Register July 2015 No. 715
Chapter NR 131
NONFERROUS METALLIC MINERAL PROSPECTING
Notification of intent to collect data.
Application to prospect.
Permit review and modification.
Certificates of completion and bond release.
Minimum design and operation requirements.
Location criteria and environmental standards.
Ch. NR 131 Note
Note: Chapter NR 131 as it existed on August 31, 1982, was repealed and a new chapter NR 131 was created effective September 1, 1982.
NR 131.01 Purpose.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish procedures and standards for the comprehensive regulation of nonferrous metallic mineral prospecting in this state and to coordinate and reconcile applicable state and federal statutes and regulations so as to facilitate the procedures by which department permits, licenses, and approvals may be applied for, hearings may be held, and determinations may be made by the department in a coordinated and integrated manner.
NR 131.01 History
Cr. Register, August, 1982, No. 320
, eff. 9-1-82; CR 13-057: am. Register July 2015 No. 715, eff. 8-1-15.
NR 131.02 Applicability.
The provisions of this chapter are applicable to all nonferrous metallic mineral prospecting as defined in s. 293.01 (18)
, Stats., including the storage, handling, processing, transportation, and disposal of all materials resulting from a prospecting operation except to the extent that prospecting wastes are regulated by ch. NR 182
. The provisions of this chapter are not applicable to those activities which are intended for and capable of commercial exploitation of the underlying ore body. However, the fact that prospecting activities and construction may have use ultimately in mining, if approved, does not mean that prospecting activities and construction constitute mining pursuant to the definition of mining contained in s. 293.01 (9)
, Stats., provided such activities and construction are reasonably related to prospecting requirements. This chapter also does not apply to ferrous metallic mining regulated under subch. III of ch. 295
NR 131.03 Definitions.
The following special definitions are applicable to the terms used in this chapter:
“Applicant" means a person who has applied for a prospecting permit.
“Baseline data" means the data collected by the applicant or the department which the department has accepted through the regulatory process of ss. NR 131.05
and s. 293.43
, Stats., as representing the existing environmental conditions prior to the commencement of prospecting.
“Department" means department of natural resources.
“Economic information" means financial and economic projections for any potential mining of an ore body including estimates of capital costs, predicted expenses, price forecasts and metallurgical recovery estimates.
“Forfeited any bond" means the forfeiture of any performance security occasioned by noncompliance with any prospecting laws or provisions of this chapter.
“Geologic information" means information concerning descriptions of an ore body, descriptions of reserves, tonnages and grades of ore, descriptions of a drill core or bulk sample including analysis and descriptions of drill hole depths.
“Materials" means all substances handled, transported, processed, stored or disposed of on the prospecting site during the prospecting and reclamation operation, including merchantable by-product and other materials generated by the operation as well as those brought onto the prospecting site.
“Merchantable by-product" means all waste soil, rock, mineral, liquid, vegetation and other material directly resulting from or displaced by the prospecting, cleaning or preparation of nonferrous metallic minerals during prospecting operations which are determined by the department to be marketable upon a showing of marketability made by the operator, accompanied by a verified statement by the operator of his or her intent to sell such material within 3 years from the time it results from or is displaced by prospecting. If after 3 years from the time merchantable by-product results from or is displaced by prospecting such material has not been transported off the prospecting site, it shall be considered and regulated as refuse unless removal is continuing at a rate of more than 12,000 cubic yards per year. Regardless of whether the material constitutes merchantable by-product, it shall be subject to the requirements of this chapter.
“Monitoring data" means the data collected by the operator or the department after the commencement of prospecting.
NR 131.03 Note
Note: This definition does not apply to substances mined primarily for their iron oxide content. This definition includes substances mined for the purpose of extracting a metal or metals such as copper, zinc, lead, gold, silver, titanium, vanadium, nickel, cadmium, molybdenum, chromium, manganese, cobalt, zirconium, beryllium, thorium, and uranium.
“Operator" means any person who is engaged in, or who has applied for or holds a permit to engage in, prospecting, whether individually, jointly or through subsidiaries, agents, employees or contractors.
“Overburden" means any unconsolidated material that overlies bedrock.
“Person" means any individual, corporation, cooperative-owner, lessee, syndicate, partnership, firm, association, trust, estate, public or private institution, political subdivision of the state of Wisconsin, any state agency or any legal successor, representative, agent or agency of the foregoing.
“Principal shareholder" means any person who owns at least 10% of the beneficial ownership of an operator.
“Prospecting" means engaging in the examination of an area for the purpose of determining the quality and quantity of nonferrous metallic minerals, other than for exploration but including the obtaining of a nonferrous metallic mineral ore sample, by such physical means as excavating, trenching, construction of shafts, ramps, tunnels, pits and the production of refuse and other associated activities.
“Prospecting data" means data, records and other information furnished to or obtained by the department or held by the applicant or operator in connection with the application for a prospecting permit.
“Prospecting permit" means the permit which is required of all operators as a condition precedent to commencing prospecting at a prospecting site.
“Prospecting plan" means the proposal for prospecting of the prospecting site, which shall be approved by the department under s. 293.45 (1)
, Stats., prior to the issuance of the prospecting permit.
“Prospecting site" means the lands on which prospecting is actually conducted as well as those lands on which physical disturbance will occur as a result of such activity.
“Reclamation" means the process by which an area physically or environmentally affected by prospecting is rehabilitated to either its original state or if this is shown to be physically or economically impracticable or environmentally or socially undesirable, to a state that provides long-term environmental stability. Reclamation shall provide the greatest feasible protection to the environment and shall include, but not be limited to, the criteria for reclamation set forth in s. 293.13 (2) (c)
, Stats., and the closure and long-term care requirements of ch. NR 182
for facilities licensed pursuant to that chapter.
“Reclamation plan" means the proposal for the reclamation of the prospecting site which must be approved by the department under s. 293.45 (1)
, Stats., prior to the issuance of the prospecting permit, and includes closure and long-term care requirements of ch. NR 182
for facilities licensed pursuant to that chapter.
“Refuse" means all waste soil, rock, mineral, liquid, vegetation, and other material, except merchantable by-products, directly resulting from or displaced by the prospecting, and from the cleaning or preparation of nonferrous metallic minerals during prospecting operations, and shall include all waste materials deposited on or in the prospecting site from other sources and solid waste as defined in s. NR 182.04
“Unsuitability" means that the land proposed for prospecting or surface mining is not suitable for such activity because the prospecting or surface mining activity itself may reasonably be expected to destroy or irreparably damage either of the following:
Habitat required for survival of species of vegetation or wildlife as designated in ch. NR 27
if such endangered species cannot be firmly established elsewhere.
Unique features of land, as determined by state or federal designation as any of the following, which cannot have their unique characteristic preserved by relocation or replacement elsewhere.
Wild and scenic rivers designated by statute or administrative rule.
National or state parks designated by statute or administrative rule.
Wildlife refuges and areas as designated by statute or administrative rule.
Historical landmarks, sites and archeological areas designated by the state historical society.