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Mineral Land Regulation & Reclamation - Program Overview

Program Components

We are a field-oriented regulatory program, working with the industry and the public to minimize impacts of natural resource extraction (surface mining, oil and gas, and geothermal) and to optimize opportunities for reclamation.

The program is statewide (except tribal lands) and fee-based, with authority to regulate:

  • all upland and underground mining
  • the drilling of wells for oil or gas
  • the drilling of geothermal wells

In addition, we have 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.

Our field and aerial photo inspection programs are critical to maintaining compliance and maintaining a positive working relationship with the regulated community. We utilize two important non-regulatory tools as well: the Best Management Practices Manual and the annual Reclamation Awards Program

The program is staffed by 6.5 technical positions, 3 administrative positions, and 1 management position.

Surface Mining Program

Read more about Surface Mining Program

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 2005 through the end of 2009 averaged approximately 48million 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.

Oil & Gas Program

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Mist Gas Field: The only gas field currently producing in Oregon is the Mist Gas Field, located near Mist, in Columbia County. This field has been of significant economic importance to Columbia County and the State since its discovery in 1979. The state applies a severance tax of 6 percent on the gas produced, which goes to the common school fund. Exploration wells continue to be drilled at Mist.

The Mist Gas Field now 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.

Coalbed Methane in Coos County: Westport, a subsidiary of Curzon Energy, has been performing maintenance activities and flow testing on five coalbed methane gas wells in Coos County. The wells are not currently in production.

Oil Wells: There are currently no oil wells in Oregon.

Hydraulic Fracturing: 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.

Geothermal Program

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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.

Samples and drilling records are maintained on all wells.

Water Quality Program

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DOGAMI administers the 1200-A permit and the WPCF-1000 on behalf of DEQ at mines within DOGAMI's jurisdiction.

Chemical Process Mining Program

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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.

(last updated 04/21/2022)