Surface Mining Permitting Process
(last updated 03/13/2023)
Please note: Due to an increase in permit applications and inquiries submitted to the MLRR office, processing and response times have increased. Permit applications are processed in the order they are received and moved forward as applicants respond to deficiencies. Thank you for your patience.
The three types of surface mining approvals that DOGAMI issues include
Exploration Permits, and
Exclusion Certificates. The type of permit/certificate required for your operation depends on quantity, acreage, and/or planned activities. For additional detail and application requirements please review each permit type and the FAQ sheets below. All current forms can be found under the
Forms heading to the right.
Historically, DOGAMI has accepted narrative operating and reclamation plans as part of the application packet. To increase consistency in information management and application processing, the new application forms were designed with expandable text fields to allow the input of narrative information within the form. Please reference the necessary site plan and reclamation maps as well as cross sections as applicable within the fillable fields on the form. If you have already drafted a narrative, you can copy and paste the requested information into the appropriate form fields. Please do not submit narratives in addition to the application forms, as this will increase processing times.
Mine Reclamation Act 1971
An Operating Permit is required for material extraction activity that exceeds one acre of disturbance in any 12-month period and/or 5,000 cubic yards of excavation in any 12-month period. When total disturbance exceeds five acres, an Operating Permit is required unless the activity is exempt. Note that annual Operating Permit renewal and reporting are required until mining and reclamation are complete.
Additionally, the renewal fee is calculated based on production, plus a base fee.
Prior to submitting an application, an applicant is encouraged to request a pre-application meeting with the DOGAMI Permitting Lead. During the meeting the Permitting Lead will review application requirements and proposed surface mine plans, answer questions, and provide timelines and resources pertaining to the application process.
Minimum Operating Permit Application Requirements
In order to correctly review an application for accuracy and consistency, the following items need to be submitted together:
- Application Fee
- Operating Permit Application Form
- Proof of Land Ownership (trio)
- Permit Boundary Survey Map
- Site Plan Map
- Reclamation Plan Map
- Applicable Supplemental Forms and Fees*
*Additional information may be required for sites on floodplains, in hydrologically sensitive areas, or on steep slopes. Note that per ORS 517.800 (1)(b) If an application for a new permit or an amendment to an existing permit requires extraordinary department resources because of concerns about slope stability or proximity to waters of the state or other environmentally sensitive areas, the applicant shall pay to the department an additional fee in an amount determined by the State Geologist to be adequate to cover the additional costs for staff and other related expenses. The State Geologist shall consult with the applicant when determining the amount of the fee.
Please use the following supplemental forms: Wetland, Floodplain, Groundwater, and/or Slope Stability (found under the Forms heading, subcategory - Operating Permit Supplemental Forms, on the right-hand side of the screen) if prompted by the Operating Permit Application Form to do so.
For detailed information regarding the permitting process, estimated time frames, and additional requirements please see the Permitting Process FAQs linked above.
Note: If it is determined at any time that third-party permits or approvals are required, DOGAMI may be required to issue a Provisional Operating Permit to the applicant as provided in ORS 517.830.
The application is reviewed for completeness, and we will contact you to schedule a site visit. If the application is complete, it is reviewed for adequacy to determine if there are technical deficiencies. Technical deficiencies may be addressed as permit conditions.
Your application materials – along with our review report, reclamation security calculation, and draft permit conditions – will be sent to the other natural resource agencies for their review; comments received from the other agencies may be addressed as additional permit conditions.
After the interagency comment period…
Reclamation security must be submitted before the permit can be issued. The purpose of the reclamation security is to ensure that reclamation is completed. The amount you will be required to provide depends on the size of the operation and the operating plans. Reclamation security is typically a Performance Bond obtained through an insurance company or a Letter of Credit through a financial institution. If your security amount is less than $50,000, you may use an Assignment of Deposit.
The permit must be renewed every year
Operating permits must be renewed annually until mining and reclamation are complete. The permit renewal amount consists of a base fee plus a calculation of the number of tons mined (production) during the 12 months previous to your renewal due date. We will send you a permit renewal notice about 60 days before your renewal is due.
For detailed information regarding the permitting process, estimated time frames, and additional requirements please see the Permitting Process FAQs linked above. Note: If it is determined at any time that third-party permits or approvals are required, DOGAMI may be required to issue a Provisional Operating Permit to the applicant as provided in ORS 517.830.
Exploration Permit is required for all activities that disturb more than one surface acre or involve drilling to greater than 50 feet for the purpose of determining presence, location, extent, grade or economic viability of a deposit.
DOGAMI currently recommends that applicants contact the department at least 180 days prior to initiation of activities. Other state, federal, Tribal, and local agencies may require the applicant to obtain approval prior to operation. If an application is incomplete, the department shall notify the applicant in writing within 30 days of receipt and specify the deficiencies; the applicant may resubmit the application with deficiencies corrected within 60 days for review.
Minimum requirements for an Exploration Permit include:
See ORS 517.705 and OAR 632-033-0025 for additional application requirement details.
DOGAMI coordinates with other agencies to avoid duplication on the part of applicants. The department will notify local planning authorities and other appropriate public agencies that it has received the application for review. Based on external timelines, coordination with other agencies generally takes more than 30 days after receipt of a complete application in order for an Exploration Permit to be approved or denied by the department. The department may attach conditions to the DOGAMI permit to reflect concerns which are not adequately addressed. It is the applicant's responsibility to obtain any necessary permits from other agencies.
Exploration Permits must be renewed and reported upon annually until all activities and reclamation are complete.
Exclusion certificates are required for mining activity that removes less than 5,000 cubic yards and affects less than one acre of land within a 12-month period. Operating Permits are required for mining activities above these thresholds.
The Exclusion Certificate program was established by the Oregon Legislature in 2015, and is in statute as
ORS 517.753. The program is being implemented in phases, with application deadlines of:
mining operations involving sand, gravel, aggregate or crushed stone, applications must be received by DOGAMI no later than
September 30, 2016 or 90 days after the start of excavation, whichever occurs later.
placer mining and other non-aggregate mineral surface mining operations, applications must be received by DOGAMI no later than
July 31, 2017 or 90 days after the start of excavation, whichever occurs later.
Exclusion Certificate FAQ.
If you are interested in closing your Exclusion Certificate, you must contact the department
at least 30 days prior to renewal. Exclusion Certificates must be in compliance in order to be closed. If you have any questions, please contact the department at 541-967-2039 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exclusion Certificate Application Requirements
- Proof of Land Ownership
- $80 application fee
- The Exclusion Certificate must be renewed every year, as long as activity continues.
When a permitted site has met the reclamation obligations, as described in the approved Reclamation plan, the permit is eligible for closure and security release.
The permit must continue to be maintained in good standing until DOGAMI determines the reclamation is complete, and the permit can be officially closed. If you are ready to request permit closure, please submit the
request form, and supporting documentation to the Department. Once all the permit closure information is received, DOGAMI will contact you with the next steps.