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Mining & Permits Overview

Program Overview

Oregon’s mineral industries provide essential goods and services, from the construction materials needed to build and maintain our communities and roads to energy sources that power our day‐to‐day lives. The goal of the Mineral Land Regulation & Reclamation (MLRR) program is to administer effective and balanced regulation of mineral, oil and gas, and geothermal energy development to support the environment, the economy, and the people of Oregon. The MLRR program ensures, through enforcement of permit conditions and direct reclamation action, that mined lands are returned to beneficial uses when mining activity ceases.

The majority of DOGAMI permits are issued for surface mining of materials needed to build and maintain our communities and roads, and essential goods and services provided by Oregon’s mineral industries.

The MLRR program permits and monitors exploratory drilling for and production from natural gas and geothermal wells that power our homes and businesses. The MLRR program provides the regulatory framework to ensure minimal impact of natural resource extraction and maximize beneficial restoration of disturbed lands.

MLRR also has an agreement with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to implement the federal Clean Water Act General Stormwater Permit and the State Water Pollution Control Facility Permit at aggregate mine sites.

The goal of the MLRR program is to administer effective and balanced regulation of mineral, oil and gas, and geothermal energy development to support the environment, economy, and people of Oregon.

Division 30, 33, 35
The vast majority of mining sites in Oregon are aggregate mines. Aggregate is the main ingredient in concrete and asphalt pavement and is used as a base on which roads and buildings are placed. Other important uses include gravel roads, dams, landscaping, drainage control, landfills, mortar, sanding icy roads, and railroad ballast.

In addition to sand and gravel and quarry rock, there is significant diatomaceous earth production, an industrial mineral with a variety of commercial uses. There are no active commercial metal or coal mines currently operating in the state.

Total annual aggregate production reported from January 2015 through the end of 2019 averaged approximately 37 million tons per year. 

The land-use authority (most commonly the county) determines the eligibility for a parcel of land to be mined and the secondary beneficial use to which the land is returned upon completion of mining.​
More information regarding surface mine permitting.
Division 10, 15
The Mist Gas Field in Columbia County is the only currently producing natural gas resource in Oregon. This field has been of significant economic importance to Columbia County and the State since its discovery in 1979. Exploration wells continue to be drilled at Mist. 

The Mist Gas Field includes two underground natural gas storage projects, which are also regulated by the oil and gas regulatory program. The natural gas storage projects are of economic benefit to users of natural gas in the state and provide gas delivery capacity through several pipelines from the field.

There is intermittent testing on wells in Coos County to assess the economic viability of methane production.

There are currently no oil wells in Oregon.

No hydraulic fracturing is currently occurring, nor has it been proposed to occur, in Oregon. DOGAMI and the Department of Environmental Quality regulate and issue permits for oil and gas wells drilled using hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking. Hydraulic Fracturing in Oregon Fact Sheet​.​
More information regarding oil & gas well permitting.
Division 20
The regulation of geothermal wells is similar to that of oil and gas wells. The program has seen an increase in the number of applications and permits in recent​ years.​
More information regarding geothermal well permitting.
DEQ Division 45

The DOGAMI-MLRR Program acts as the "agent" for Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and administers the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit #1200-A and Water Pollution Control Facilities (WPCF) General Permit #1000 at sites that have a mining permit issued by DOGAMI.

More information regarding water quality permitting.
Division 37
Under Oregon law, Oregon uses a consolidated application process for administering state regulatory requirements for chemical process mines. The majority of the requirements are consolidated into a permit issued by DOGAMI. Other federal, state, or local​ permits may also be required.​
More information regarding chemical process mine permitting


Keep up with MLRR news with our quarterly newsletter: ENGAGe (Exploration, Non-aggregate, Gas/oil, Aggregate, Geothermal).

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Contact MLRR

​​229 Broadalbin St. SW
Albany, OR 97321
Phone: 541-967-2039
Fax: 541-967-2075