In this subchapter:
"Air pollution" means the presence in the atmosphere of one or more air 8
contaminants in such quantities and of such duration as is injurious to human health 9
or welfare, animal or plant life, or property.
"Applicant" means a person who applies for, or is preparing to apply for, an 11
exploration license or a mining permit or who files a bulk sampling plan.
"Approval" means any permit, license, certification, contract, or other 13
authorization that the department issues, or any other action by the department, 14
that is required for exploration, to engage in bulk sampling at a bulk sampling site, 15
or to construct or operate a mining site, including any action required for any of the 16
(a) The withdrawal of land entered as county forest land under s. 28.11 and any 18
modification of, or amendment to, a county forest land use plan necessitated by the 19
withdrawal of the land.
(b) The withdrawal of land entered as forest cropland under s. 77.10.
(c) The withdrawal of land designated as managed forest land under subch. VI 22
of ch. 77 and any modification of, or amendment to, a managed forest land 23
management plan necessitated by the withdrawal of the land.
"Background water quality" means the concentration of a substance in 2
groundwater as determined by monitoring at locations that will not be affected by 3
a mining site.
"Baseline water quality" means the concentration of a substance in 5
groundwater or surface water as determined by monitoring before mining operations 6
"Borrow materials" means soil or rock used in construction or reclamation 8
"Bulk sampling" means excavating in a potential mining site by removing 10
less than 10,000 tons of material for the purposes of obtaining site-specific data to 11
assess the quality and quantity of the ferrous mineral deposits and of collecting data 12
from and analyzing the excavated materials in order to prepare the application for 13
a mining permit or for any other approval.
"Closing" means the time at which a mining waste site ceases to accept 15
"Closure" means the actions taken by an operator to prepare a mining waste 17
site for long-term care and to make it suitable for other uses.
"Construct" means to engage in a program of on-site construction, 19
including site clearing, grading, dredging, or filling of land.
"Department" means the department of natural resources.
"Disposal" means the discharge, deposit, injection, dumping, or placing of 22
a substance into or on any land or water.
"Environmental impact report" means a document submitted by a person 24
seeking a mining permit that discloses environmental impacts of the proposed 25
"Environmental impact statement" means a detailed statement under s. 2
1.11 (2) (c).
"Environmental pollution" means contaminating or rendering unclean or 4
impure the air, land, or waters of the state, or making the air, land, or waters of the 5
state injurious to public health or animal or plant life.
"Exploration license" means a license under s. 295.44.
"Ferrous mineral" means an ore or earthen material in natural deposits 8
in or on the earth that primarily exists in the form of an iron oxide, including taconite 9
"Fill area" means an area proposed to receive or that is receiving direct 11
application of mining waste.
"Freeboard" means the height of the top of a dam above the adjacent liquid 13
surface within the impoundment.
"Groundwater" means any of the waters of the state occurring in a 15
saturated subsurface geological formation of rock or soil.
"Groundwater quality" means the chemical, physical, biological, thermal, 17
or radiological quality of groundwater at a site or within an underground aquifer.
"Groundwater quality standards" means numerical values consisting of 19
enforcement standards and preventive action limits contained in Table 1 of s. NR 20
140.10, and Table 2 of s. NR 140.12, Wis. Adm. Code, and any preventive action limits 21
for indicator parameters identified under s. NR 140.20 (2).
"Leachate" means water or other liquid that has been contaminated by 23
dissolved or suspended materials due to contact with refuse disposed of on the 24
"Merchantable by-product" means all waste soil, rock, mineral, liquid, 2
vegetation, and other material directly resulting from or displaced by the mining, 3
cleaning, or preparation of minerals, during mining operations, that are determined 4
by the department to be marketable upon a showing of marketability made by the 5
operator, accompanied by a verified statement by the operator of his or her intent to 6
sell the material within 3 years from the time it results from or is displaced by 7
"Mining" means all or part of the process involved in the mining of a 9
ferrous mineral, other than for exploration, including commercial extraction, 10
agglomeration, beneficiation, construction of roads, removal of overburden, and the 11
production of refuse, involving the removal of more than 15,000 tons of earth 12
material a year in the regular operation of a business for the purpose of extracting 13
a ferrous mineral.
