;

4. Contour lines of all elevations;

5. Dip of the coalbed;

6. Escapeways;

7. The locations that are known or should be known of (i) adjacent mine workings within 1,000 feet, (ii) mines above or below, and (iii) water pools above;

8. Either producing or abandoned oil and gas wells located within 500 feet of such mine and in any underground area of such mine; and

9. Other information the Chief requires.

Such map shall identify those areas of the mine that have been pillared, worked out, or abandoned that are inaccessible or that cannot be entered safely.

C. Additional information required to be shown on underground coal mine maps includes:

1. The mine name, company name, mine index number, and name of the person responsible for information on the map;

2. The scale and orientation of the map and symbols used on the map;

3. The property or boundary lines of the mine;

4. All known drill holes that penetrate the coalbed being mined;

5. All shaft, slope, drift, and tunnel openings and auger and strip mined areas of the coalbed being mined;

6. The location of all surface mine ventilation fans. The location may be designated on the mine map by symbols;

7. The location of railroad tracks and public highways leading to the mine and mine buildings of a permanent nature with identifying names shown;

8. The location and description of a least two permanent base line points coordinated with the underground and surface mine traverses and the location and description of at least two permanent elevation bench marks used in connection with establishing or referencing mine elevation surveys;

9. The location and elevation of any body of water dammed or held back in any portion of the mine; however, such bodies of water may be shown on overlays or tracings attached to the mine maps used to show contour lines as provided under subdivision 12;

10. The elevations of tops and bottoms of shafts and slopes and the floor at the entrance to drift and tunnel openings;

11. The elevation of the floor at intervals of not more than 200 feet in (i) at least one entry of each working section and main and cross entries; (ii) the last line of open crosscuts of each working section, and main and cross entries before such sections and main and cross entries that are abandoned; and (iii) rooms advancing toward or adjacent to property or boundary lines or adjacent mines; and

12. Contour lines passing through whole number elevations of the coalbed being mined. The spacing of such lines shall not exceed 10-foot elevation levels, except that a broader spacing of contour lines may be approved by the Chief for steeply pitching coalbeds. Contour lines may be placed on overlays or tracings attached to mine maps.

D. Underground coal mine maps submitted to the Chief shall be on a scale of not less than 100 or more than 500 feet to the inch. Mapping of the underground mine works shall be completed by a closed loop survey method of traversing or other equally accurate methods of traversing. All closed loop surveys shall meet a minimum accuracy standard of one part in 5,000. Elevations shall be tied to either the United States Geological Survey or the National Geodetic Survey bench mark system. A registered engineer or licensed land surveyor shall certify that the map of the mine workings is accurate.

E. Underground coal mine maps shall be kept up to date by temporary notations and revised and supplemented at intervals not to exceed six months based on a survey made and certified by a registered engineer or licensed land surveyor who has exercised complete direction and control over the work to which it is affixed. Temporary notations shall include:

1. The location of each working face of each working place;

2. Pillars mined or other such second mining;

3. Permanent ventilation controls constructed or removed, such as seals, overcasts, undercasts, regulators, and permanent stoppings, and the direction of air currents indicated; and

4. Escapeways designated by means of symbols.

F. At underground coal mines, an accurate map of the mine showing clearly all avenues of ingress and egress in case of fire shall be posted in a place accessible to all miners.

G. Surface coal mine maps shall show:

1. The name and address of the mine;

2. The property or boundary lines of the active areas of the mine;

3. Contour lines passing through whole number elevations of the coalbed being mined. The spacing of such lines shall not exceed 25-foot elevation levels, except that a broader spacing of contour lines may be approved by the Chief for steeply pitching coalbeds. The Chief may approve alternate means of delineating seam elevations where multiple seams are being mined. Contour lines may be placed on overlays or tracings attached to mine maps;

4. The general elevation of each coalbed being mined and the general elevation of the surface;

5. Each producing or abandoned gas or oil well or gas transmission line located on the mine property;

6. The location and elevation of any body of water dammed or held back in any portion of the mine; however, such body of water may be shown on overlays or tracings attached to the mine maps;

7. Every prospect drill hole that penetrates a coalbed being mined on the mine property;

8. Every auger or surface-mined area of a coalbed being mined on the mine property together with the line of maximum depth of holes drilled during auger mining operations;

9. All worked out and abandoned areas;

10. The location of railroad tracks and public highways leading to the mine and mine buildings of a permanent nature with identifying names shown;

11. Underground coal mine workings underlying and within 1,000 feet of any active area of the mine;

12. The location and description of at least two permanent baseline points and the location and description of at least two permanent elevation bench marks used in connection with establishing or referencing mine elevation surveys;

13. The scale of the map; and

14. Other information required by the Chief.

H. Surface coal mine maps shall be kept up to date by temporary notations and revised and supplemented at intervals not to exceed six months based on a survey made and certified by a registered engineer or licensed land surveyor who has exercised complete direction and control over the work to which it is affixed. Temporary notations shall include:

1. The location of each working pit;

2. Auger or highwall miner workings; and

3. Other information that might affect the safety of miners, including updates of gas well or gas line locations.

I. Each surface survey shall originate from at least two permanent survey monuments on the mine property located with a minimum accuracy standard of one part in 10,000. The monuments shall be clearly referenced on the mine map. Elevations shall be tied to either the United States Geological Survey or the National Geodetic Survey bench mark system.

J. The original map, or a true copy thereof, shall be left by the operator at the active mine, open at all reasonable times for the examination and use of the mine inspector.

K. Such maps may be used by the Department for the evaluation of the coal resources of the Commonwealth.

L. The map shall be filed and preserved among the records of the Department and copies of such maps shall be made available at a reasonable cost.

M. Any person who has conducted mining operations or prepared mine maps and who has a map or surveying data of any worked out or abandoned underground coal mine shall on request make such map or data available to the Department to copy or reproduce.

Code 1950, § 45-10; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-27, 45.1-91; 1978, c. 118; 1980, c. 5; 1984, c. 590; 1986, c. 222; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.64; 1995, c. 265; 1996, c. 774; 1997, c. 390; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2007, cc. 894, 914; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2012, cc. 109, 241; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-543. (Effective October 1, 2021) When the Chief may cause maps to be made; payment by operator.

A. If the operator of any mine or his agent neglects or fails to furnish to the Chief a copy of any map or extension thereof, as provided in § 45.2-542, the Chief may cause a correct survey and map of such mine, or extension of the map, to be made at the expense of the operator of the mine, the cost of which shall be recovered from the operator as other debts are recoverable by a civil action at law.

B. If at any time the Chief has reason to believe that a map or extension thereof furnished pursuant to § 45.2-542 is substantially incorrect or will not serve the purpose for which it is intended, he may have a survey and map or extension thereof made or corrected. The expense of making such survey and map or extension thereof shall be paid by the operator. The expense shall be recovered from the operator, as other debts are recoverable by a civil action at law. However, if the map filed by the operator is found to be substantially correct, the expense shall be paid by the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 45-11; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-28; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.65; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-544. (Effective October 1, 2021) Making false statements; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person charged with the making of maps or other data to be furnished as provided in the Act to fail to correctly show, within the limits of error, the data required.

B. Any person who knowingly makes any false statement, representation, or certification in any application, record, report, plan, or other document filed or required to be maintained under the Act is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 45-17; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-105; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 118; 1980, c. 388; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.66; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.