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.
Additional Public Comment on Draft Mining Rules
The Board of Environmental Protection has directed the Department to provide an opportunity for public comment on certain changes to its 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. Please note that the Department is not accepting additional comment on other portions of the proposal at this point in time. Submit comments in writing no later than 5:00 PM on December 23, 2013 to:
Maine Department of Environmental Protection
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Phone: (207) 287-7647
Fax: (207) 287-7826
We will continue to publish updates here and on our rulemaking page as we move forward with this major substantive rulemaking.
- Public Hearing Presentation Board of Environmental Protection, October 17, 2013 (PDF, 417 KB)
- Maine DEP Draft Chapter 200 for public comment
- Public Notice
- Mining Regulatory information, performance standards
- Mining in Maine: July 18, 2013 briefing presentation to the Board of Environmental Protection (PDF, 3.2 MB)
- Proposed Rulemaking Board presentation, September 12, 2013 (PDF, 540 KB)
- See the Board of Environmental Protection web page for their meeting information
- Comments Received