Mine permits are required for the extraction and processing of minerals such as gold, silver, uranium, precious metals, coal, bentonite, dimension stone, and decorative stone. Large scale mine permits are required for operations that affect more than 10 acres and/or mine more than 25,000 tons of material per year or for operations that use cyanide or other biological or chemical leaching agents. Small scale mine permits are issued for operations that fall under those amounts. The mining of sand, gravel, rock to be crushed and used in construction, pegmatite minerals, limestone, iron ore, sand, gypsum, shale or limestone used to make cement, or dredging for commercial resale requires a mining license.
Recreational mining, such as gold panning and mineral collecting that make use of hand-held equipment such as picks, shovels, gold pans, sluice boxes, or metal detectors is exempt from permit requirements. A mine permit is required for portable dredges or other mechanized equipment, even for use in recreational mining.
Small Scale Mine Permit (Operations that mine less than 10 acres disturbance and extract less than 25,000 tons annually)
It can take at least six months to obtain a small scale mine permit.
Large Scale Mine Permit (Operations that mine more than 10 acres disturbance and extract more than 25,000 tons annually and any operation that use cyanide or other chemical or biological leaching agents)
It can take anywhere from one to two years to obtain a large scale mine permit.
For small scale mine permits, the Board of Minerals and Environment sets the reclamation bond to cover reclamation costs in an amount not to exceed $2,500. For large scale mine permits, the board sets the reclamation bond to cover the entire cost of hiring a third party contractor to conduct reclamation activities.
Operations that employ cyanide leaching or other chemical or biological leaching agents are required to submit additional financial assurance or bonding with the department. The amount of financial assurance must be at least $25,000 but not more than $1 million.
Post Closure Bonding
Prior to release of the reclamation bond, an operator must submit a bond to cover post closure costs after the reclamation bond is released. A post closure plan must also be submitted at the same time.
Small Scale Mine Permits
For small scale mine permits, the operator must file an annual report on the anniversary date of the permit (the date when the permit was originally issued). The department mails the operator an annual report form to the operator about two months before the anniversary date. The operator is required to complete the form and submit it to the department along with a $50 annual fee. The completed annual report contains the following information:
Large Scale Mine Permits
The annual report requirements for a large scale mine permit are similar to those for a small scale mine permit. The only difference is that the annual fee is $100 for a large scale mine permit or $50,000 if the operation is a large scale precious metal, coal, or uranium mine that was permitted after January 1, 2009.
Large Scale Gold Mines
Large scale gold mines have separate annual reporting requirements. These mines are required to submit annual reports by January 1 of each year. Every November, the department mails each large scale gold mine an annual report form. The completed annual report contains the following information:
Mine permits are issued under the South Dakota Mined Land Reclamation Act (SDCL 45-6B) and the South Dakota Mined Land Reclamation Rules (ARSD 74:29). In situ leach mines are also required to comply with ARSD 74:29:11.
Crusher permits are issued under ARSD 74:36.
The Board of Minerals and Environment Procedural Rules
The procedural rules for contested case hearings can be found under ARSD 74:09.
To download mine permit application and other forms, please go to the DANR Applications & Forms web page. If you cannot download the forms, please e-mail your name and address to Eric Holm and the forms will be sent to you.
To learn more about other permits that may be required for mining operations, please go to the one stop permitting page. Also, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has additional requirements for mining operations in South Dakota. Please contact their district field office at (605) 348-2076 or check the MSHA web page at MSHA.GOV for more information.