Environmental Permits Handbook
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.
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:
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.
Application fee: $250 for each year of the permit
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.
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.
Applications and information can be obtained from :
New applicants who need more than one permit can contact their regional Environmental Coordinator for further assistance.
Applicants may refer to the following publications:
TDEC Rule 0400-3 et seq. TDEC Division of Surface Mining
TCA § 59-8-201 et seq. Tennessee Mineral Surface Mining Law of 1972