Oregon Statutes - Chapter 517 - Mining and Mining Claims - Section 517.987 - Reclamation bond or security; annual assessment of cost of reclamation; lien; release of security; post-reclamation security.

(1) At the time of submitting a consolidated application under ORS 517.971, the applicant shall estimate the total cost of reclamation consistent with the standards imposed under ORS 517.702 to 517.989. Using the reclamation estimate and a credible accident analysis as a guide, the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries shall make an initial determination as to the amount of the reclamation bond necessary to protect human health and the environment. The department shall distribute a bond proposal to all permitting and cooperating agencies. The amount of the bond that the department may require to cover the actual cost of reclamation shall not be limited.

(2) The reclamation bond or alternative security acceptable to the department shall be posted before the start of mining operations. The bond shall be issued by a bonding company licensed to operate in Oregon. A mining operation may not satisfy the requirements for a bond through self-insurance.

(3) The department shall assess annually the overall cost of reclamation. If changes in the operation or modifications to a permit cause the cost of reclamation to exceed the amount of the reclamation bond currently held by the state, the operator shall post an additional bond for the difference. All reclamation calculations shall be approved by the department. Incremental surety increases shall be provided for, with the level of surety being consistent with the degree and forms of surface disturbance anticipated within a time period specified by the department. When the actual surface area to be disturbed approaches the level expected by the department, the operator shall notify the department sufficiently in advance of reaching the acreage limit specified to allow for a review of surety requirements and posting of additional surety by the operator prior to exceeding the acreage limit set by the department.

(4) If reclamation costs will exceed the posted bond and the operator does not increase the bond amount, the department and other permitting agencies shall suspend all permits until the operator posts the additional bond security.

(5) The department may seek a lien against the assets of the operator to cover the cost of reclamation if the bond posted is insufficient. The amount of the lien shall be the amount of the costs incurred by the department to complete reclamation. All current operating permits of the operator shall be suspended and the department shall deny immediately all pending applications of the operator to conduct mining operations.

(6)(a) The operator shall submit to the department a written request for the release of its reclamation bond. If the operator has conducted concurrent reclamation, the operator shall submit an application for bond reduction which estimates the percentage of reclamation done to date and the corresponding percentage of reclamation funds that the operator believes should be returned. A bond release or reduction request shall state in unambiguous terms all measures taken to reclaim the site and any problem or potential problems that may inhibit reclamation in accordance with permit requirements.

(b) The department shall distribute the request to each permitting or cooperating agency, to members of the public who participated in the consolidated application under ORS 517.952 to 517.989, and to any person who requests notification. In addition, the department shall publish a notice as provided in ORS 517.959 announcing receipt of a request for bond release or bond reduction.

(c) No sooner than 60 days after distributing the request and providing notice of the receipt of the request, the department shall conduct an informal public hearing to determine whether to allow the bond release or bond reduction.

(7) The department may require security or an annuity for post-reclamation monitoring and care to be paid before the final bond release. The security or annuity shall be sufficient to cover long-term site care and monitoring needs. The department shall determine the amount of the proposed security or annuity and distribute a proposal to all permitting and cooperating agencies. [1991 c.735 §24a; 2007 c.318 §27]

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Last modified: August 7, 2008