43 CFR 3592.1 - Operating plans.
(a) Before conducting any operations under any lease(s), license(s), or permit(s), the operator shall submit to the authorized officer an exploration or mining plan which shall show in detail the proposed exploration, prospecting, testing, development or mining operations to be conducted. Exploration and mining plans shall be consistent with and responsive to the requirements of the lease, license or permit for the protection of nonmineral resources and for the reclamation of the surface of the lands affected by the operations on Federal or Indian lease(s), license(s), or permits. The authorized officer shall consult with any other agency involved, and shall promptly approve the plans or indicate what additional information is necessary to conform to the provisions of the established requirements. No operations shall be conducted except as provided in an approved plan.
(b) The exploration plan shall be submitted in accordance with mineral specific regulations in Group 3500 of this title (See subparts 3512, 3522, 3532, 3542, 3552 and 3562) and in accordance with 25 CFR 216.6 for Indian lands.
(c) The lessee/operator shall submit 2 copies of the mining plan to the authorized officer for approval. An additional copy shall be submitted if the surface managing agency is other than the BLM. The mining plan shall contain, at a minimum, the following:
(1) Names, addresses and telephone numbers of those responsible for operations to be conducted under the approved plan to whom notices and orders are to be delivered, names and addresses of lessees, Federal lease serial numbers and names and addresses of surface and mineral owners of record, if other than the United States;
(2) A general description of geologic conditions and mineral resources, with appropriate maps, within the area where mining is to be conducted;
(3) A copy of a suitable map or aerial photograph showing the topography, the area covered by the lease(s), the name and location of major topographic and cultural features and the drainage plan away from the affected area;
(4) A statement of proposed methods, of operating, including a description of the surface or underground mining methods, the proposed roads, the size and location of structures and facilities to be built, mining sequence, production rate, estimated recovery factors, stripping ratios and number of acres in the Federal or Indian lease(s), license(s), or permit(s) to be affected;
(5) An estimate of the quantity and quality of the mineral resources, proposed cutoff grade and, if applicable, proposed blending procedures for all leases covered by the mining plan;
(6) An explanation of how ultimate maximum recovery of the resource will be achieved for the Federal or Indian lease(s). If a mineral deposit, or portion thereof, is not to be mined or is to be rendered unminable by the operation, the operator/lessee shall submit appropriate justification to the authorized officer for approval;
(7) Appropriate maps and cross sections showing:
(i) Federal or Indian lease boundaries and serial numbers;
(ii) Surface ownership and boundaries;
(iii) Locations of existing and abandoned mines;
(iv) Typical structure cross sections;
(v) Location of shafts or mining entries, strip pits, waste dumps, and surface facilities; and
(vi) Typical mining sequence, with appropriate timeframes;
(8) A narrative which addresses the environmental aspects associated with the proposed mine which includes, at a minimum, the following:
(i) An estimate of the quantity of water to be used and pollutants that may enter any receiving waters;
(ii) A design for the necessary impoundment, treatment or control of all runoff water and drainage from workings to reduce soil erosion and sedimentation and to prevent the pollution of receiving waters;
(iii) A description of measures to be taken to prevent or control fire, soil erosion, subsidence, pollution of surface and ground water, pollution of air, damage to fish or wildlife or other natural resources and hazards to public health and safety; and
(9) A reclamation schedule and the measures to be taken for surface reclamation of the Federal or Indian lease(s). license(s), or permit(s) that will ensure compliance with the established requirements. In those instances in which the lease requires the revegetation of an area affected by operations, the mining plan shall show:
(i) Proposed methods of preparation and fertilizing the soil prior to replanting;
(ii) Types and mixtures of shrubs, trees or tree seedlings, grasses or legumes to be planted; and
(iii) Types and methods of planting, including the amount of grasses or legumes per acre, or the number and spacing of trees or tree seedlings, or combinations of grasses and trees;
(10) The method of abandonment of operations on Federal or Indian lease(s), license(s), and permit(s) proposed to protect the unmined recoverable reserves and other resources, inlcuding the method proposed to fill in, fence or close all surface openings which are a hazard to people or animals. Abandonment of operations also is subject to the provisions of subpart 3595 of this title; and
(11) Any additional information that the authorized officer deems necessary for approval of the plan.
(1) Approved exploration and mining plans may be modified at any time to adjust to changed conditions or to correct an oversight. To obtain approval of an exploration or mining plan modification, the operator/lessee shall submit a written statement of the proposed modification and the justification for such modification. Any proposed exploration or mining plan modification(s) shall not be implemented unless previously approved by the authorized officer.
(2) The authorized officer may require a modification to the approved exploration or mining plan if conditions warrant.
(e) If circumstances warrant, or if development of an exploration or mining plan for the entire operation is dependent upon unknown factors which cannot or will not be determined except during the progress of the operations, a partial plan may be approved and supplemented from time to time. The operator/lessee shall not, however, perform any operation except under an approved plan.