Register December 2021 No. 792
Chapter NR 131
NONFERROUS METALLIC MINERAL PROSPECTING
Environmental baseline data collection prior to preapplication notification.
Preapplication notification and data collection.
Prospecting project review fee.
Application to prospect.
Location criteria and environmental standards.
Minimum design and operation.
Exemptions and variances.
Timeline for review of prospecting permit application.
Prospecting permit issuance.
Prospecting permit denial.
Reclamation bond and other financial assurance securities.
Reporting and prospecting permit review.
Prospecting permit and plan modification.
Certificate of completion of reclamation and reclamation bond release.
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Note: Chapter NR 131 as it existed on August 31, 1982, was repealed and a new chapter NR 131 was created effective September 1, 1982. Chapter NR 131 as it existed on December 31, 2021, was repealed and a new chapter NR 131 was created effective January 1, 2022.
NR 131.101 Purpose.
The purpose of this chapter is to implement ch. 293
, Stats., by establishing procedures and standards for the comprehensive regulation of nonferrous metallic mineral prospecting in this state and facilitating a coordinated procedure by which department permits, licenses, and approvals may be applied for, hearings may be held, and determinations may be made by the department in an integrated manner.
NR 131.101 History
History: CR 20-043: cr. Register December 2021 No. 792, eff. 1-1-22. NR 131.102(1)(1)
The provisions of this chapter are applicable to all nonferrous metallic mineral prospecting, including the storage, handling, processing, transportation, and disposal of all materials resulting from a prospecting operation except to the extent that mining wastes are regulated under ch. NR 182
If a standard under any state or federal statute, rule, or regulation other than this chapter specifically regulates in whole an activity or facility on a prospecting site regulated under this chapter, the other state or federal statute, rule, or regulation shall be the controlling standard. If the other state or federal statute, rule, or regulation only specifically regulates the activity or facility in part, the other statute, rule, or regulation shall only be controlling as to that part.
NR 131.102 History
History: CR 20-043: cr. Register December 2021 No. 792, eff. 1-1-22; correction in (2) made under s. 35.17, Stats., Register December 2021 No. 792. NR 131.103
NR 131.103 Definitions.
In this chapter:
Applicant" means a person who has applied for a prospecting permit.
Background water quality" or “background concentration" means surface water or groundwater quality at or near a facility, practice or activity which has not been affected by that facility, practice or activity established by monitoring at the proposed site, upgradient and downgradient of the proposed site and at representative reference sites, as necessary.
Baseline data" means the data collected by the applicant or the department which the department has accepted through the regulatory process of ss. NR 131.105
, and s. 293.31
, Stats., as representing the existing environmental conditions prior to the commencement of prospecting and established by monitoring at the proposed site, upgradient and downgradient of the proposed site and at representative reference sites, as necessary.
Department" means the department of natural resources.
Groundwater” means any waters of the state, as defined in s. 281.01 (18)
, Stats., occurring in a saturated subsurface geological formation of rock or soil.
Materials" means all solid, liquid and gaseous, substances handled, processed, transported, stored or disposed of on the prospecting site during prospecting and reclamation operations, including other substances generated by the operation as well as those brought onto the prospecting site.
“Mining waste” or “
nonferrous mining waste” means any refuse, sludge, or other discarded material, including solid, liquid, semi-solid, or contained gaseous material, resulting from nonferrous metallic mineral prospecting or mining, or from the cleaning or preparation of nonferrous metallic minerals during prospecting or mining operations.
“Mining waste” includes tailings, waste rock, mine overburden, and waste treatment sludges.
“Mining waste” does not include topsoil and mine overburden not disposed of in a waste site, but placed in a facility permitted under this chapter or ch. NR 132
, to be returned to the mine site or used in the reclamation process, and does not include merchantable by-products.
“Mining waste” does not include trees and other vegetation removed from the mining site during site preparation and facility construction.
Monitoring data" means the data collected by the operator or the department after the commencement of prospecting.
“Nonferrous metallic mineral" means an ore or other earthen material to be excavated from the natural deposits on or in the earth for its metallic content but not primarily for its iron oxide content.
NR 131.103 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.
“Non-mining solid waste” means solid waste generated as part of a nonferrous prospecting or mining operation that is not mining waste and includes materials such as discarded vegetation, tires, barrels, sanitary waste, and various other solid waste materials defined in ch. NR 500
, including construction and demolition waste, garbage, commercial solid waste and municipal solid waste.
“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.
“Ore" means a naturally occurring material from which nonferrous metallic minerals may be recovered at a profit.
“Overburden" means any unconsolidated geologic material, such as till, sand and gravel, and weathered bedrock that may be removed during prospecting or mining.
“Person" means an individual, owner, operator, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association, municipality, interstate agency, state agency, or federal agency.
“Principal shareholder" means any person who owns at least 10 percent of the beneficial ownership of an operator.
NR 131.103 Note
Section 293.01 (18)
, Stats., defines “prospecting" to mean: “engaging in the examination of an area for the purpose of determining the quality and quantity of nonferrous metallic minerals, other than for exploration or bulk sampling but including the obtaining of a nonferrous metallic mineral sample, by such physical means as excavating, trenching, construction of shafts, ramps and tunnels and other means, other than for exploration or bulk sampling, which the department, by rule, identifies, and the production of prospecting refuse and other associated activities. “
Prospecting" shall not include such activities when the activities are, by themselves, intended for and capable of commercial exploitation of the underlying nonferrous ore body. However, the fact that prospecting activities and construction may have use ultimately in mining, if approved, shall not mean that prospecting activities and construction constitute mining within the meaning of sub. (9), provided such activities and construction are reasonably related to prospecting requirements.”
“Prospecting permit" means the permit which is required of all persons as a condition precedent to commencing prospecting at a location.
“Prospecting plan" means the proposal for prospecting of the prospecting site.
“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 including a mining waste facility, if one is needed, corridors for access roads and other activities related to the prospecting operation but does not include environmental monitoring sites located off of the main portion of the prospecting site.
“Prospector" means any person engaged in prospecting.