The Mining and Mitigation Program administers reclamation, environmental resource/stormwater management, and federally-delegated dredge and fill (State 404) permit programs for mining operations in Florida, including "other resources" such as gravel, sand, dirt, clay (other than fuller’s earth) and any other solid mineral resource. Reclamation standards for other resource mining are detailed in Part II of Chapter 211 Florida Statutes (F.S.), Part III of Chapter 378, F.S., and Chapter 62C-39, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). An environmental resource permit is also required for other resources mining projects. Environmental resource permitting standards are detailed in Part IV of Chapter 373, and Chapter 62-330, F.A.C. For mining activities that involve dredging or filling in state-assumed waters, a State 404 (dredge and fill) permit would also be required. The State 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, Chapter 62-331, F.A.C., and the 404 Applicant's Handbook. Permits or authorizations from other local, state or federal agencies may also be required prior to mining.
What are the “other resources” that are mined in Florida?
Sand and gravel may be composed mostly of quartz (silicon dioxide) along with other minerals. Typically the mined material is washed and sorted to separate the sand and gravel from the silts and clays.
Clays are hydrous aluminum silicates mixed with varying impurities and in many mineral forms. This includes kaolin (kaolinite). Kaolin is used to provide the gloss on coated paper.
Dirt or fill material is typically mined from borrow pits. A borrow pit is a location where the natural deposits, such as fill dirt, are removed to make them suitable for use to build up land. No on-site processing is involved except for scalping screens to remove large rocks, wood and other debris. Borrow pits where the material is used on-site are not mines. Borrow pits where the material is used off-site are mines.
Where are these resources mined in Florida?
These resources can be found in every county. Kaolin is mined in Putnam County. The mine boundaries can be seen through Map Direct.
How are these resources mined in Florida?
Prior to mining, the trees may be harvested and the land is cleared. The topsoil may be stockpiled for use during reclamation. The overburden (earthen material that will not be sold) is removed and stockpiled along the edge of the mine. The overburden may be used to contain sediment and stormwater within the mine. After mining is complete, the topsoil and overburden may be used in reclamation for slopes and revegetation.
What are the reclamation standards for these other resources mines?
The Florida Legislature requires reclamation of lands disturbed by the mining. For mines that began after Oct. 1, 1986, all areas disturbed by mining must be reclaimed. "Existing mines” are mines where mining began on or before Oct. 1, 1986. At existing mines, reclamation requirements apply only to new areas that were disturbed by mining after Jan. 1, 1989.
Operators of other resources mines may have to provide a notice of mining or intent to mine to the department. Section 378.804, F.S., provides that an operator is not required to provide a notice to the department if the other resources mine will not exceed 20 acres. Reclamation at the mine must still meet all other requirements of the statutes and rules.
Reclamation means the reasonable rehabilitation of land where resource extraction has occurred (Chapter 378.403, F.S.). Areas subject to the reclamation requirements must be reclaimed after mining is complete. Debris, litter, junk, worn-out or unusable equipment or materials must be disposed of. The land must be contoured and stabilized to control erosion. Bare areas must be revegetated. Reclamation standards for other resources mines are detailed in Part III of Chapter 378, F.S., and Chapter 62C-39, F.A.C. The forms used for the reclamation program and filing instructions are may be obtained online.
What permits are required for other resources mines?
There is no comprehensive permit that covers all aspects of large projects, including mines. An applicant may have to consider the requirements of several regulatory agencies. Each agency may regulate only the specific activities based on authority granted by Congress, the Legislature or county commission. Prior to construction, the applicant must have all necessary federal, state and local approvals.
The Mining and Mitigation Program reviews applications for Environmental Resource Permits (ERPs) and State 404 Permits. The water management districts review the ERP applications for borrow pits which do not have onsite processing of the resource. Activities that typically require an ERP include dredging and filling located in, on or over wetlands or other surface waters, as well as the construction of structures. The permit governs the construction, alteration, operation, maintenance, repair, abandonment and removal of stormwater management systems, including dams, impoundments, reservoirs, appurtenant works, and works. The rules used to implement the ERP are authorized under Chapter 373, F.S. ERPs are also subject to Chapter 403, F.S., which governs activities that may pollute ground or surface waters, including wetlands. Chapter 62-330, F.A.C., and the Applicant’s Handbook Volume I and Applicant's Handbook Volume II, provide explanations, procedures, guidance, standards and criteria for ERPs. The forms used for the ERP program and filing instructions may be obtained online. The state of Florida utilizes a joint application for the ERP and State 404 permitting programs. For more information regarding the 404 permitting program, please see the State 404 Program page, Chapter 62-331, F.A.C., and the 404 Applicant's Handbook.
For mines and borrow pits in the Northwest Florida Water Management District only. After Oct. 1, 2007, new mines and borrow pits must obtain an ERP prior to starting construction or land-clearing activities. A mine or borrow pit existing prior to Oct. 1, 2007, may continue to be mined deeper within the area prepared for excavation prior to Oct. 1, 2007, without an ERP. Land prepared for excavation includes lands intended for immediate excavation and may involve preparation such as land clearing, root raking, removal of top soil, etc. An ERP is required prior to expansion of an existing mine or borrow pit that requires additional land preparation for excavation.
How does the department monitor activities at mines?
The ERP will require the operator to provide the department with an annual report describing activities for the previous calendar year, and proposed mining and reclamation activities for the current year. The ERP or State 404 permit may also require additional monitoring reports. Routine compliance inspections are conducted by department staff to ensure that mining and reclamation activities follow permit and reclamation rules.
You can obtain a list of applications for permits and conceptual reclamation plans that are currently under review with the department. This will provide the application number which can be used when requesting public records.
The Department of Environmental Protection maintains public records in an electronic document management system. You can obtain public records relating to applications, plans, reports and inspections through either of these websites:
OCULUS. Use the Public Oculus Login button. A password is not required.
You may also request public records by contacting the Mining and Mitigation Program. The contact information is below.
For More Information
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Mining and Mitigation Program
2600 Blair Stone Road, Mail Station 3577
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
850-245-8336 (phone) / 850-245-8356 (fax)
J.L. Calver (1949) Florida Kaolins and Clays. Information Circular No. 2. Florida Geological Survey, Florida State Board of Conservation.
T.M. Scott, R.W. Hoenstine, M.S. Knapp, E. Lane, G.M. Ogden Jr., R. Deuerling and H.E. Neel (1980). The Sand and Gravel Resources of Florida. Report of Investigation No. 90. Bureau of Geology, Florida Department of Natural Resources.
June 7, 2021 - 7:29am
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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.