Chapter 378.403(10), Florida Statutes (F.S.), defines a mine as “an area of land upon which mining operations have been conducted, are being conducted, or are planned to be conducted, as the term is commonly used in the trade.” Pursuant to Chapter 378.403(12), F.S., mining operations include “any activity, other than prospecting, necessary for site preparation, extraction, waste disposal, storage or reclamation.” Chapter 378.403(5), F.S., defines resource extraction as “the removal of resources from their location so as to make them suitable for commercial, industrial, or construction use; but does not include excavation solely in aid of onsite farming or onsite construction, nor the process of searching, prospecting, exploring or investigating for resources by drilling.”
What is reclamation?
Chapter 378.403(16), F.S., defines reclamation as “the reasonable rehabilitation of land where resource extraction has occurred.” Land reclamation after mining typically involves removing debris, recontouring the land to reduce steep slopes and restore or maintain drainage basin boundaries and revegetating the site. In some cases, mine tailings are pumped back into mine pits prior to recontouring.
There is no permit issued specifically for mining in Florida; however, mines are considered stormwater management systems regulated under the Environmental Resource Permitting (ERP) Program. As of Dec. 22, 2020, the Mining and Mitigation Program also began processing state of Florida 404 (dredge and fill) permit applications for mining projects in state-assumed waters.
The state of Florida 404 program is a federally-delegated program under the Clean Water Act. Florida utilizes a joint application for ERP and 404; for more information regarding the 404 permitting program, please see the State 404 Program page.
Forms used for ERP/404 projects are found on the Mining and Mitigation Program's ERP Forms page. Permits also may be required from other agencies, such as local county government, the local water management district, etc.
To start construction, you must have all necessary federal, state and local approvals. You also may need to file a Conceptual Reclamation Plan or a Notice of Intent to Mine for your project.
I want to open a new mine; what are my reclamation responsibilities?
If you are mining, you are required to reclaim the land disturbed by mining or mining operations. You may need to submit a Conceptual Reclamation Plan or a Notice of Intent to Mine. There is no fee to file a Conceptual Reclamation Plan or a Notice of Intent to Mine. Other resources mines that are less than 20 acres in size, and peat extracted for agricultural purposes, are exempt from the requirement to file a Notice of Intent to Mine, but the operator is still required to reclaim the land after mining. You should begin reclamation at the earliest practical time; reclamation timetable requirements are included in the reclamation rule for each mineral resource.
You can download PDF versions of reclamation forms and review filing instructions at the reclamation forms page.
How do I get a permit to mine?
ERPs and the state of Florida's 404 permits are obtained by filling out Section A (all mines), Section C (if the project includes work in, on, over, or within 25 feet of wetlands or other surface waters), Section H (all mines), and Section I (for projects requiring a State 404 permit) of the ERP/404 application and submitting the required permit fee.
Permits also may be required from other agencies, such as local county government, the local water management district, etc. To start construction, you must have all necessary federal, state and local approvals. The Mining and Mitigation program encourages new applicants to set up a pre-application meeting to discuss their proposed project and the permitting process.
How much does it cost to get an Environmental Resource Permit or a state of Florida 404 Permit?
Fees for Environmental Resource Permits are based on both the size of the project and the number of acres of wetlands or other surface waters proposed for impact. A complete fee schedule is found in Chapter 62-4, F.A.C. There is no fee for a state of Florida 404 permit.
Whom do I contact to get more information on how to open a new mine?
Send an email to MiningAndMitigation@FloridaDEP.gov or call 850-245-8336. The Mining and Mitigation program encourages new applicants to set up a pre-application meeting to discuss their proposed project and the permitting process.
Can I submit my Environmental Resource Permit or Reclamation Plan application electronically?
You will need the permit application number to pay electronically. The permit application number is assigned when the application is entered into our permit tracking computer system. You should receive an email with your permit number when it is entered into the permit tracking system (typically within one to three days of application receipt).
Whom can I contact to schedule MSHA (mine safety) training for my staff?
The mine safety training program is conducted through the Florida Public Safety Institute (FPSI) at Tallahassee Community College. To schedule training or learn more about MSHA training, contact Karen Miller at 850-201-7689.
How do I get information about new mines that may be opening near me or existing mines already operating?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.