Modernization of Maine’s Mining Rules

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is in the process of modernizing and improving environmental oversight of the state’s 20-year-old mineral mining rules, pursuant to a law that received bipartisan support from the 125th Legislature (LD 1853, PL 2011, Chapter 653).

Under the Department’s proposal, exploration activities will not require a permit, but must instead submit a work plan and meet a number of performance standards designed to protect natural resources and properly restore the exploration site.

Advanced exploration activities, which involve more extensive sampling (along with the potential for more significant environmental impacts) require a permit. Advanced exploration activities are subject to permitting requirements that include blasting standards, financial assurance requirements, a reactive mine waste characterization plan, measures to monitor, limit and control any acid rock drainage or metal leaching, a baseline site characterization report, an environmental impact assessment, interim and final closure plans, and plans for the management of excavation and processing waste.

Mining activities which involve the excavation of 5000 tons or more of material are subject to more extensive permitting requirements that include (in addition to the above), a quality assurance plan, monitoring plan, and reactive mine and hazardous materials monument plans. In addition, since these mining activities can include on-site beneficiation of ore and disposal of reactive mine wastes, applicants must demonstrate that mine waste units meet minimum performance requirements designed to prevent the contamination of surface and groundwater.

Jeffrey Crawford
Maine Department of Environmental Protection
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Phone: (207) 287-7647
Fax: (207) 287-7826

BEP Approved Mining Rules

On Friday, January 10, 2014 the Board of Environmental Protection voted to adopt Chapter 200.

Additional Public Comment on Draft Mining Rules

The Board of Environmental Protection directed the Department to provide an opportunity for public comment on certain changes to Chapter 200 Metallic Mineral Exploration, Advanced Exploration and Mining proposal that may be substantial, including provisions related to mining prohibitions, application information, financial assurance requirements, mining standards, and post-closure care requirements. Comments were due on December 23, 2013.

Additional Information