THE STATE AND ITS GOVERNMENT
MINING AND RECLAMATION
In this chapter:
I. "Affected site" means the land or water upon, in, or under which mining is conducted or is to be conducted including the mine and that land or water which is or will be substantially affected physically or chemically by the mining.
II. "Closure" means all activities involved with closing an affected site after the cessation of mining, including the removal of all wastes, toxic materials, lagoons, and other sources of potential contamination; removal of all equipment, machinery, inventory, materials, and structures; reclamation of the land; third party site investigation to identify air emissions or contamination of soil, surface water, or groundwater; remediation necessary to achieve compliance with applicable state and federal cleanup laws and regulations; long-term monitoring and operation of remediation systems; and implementation of public safety measures.
III. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department of natural and cultural resources.
IV. "Comparable natural contour" means a surface configuration which resembles the general surface configuration of adjacent land and blends into and complements the drainage pattern of the surrounding terrain.
V. "Core drill" means a motorized drill that extracts solid, continuous rock samples from the earth for the purpose of exploration and characterization of ores, rocks, and minerals.
VI. "Dimension stone" means rock that is cut, shaped, or selected for use in blocks, slabs, sheets, or other construction units of specified shapes or sizes and used for external or interior parts of buildings, foundations, curbing, flagging, bridges, or revetments, or for other architectural or engineering purposes. Dimension stone includes quarry blocks from which sections of dimension stone are to be produced. Dimension stone does not include earth as defined in RSA 155-E:1, I.
VII. "Mine" means all areas mined on the surface, underground, or underneath water, as well as adjacent to the operation on the permitted property, including but not limited to, pits, quarries, underground mines, shafts, drifts, borings used for solution mining or otherwise, overburden disturbances, areas for storage, spoils, or waste, ancillary infrastructure such as pipes, tunnels, ponds, pools, waterways, sluiceways, lagoons, haulageways, roads, or trails, together with cleaning, concentrating, and preparation plants and machinery.
VIII. "Mineral" means copper, gold, silver, diatomite, feldspar, garnet, lime, thorium, uranium, and any similar solid material or metal substance to be excavated or extracted from natural deposits or formations on or in the earth or in or underneath water, and shall include those solid materials made up of minerals, such as rock and dimension stone, but shall exclude sand, gravel, and construction aggregate to be excavated from natural deposits or formations on or in the earth or in or underneath water, or for quarrying or crushing of rock or bedrock for the purpose of producing construction aggregate.
IX. "Mining" means all activities performed in the extraction of minerals and that create or make use of one or more components of a mine; provided, however, the following shall not be subject to this chapter:
(a) Mining activities for which the permit site would be 5 acres or less and would result in less than 2,000 cubic yards per year excavated; provided, however, that all mineral dredging activity in any waters of the state of New Hampshire, unless classified as small motor mineral dredging pursuant to RSA 482-A:3, XI, and all solution mining activity shall, regardless of the size of the area involved, be subject to the permit requirement and other conditions set forth in this chapter. Mining activities exempt under this subparagraph shall be subject to local ordinances, including site plan review under RSA 674.
(b) Mining activities in existence before August 24, 1979.
(c) Mining or quarrying activities for the production of construction aggregate.
(d) Collectors and hobbyists who hand collect mineral and rock specimens for recreational purposes.
(e) The crushing of rock for the purpose of producing construction aggregate regulated pursuant to RSA 155-E.
X. "Mining operator" or "operator" means any person, firm, company, association, partnership, cooperative, corporation, or trust engaged in mining.
XI. "Overburden" means earth and other natural materials over and around the minerals which will be displaced by mining operations.
XII. "Permit site" means the land surrounding and including the affected site needed to internalize the mining operation to safeguard adjacent lands and interests.
XIII. "Pre-application meeting" means the meeting requested in writing by a potential permit applicant prior to submission of its permit application and to be scheduled by the commissioner, where the applicant, representatives of the department of natural and cultural resources, representatives from the department of environmental services, including the state geologist, and the chairperson of the local planning board for each community in which the mine is to be located, or his or her designee, will meet to review the proposed project, and, if any party so requests, conduct a site visit. The pre-application meeting and any documents submitted or exchanged for the purposes of the pre-application meeting are not public, or subject to public disclosure, pursuant to RSA 91-A.
XIV. "Prospecting" means exploration for ores, rocks, or minerals performed by a company or professional agent in the business of mineral deposit exploration and development, using mechanized equipment such as a core drill, which will result in the disturbance of land greater than 100,000 square feet and greater than 10 feet in depth from the immediate land surface.
XV. "Quarry" means an excavation in bedrock open to the surface excavated for the purpose of removing rock, minerals, or metallic ores.
XVI. "Reclamation" means the restoration of the affected site by grading, backfilling, compacting, and landscaping to a comparable natural contour and the reestablishment of a diverse, effective, permanent vegetative cover of the same variety previously occurring in the area which is capable of self-regeneration and plant succession equal to or greater than the land's productive capacity prior to the mining activities. Reclamation shall also include any modifications or treatment of the land to prepare it for a different, post-mining use as approved under RSA 12-E:4, VIII.
XVII. "Rock" means granite, schist, quartzite, and any other solid material consisting of minerals.
XVIII. "Runoff" means any water on or flowing on or across the land surface.
XIX. "Toxic material" means any material that contains or is a chemical substance that may leach or otherwise become available to the environment so as to be injurious to the environment or to human health through ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through any body surface.
Source. 1979, 467:1. 1988, 285:3-5. 1992, 37:1. 2010, 331:1, eff. Sept. 18, 2010. 2015, 193:1, eff. Sept. 4, 2015. 2017, 156:14, I, eff. July 1, 2017.