Back to Publications

An Overview of the Mineral Permitting Process

Peter Keppler, Mineral Resources Permitting (1981)

The mining industry today is not the same species that it was ten or twenty years ago. The end product is the same, but the methodology used has changed enough to give even the most casual observer the impression that public and governmental intervention has had a profound influence on mineral exploration, development and extraction. A significant portion of the mineral resources permitting process at all levels of government has evolved due to the attitude of the general public that the environment needs to be protected from unregulated, destructive mining practices. Balancing the desire for continued economic growth, technological advancement, and national safety with the desire for a beautiful and pleasant environment, much legislation has emerged to try to preserve both goals for the benefit of a society with a multitude of values that are not always compatible.

The list of federal environmental protection statutes seems endless: The National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air Act, Federal Water Pollution Control Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, and the reams of regulations issued pursuant to each of them, place great responsibilities and burdens on mineral resources companies, as well as other industries. Concurrent state and local laws and regulati