Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Minerals Reclamation Program and where does it get it's authority?
The Minerals Reclamation Program is a Utah state agency which enforces the Utah Mined Land Reclamation Act enacted by the Utah Legislature in 1975. The Minerals Program is within the state Division of Oil, Gas and Mining which is contained within the Department of Natural Resources. The Utah Mined Land Reclamation Act (Act) is found under the Utah Code Title 40, Chapter 8. The purpose of the Act is to ensure all mining operations in the state include plans for reclamation of the lands affected.


What does the Minerals Reclamation Program regulate?
The Minerals Program regulates all "mining operations" as defined in the Act. All large mining operations within the state are required to have an approved notice of intention with the Minerals Program prior to beginning operations. Mining operations are broken up into the three categories of: large mine, small mine and exploration under the Minerals Rules.


What is a large mine, small mine and an exploration project?
A large mine is a mining operation which creates more than five acres of surface disturbance. A small mine is a mining operation which creates five acres or less of surface disturbance. An exploration project is an exploratory mining project which has a relatively short life span.


What types of land ownership does the Act apply to?
The Act applies to all lands within the state except Military and Indian Reservations. Private/Fee land, patented mining claims, federal land and state owned lands are subject to the Act.


What is the definition of "mining operation" under the Act?
The act defines "mining operation" to mean those activities conducted on the surface of the land for the exploration for, development of, or extraction of a mineral deposit, including , but not limited to, surface mining, and the surface effects of underground and in situ mining, on-site transportation, concentrating, milling, evaporation, and other primary processing.


What is the definition of a "mineral deposit" under the Act?
The Act defines deposit or mineral deposit to mean an accumulation of mineral matter in the form of consolidated rock, unconsolidated material, solutions, or otherwise occurring on the surface, beneath the surface, or in the waters of the land from which any product useful to man may be produced, extracted, or obtained or which is extracted by underground mining methods for underground storage.


Are there materials which are excluded from being a deposit or mineral deposit?
Yes. Deposit or mineral deposit excludes sand, gravel, rock aggregate, water, geothermal steam, and oil and gas as defined in Title 40, Chapter 6, but includes oil shale and bituminous sands extracted by mining operations.


Are there operations which are exempt from the Act?
Yes. The definition of mining operation does not include the extraction of sand, gravel, and rock aggregate; the extraction of oil and gas as defined in Title 40, Chapter 6; the extraction of geothermal steam; smelting or refining operations; off-site operations and transportation; or reconnaissance activities and activities which will not cause significant surface resource disturbance or involve the use of mechanized earth-moving equipment such as bulldozers or backhoes. A Primer on "Aggregate Extraction" Mining in Utah, helps explain exempt operations (PDF file).


What are the requirements for permitting under the Act?
All large mining operations must have an approved notice of intention and an approved reclamation surety. All small mining operations must have a complete notice of intention filed with the Division. All exploration projects must have a complete notice of intention filed with the Division.


Does the Minerals Program manage mining claims?
No. Mining claims are filed with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and with the local County Recorder for the county where the claims are located. The state of Utah currently has no specified requirements for location or corner markers used in staking a claim. Following the state of California requirements for claim markers is suggested.


Does the Minerals Program manage mineral leases?
No. Mineral leases on state lands are managed by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. They can be reached by phone at (801) 538-5100. Mineral leases on federal lands are managed by the BLM. Contact the local BLM office for additional information. Mining activity on either type of lease does require submission of a notice or plan to both the lease managing agency and the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining Minerals Program.


Are there fees for submitting mining notices to the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining?
Yes. As of July 1998 the Minerals Regulatory Program requires fees for initial submission of an exploration notice, small mine notice or large mine notice. In addition, an annual fee is required beginning the year following the initial submission. These fees go directly into the Minerals Regulatory Program.


Other Mining Related Links:


Minerals Adjudication - Branch of Minerals is administers federal minerals estate.


Mine Safety - Mine Safety and Health Administration, (801) 524-3450.


Maps and Mineral information - Utah Geological Survey (801) 537-3300, U.S. Geological Survey.


Mining Company information - Corporations, Commercial Code, Registering a Business - Department of Commerce, Division of Corporations (801) 530-4849.


Sand and Gravel Mining - Associated General Contractors.