"Mining permit" means the permit under s. 295.58.
"Mining plan" means a proposal for mining on a mining site, including a 16
description of the systematic activities to be used for the purpose of extracting 17
"Mining site" means the surface area disturbed by mining, including the 19
surface area from which the ferrous minerals or refuse or both have been removed, 20
the surface area covered by refuse, all lands disturbed by the construction or 21
improvement of haulageways, and any surface areas in which structures, 22
equipment, materials, and any other things used in the mining are situated.
"Mining waste" means tailings, waste rock, mine overburden, waste 24
treatment sludges, or other discarded material, including solid, liquid, semi-solid, 25
or contained gaseous material, resulting from mining or from the cleaning or
preparation of ferrous minerals during mining operations, except that "mining 2
waste" does not include topsoil and mine overburden intended to be returned to the 3
mining site or used in the reclamation process and that is placed on the mining site 4
for those purposes, as provided for in the approved mining plan, and does not include 5
"Mining waste site" means any land or appurtenances thereto used for the 7
storage or disposal of mining waste or for the storage of merchantable by-products, 8
but does not include land or appurtenances used in the production or transportation 9
of mining waste, such as the concentrator, haul roads, or tailings pipelines, that are 10
part of the mining site.
"Nonferrous metallic mineral" means an ore or other earthen material to 12
be excavated from natural deposits on or in the earth for its metallic content but not 13
primarily for its iron oxide content.
"Operator" means any person who is engaged in mining, or who holds a 15
mining permit, whether individually, jointly, or through subsidiaries, agents, 16
employees, or contractors.
"Overburden" means any unconsolidated material that overlies bedrock.
"Person" means an individual, corporation, limited liability company, 19
partnership, association, local governmental agency, interstate agency, state agency, 20
or federal agency.
"Piping" means the progressive erosion of materials from an embankment 22
or foundation caused by the seepage of water.
"Principal shareholder" means any person who owns at least 10 percent 24
of the beneficial ownership of an applicant or operator.
"Reagent" means a substance or compound that is added to a system in 2
order to bring about a chemical reaction or is added to see if a reaction occurs to 3
confirm the presence of another substance.
"Reclamation" means the process by which an area physically or 5
environmentally affected by exploration or mining is rehabilitated to either its 6
original state or to a state that provides long-term environmental stability.
"Reclamation plan" means the proposal for the reclamation of an 8
exploration site under s. 295.44 (2) (b) or a mining site under s. 295.49.
"Refuse" means all mining waste and all waste materials deposited on or 10
in the mining site from other sources, except merchantable by-products.
"Related person" means any person that owns or operates a mining site 12
in the United States and that is one of the following when an application for a mining 13
permit is submitted to the department:
(a) The parent corporation of the applicant.
(b) A person that holds more than a 30 percent ownership interest in the 16
(c) A subsidiary or affiliate of the applicant in which the applicant holds more 18
than a 30 percent ownership interest.
"Subsidence" means lateral or vertical ground movement caused by a 20
failure, initiated at the mine, of a man-made underground mine, that directly 21
damages residences or commercial buildings, except that "subsidence" does not 22
include lateral or vertical ground movement caused by earthquake, landslide, soil 23
conditions, soil erosion, soil freezing and thawing, or roots of trees and shrubs.
"Tailings" means waste material resulting from beneficiation of crushed 2
ferrous minerals at a concentrator or from washing, concentration, or treatment of 3
crushed ferrous minerals.
"Unsuitable" means that the land proposed for mining is not suitable for 5
mining because the mining activity will more probably than not destroy or 6
irreparably damage any of the following:
(a) Habitat required for survival of species of vegetation or wildlife designated 8
as endangered through prior inclusion in rules adopted by the department, if the 9
endangered species cannot be reestablished elsewhere.
