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Environmental Permits Handbook

Surface Mining Permit

* Who Needs One? * What Information Must I Provide?
* How Will My Application be Processed? * What Fees are Required?
* What are My  Responsibilities
After the Permit is Issued?
* What are the Division's Responsibilities
After the Permit is Issued?

Who Needs A Surface Mining Permit?

Persons who engage in mining and surface disturbances related to mining require a state mining permit which is obtained from the Tennessee Division of Water Pollution Control (WPC), Mining Section. In all counties mining of the following minerals requires a permit: clay, stone, phosphate rock, metallic ore and any other solid material or substance of commercial value found in natural deposits on or in the earth. This does not include limestone, gravel, sand, chert, marble, coal or dimension stone. In Shelby County, a permit is also required for mining gravel and sand.

What Information Must I Provide?

At least one (1) day before filing an application, applicants are required to publish a Notice of Intent to Surface Mine in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the activity is planned. A standard form is supplied by the Mining Section for preparation of the notice. A copy of the notice clipped from the newspaper which shows the dateline must be submitted with the proper fee and the following items:

  • An Application For Surface Mining Permit (Form CN-1097). The form requires information concerning the applicant, company and owners, the mineral to be mined, acreage to be disturbed, type of bond to be filed and name of corporate surety, previous permits, property owners within 500 feet of the operation, and owners of the surface rights and mineral rights.
  • A Mining and Reclamation Plan (Form CN-0808). The form requires information concerning plans for water drainage and erosion control; revegetation; method of mining; mine waste disposal areas; the manner, timing and distance for backfilling and grading work; final mine waste disposal areas and final shape of stable slope; and other information
  • Mining Operator's Revegetation Plan (Form CN-0806). This form outlines the schedule for proposed revegetation, including, but not limited to, the species of grasses and/or trees to be planted, fertilizer analysis and the amount to be applied per acre, the rate of seeding, the spacing of tree or shrub seedlings, the month of the year in which planting or seeding is to be done, and the manner in which the topsoil is to be conserved.
  • U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps showing the mining location, haul roads and site boundaries, prepared by a professional engineer, geologist or surveyor.
  • A copy of the applicant's NPDES discharge permit or a letter from the Division of Water Pollution Control stating that no discharge will take place, and therefore, no permit is required.

NPDES Permit Forms and NOIs

Form Description Form # Application Form Form Instructions
Notice of Intent to Surface Mine Standard Form (for publication in newspaper)   N/A N/A N/A N/A
Application for Surface Mining Permit CN-1097 wordmed.gif (222 bytes) pdfsmall.gif (153 bytes) N/A N/A
Mining Operator's Annual or Completion Form CN-0811 N/A Mining Operators Annual or Completion Form    

How Will My Application Be Processed?

Upon receipt of the application package, the Mining Section conducts an initial review and checks for completeness. Once the application is complete, staff conducts an in-depth review of the mining and reclamation plans as well as an on-site inspection. In not less than 45 days nor more than 60 days, the application is either approved or denied. If the application is approved, the permit is granted upon receipt of the required bond. Permits are issued for the time necessary to complete the operation up to a maximum of five (5) years for each permit action.

What Fees Are Required?

Application fee: $250 for each year of the permit
Acreage fee: $25 for each acre to be disturbed, up to a maximum fee of $2,500
Performance bond fee: Not less than $600 per acre, can be $2,000 or more depending on the county
Application amendments: $50

What Are My Rights And Responsibilities After The Permit Is Issued?

The operator has the right to proceed with the approved surface mining activities in accordance with the permit conditions and requirements. In the case of a denial, the operator may appeal to the Water Quality Control Board. The permit is not transferable but minor modifications such as changing the acreage can be made administratively. To operate beyond the duration of the permit, the operator must apply for a renewal 60 days before the expiration date of the permit.

The operator is responsible for updating the Mining Section each year on the status of the site with an annual report and map. The Mining Operator's Annual Or Completion Report (Form CN-0811) requires the number of acres of land affected by the operation, the extent of reclamation and revegetation accomplished by the applicant (on the map also), and other information. Annual reports are required until all reclamation work is complete. In addition to providing annual reports, operators are responsible for complying with specific requirements pertaining to the mineral being mined as found in the Tennessee Division of Surface Mining rules and regulations.

What Are The Division's Rights And Responsibilities After The Permit Is Issued?

The Tennessee Division of Water Pollution Control, Mining Section has the right to inspect the site when deemed necessary. In addition, the Mining Section has the right to revoke or suspend any permit for violation of permit conditions or any other provisions of the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act and the Division's Surface Mining rules and regulations.

The Mining Section is responsible for regulating surface mining so as to minimize the adverse effects associated with the activity.

Whom Do I Contact For Applications, Assistance And Other Sources Of Information?

Applications and information can be obtained from :
Mining Section
Tennessee Dept. of Environment and Conservation
3711 Middlebrook Pike
Knoxville, TN 37921
(865) 594-6035

New applicants who need more than one permit can contact their regional Environmental Coordinator for further assistance. 

Applicants may refer to the following publications:

Permitting Home

What Environmental Permits Do I Need?

Prudent Site Checks

Permit Application Forms

Standard Operating Procedures

Division of Water Pollution Control

WPC Standard Operating Procedures

TDEC Rule 0400-3exittdec3.gif (1060 bytes) et seq. TDEC Division of Surface Mining

TCA § 59-8-201 exittdec3.gif (1060 bytes) et seq. Tennessee Mineral Surface Mining Law of 1972

Defined Terms


waters of the State