2015 ORS 517.750¹
Definitions for ORS 517.702 to 517.989

As used in ORS 517.702 (Legislative findings) to 517.989 (Rules applicable to consolidated application), unless the context requires otherwise:

(1) "Board" means the governing board of the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

(2) "Completion" means termination of surface mining activities including reclamation of the surface-mined land in accordance with the approved reclamation plan and operating permit.

(3) "Department" means the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

(4) "Exploration" means all activities conducted on or beneath the surface of the earth for the purpose of determining presence, location, extent, grade or economic viability of a deposit. "Exploration" does not include prospecting or chemical processing of minerals.

(5) "Explorer" means, notwithstanding the provisions of ORS 517.810 (Requirement for bond or security) (2), any individual, public or private corporation, political subdivision, agency, board or department of this state, any municipality, partnership, association, firm, trust, estate or any other legal entity whatsoever that is engaged in exploration.

(6) "Landowner" means:

(a) The person possessing fee title to the natural mineral deposit being surface mined or explored; and

(b) The owner of an equitable interest in land that is subject to a deed of trust.

(7) "Minerals" includes soil, coal, clay, stone, sand, gravel, metallic ore and any other solid material or substance excavated for commercial, industrial or construction use from natural deposits situated within or upon lands in this state.

(8) "Operator" means any individual, public or private corporation, political subdivision, agency, board or department of this state, any municipality, partnership, association, firm, trust, estate or any other legal entity whatsoever that is engaged in surface mining operations.

(9) "Overburden" means the soil, rock and similar materials that lie above natural deposits of minerals.

(10) "Person" means any person, any federal agency or any public body, as defined in ORS 174.109 ("Public body" defined).

(11) "Processing" includes, but is not limited to, crushing, washing, milling and screening as well as the batching and blending of mineral aggregate into asphalt and portland cement concrete located within the operating permit area.

(12) "Reclamation" means the employment in a surface mining operation or exploration of procedures reasonably designed to:

(a) Minimize, as much as practicable, the adverse effects of the surface mining operation or exploration on land, air and water resources; and

(b) Provide for the rehabilitation of surface resources adversely affected by the surface mining operations or exploration through the rehabilitation of plant cover, soil stability and water resources and through other measures that contribute to the subsequent beneficial use of the explored, mined or reclaimed lands.

(13) "Reclamation plan" means a written proposal, submitted to the department as required by ORS 517.702 (Legislative findings) to 517.989 (Rules applicable to consolidated application) and subsequently approved by the department as provided in ORS 517.702 (Legislative findings) to 517.989 (Rules applicable to consolidated application), for the reclamation of the land area adversely affected by a surface mining operation or exploration and including, but not limited to the following information:

(a) Proposed measures to be undertaken by the operator in protecting the natural resources of adjacent lands.

(b) Proposed measures for the rehabilitation of the explored or surface-mined lands and the procedures to be applied.

(c) The procedures to be applied in the surface mining operation or exploration to control the discharge of contaminants and the disposal of surface mining refuse.

(d) The procedures to be applied in the surface mining operation or exploration in the rehabilitation of affected stream channels and stream banks to a condition minimizing erosion, sedimentation and other factors of pollution.

(e) The map required by ORS 517.790 (Operating permit required for surface mining on certain lands) (1)(e) and such other maps and supporting documents as may be requested by the department.

(f) A proposed time schedule for the completion of reclamation operations.

(g) Requirements of the exploration permit.

(14) "Surface impacts of underground mining" means all waste materials produced by underground mining and placed upon the surface including, but not limited to, waste dumps, mill tailings, washing plant fines and all surface subsidence related to underground mining.

(15)(a) "Surface mining" includes:

(A) All or any part of the process of mining minerals by the removal of overburden and the extraction of natural mineral deposits thereby exposed by any method by which more than 5,000 cubic yards of minerals are extracted or by which at least one acre of land is affected within a period of 12 consecutive calendar months, including open-pit mining operations, auger mining operations, processing, surface impacts of underground mining, production of surface mining refuse and the construction of adjacent or off-site borrow pits (except those constructed for use as access roads).

(B) Removal or filling, or both, within the beds or banks of any waters of this state that is the subject of a memorandum of agreement between the Department of State Lands and the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries in which the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries is assigned sole responsibility for permitting as described in ORS 517.797 (Memorandum of agreement with Department of State Lands regarding permitting).

(b) "Surface mining" does not include:

(A) Excavations of sand, gravel, clay, rock or other similar materials conducted by the landowner or tenant for the primary purpose of construction, reconstruction or maintenance of access roads on the same parcel or on an adjacent parcel that is under the same ownership as the parcel that is being excavated;

(B) Excavation or grading operations, reasonably necessary for farming;

(C) Nonsurface effects of underground mining;

(D) Removal of rock, gravel, sand, silt or other similar substances removed from the beds or banks of any waters of this state pursuant to a permit issued under ORS 196.800 (Definitions for ORS 196.600 to 196.905) to 196.900 (Schedule of civil penalties); or

(E) Excavations or reprocessing of aggregate material, or grading operations, within the highway right of way reasonably necessary for the construction, reconstruction or maintenance of a highway as defined in ORS 801.305 ("Highway").

(16) "Surface mining refuse" means all waste materials, soil, rock, mineral, liquid, vegetation and other materials resulting from or displaced by surface mining operations within the operating permit area, including all waste materials deposited in or upon lands within the operating permit area.

(17) "Underground mining" means all human-made excavations below the surface of the ground through shafts or adits for the purpose of exploring for, developing or producing valuable minerals. [1971 c.719 §2; 1975 c.724 §1; 1977 c.59 §1; 1981 c.622 §1; 1983 c.46 §1; 1985 c.292 §2; 1989 c.347 §12; 1999 c.353 §2; 2007 c.318 §5; 2009 c.279 §1; 2011 c.406 §2]

Atty. Gen. Opinions

State's authority to prevent or control removal by dredging of a privately owned island in a navigable river, (1972) Vol 36, p 285; surface mining, defined, (1973) Vol 36, p 742; Highway Division as "operator," (1975) Vol 37, p 694

Notes of Decisions

Depart­ment of Geology and Mineral Industries is not vested with exclusive jurisdic­tion over environ­mental regula­tion of mining lands, for such regula­tion is centralized in Division of State Lands pursuant to [former] ORS 541.610. State ex rel Cox v. Hibbard, 31 Or App 269, 570 P2d 1190 (1977)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Power of Depart­ment of Environ­mental Quality to regulate mining activities, (1972) Vol 35, p 1100

Law Review Cita­tions

29 WLR 297 (1993)

Chapter 517

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Power of Depart­ment of Environ­mental Quality to regulate mining activities and recovery of oil and geothermal activities, (1972) Vol 35, p 1100

Law Review Cita­tions

4 EL 370 (1974)


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 517—Mining and Mining Claims, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors517.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 517, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano517.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.