(b) Unique features of the land, as determined by state or federal designation 11
and incorporated in rules adopted by the department, as any of the following, which 12
cannot have their unique characteristic preserved by relocation or replacement 13
1. Wilderness areas.
2. Wild and scenic rivers.
3. National or state parks.
4. Wildlife refuges and areas.
5. Listed properties, as defined in s. 44.31 (4).
"Wastewater and sludge storage or treatment lagoon" means a 20
man-made containment structure that is constructed primarily of earthen 21
materials, that is for the treatment or storage of wastewater, storm water, or sludge, 22
and that is not a land disposal system, as defined in s. NR 140.05 (11), Wis. Adm. 23
"Waters of the state" has the meaning given in s. 281.01 (18).
"Water supply" means the sources and their surroundings from which 2
water is supplied for drinking or domestic purposes.
"Wetland" has the meaning given in s. 23.32 (1).
4295.43 Responsibilities related to mining.
The department shall serve as 5
the central unit of state government to ensure that the impact from mining and 6
reclamation on the air, lands, waters, plants, fish, and wildlife in this state will be 7
minimized and mitigated to the extent practicable. The administration of 8
occupational health and safety laws and rules that apply to mining remain 9
exclusively the responsibility of the department of safety and professional services. 10
The powers and duties of the geological and natural history survey under s. 36.25 (6) 11
remain exclusively the responsibility of the geological and natural history survey. 12
Nothing in this section prevents the department of safety and professional services 13
and the geological and natural history survey from cooperating with the department 14
in the exercise of their respective powers and duties.
15295.44 Exploration. (1)
In this section:
(a) "Abandonment" means the filling or sealing of a drillhole.
(b) "Clay slurry" means a fluid mixture of native clay formation or commercial 18
clay or clay mineral products and water prepared with only the amount of water 19
necessary to produce fluidity.
(c) "Concrete grout" means a mixture consisting of type A portland cement and 21
an equal or lesser volume of dry sand combined with water.
(d) "Driller" means a person who performs core, rotary, percussion, or other 23
drilling involved in exploration for ferrous minerals.
(e) "Drilling site" means the area disturbed by exploration, including the 25
(f) "Dump bailer" means a cylindrical container with a valve that empties the 2
contents of the container at the bottom of a drillhole.
(g) "Explorer" means any person who engages in exploration or who contracts 4
for the services of drillers for the purpose of exploration.
(h) "Exploration" means the on-site geologic examination from the surface of 6
an area by core, rotary, percussion, or other drilling, where the diameter of the hole 7
does not exceed 18 inches, for the purpose of searching for ferrous minerals or 8
establishing the nature of a known ferrous mineral deposit, including associated 9
activities such as clearing and preparing sites or constructing roads for drilling. 10
"Exploration" does not include drilling for the purpose of collecting soil samples or 11
for determining radioactivity by means of placement of devices that are sensitive to 12
(i) "License year" means the period beginning on July 1 of any year and ending 14
on the following June 30.
(j) "Neat cement grout" means a mixture consisting of type A portland cement 16
(k) "Termination" means the filling of drillholes and the reclamation of a 18
No person may engage in exploration, or contract for the services 20
of drillers for purposes of exploration, without an annual license from the 21
department. The department shall provide copies of the application for an 22
exploration license to the state geologist upon issuance of the exploration license. A 23
person seeking an exploration license shall file an application that includes all of the 24
(a) An exploration plan that includes all of the following:
1. A description of the site where the exploration will take place and a map of 2
that area showing the locations of the exploration.
2. A description of the means and method that will be used for the exploration.
3. A description of the grading and stabilization of the excavation, sides, and 5
benches that will be conducted.
4. A description of how the grading and stabilization of any deposits of refuse 7
will be conducted.
5. A description of how any diversion and drainage of water from the 9
exploration site will be conducted.
6. A description of how any backfilling will be conducted.
7. A description of how any pollutant-bearing minerals or materials will be 12
8. A description of how the topsoils will be removed and stockpiled or how other 14
measures will be taken to protect topsoils before exploration.
9. A description of how vegetative cover will be provided.
10. A description of how any water impoundment will be accomplished.
11. Identification of the means and method that will be used to prevent 18
significant environmental pollution to the extent practicable.
(b) A reclamation plan, designed to minimize adverse effects to the 20
environment to the extent practicable, that includes all of the following: