Surface Mining Permitting Process

(last updated 02/05/2016)

PERMITTEE NOTICE - Fee increases & new fees for exempt sites effective Jan. 1, 2016
With the passage of House Bill 3563, the Legislature raised MLRR’s fees for the first time since 2005. Fee rates will increase January 1, 2016. The new rates are:
  • The annual base rate will increase to $850.
  • The production rate will increase to $.0095 per ton.
  • Operating permit applications, transfers and amendments will increase to $1,750.

Additionally, sites that were formerly exempt due to being under the mining thresholds of ORS 517.750 will be required to register for an Exclusion Certificate (EC). A new EC registration is $400, but will drop to $150 annually thereafter. Total exemption sites registered with MLRR as of December 31, 2015 will be eligible for the $150 renewal fee to receive an EC, and will not be required to pay the $400 EC new registration fee. Should you have any questions please call your lead reclamationist for clarification.

BEFORE Applying for a New or Amending an Existing Aggregate Mining Permit in Oregon

Summary of Issues Regularly Encountered at Aggregate Mining Sites in Oregon

To avoid delays in the DOGAMI-MLRR permitting process, DOGAMI urges applicants to review this summary of issues regularly encountered at aggregate mining sites in Oregon and contact the lead reclamationist for their county prior to applying for a permit.

The MLRR Program issues three types of documents for surface mining activities:

Operating Permit

An Operating Permit is required for material extraction activity that exceeds one acre of disturbance in any 12-month period and/or 5,000 cubic yards of excavation in any 12-month period. When total disturbance exceeds five acres, an Operating Permit is required unless the activity is exempt.

  • Quantity restrictions – no more than 5,000 cy or 1 acre disturbed in a 12-month period, unless material is for on-site road maintenance.
  • Reclamation is required.
  • Annual Operating Permit renewal and reporting are required until mining and reclamation are complete.
  • The renewal fee is calculated based on production, plus a base fee.

Exempt Activities

Determining whether activity is exempt from state mining regulation is not always straightforward. DOGAMI recommends contacting the lead reclamationist for your county to confirm whether the operation qualifies as an exempt activity. Activities that are determined to be exempt are not required to obtain an Operating Permit or reclaim disturbed areas.

Activities that may be considered exempt include:

  • Operations with less than 5,000 cubic yards of excavation per 12-month period that disturb less than one acre per 12-month period, with a maximum of 5 acres.
  • Excavation or grading operations reasonably necessary for farming. See OAR 632-030-0016 (c). Excavation conducted by the landowner or tenant for the primary purpose of construction, reconstruction or maintenance of access roads on the same parcel or on an adjacent parcel that is under the same ownership as the parcel that is being excavated may be exempt.

Grant of Total Exemption

Operators with exempt activities may apply for a Grant of Total Exemption. The applicant must provide DOGAMI with information demonstrating that the activities qualify as exempt. Applying for and maintaining a Grant of Total Exemption with DOGAMI is voluntary.

Operating Permit Application Requirements


Note: In addition to the original, paper copy of the application materials,
an electronic copy of the application materials must be submitted via email or disk.

Additional information may be required for sites on floodplains, in hydrologically sensitive areas, or on steep slopes.  NOTE: Before providing additional information or hiring a consultant, we suggest that you contact us to ensure that the data collection and submittal of the additional information will meet application requirements.

Completed application materials may be emailed to info "at"  The fee can be sent separately via U.S. mail; please make check payable to DOGAMI and include the site name on the check so we can match it to the application.

The application is reviewed for completeness and we will contact you to schedule a site visit.  If the application is  complete, it is reviewed for adequacy to determine if there are deficiencies.  (Deficiencies are addressed as draft permit conditions.)

Your application materials, along with our report and draft permit conditions, will be sent to the other natural resource agencies for their review.  They have 30 days to respond to us.  Comments received from agencies are addressed and a reclamation bond amount is calculated.  At the end of the 30 days, your permit is eligible to be issued.

After the 30-day comment period…
Reclamation security must be submitted before the permit can be issued.
The purpose of the reclamation security is to insure that reclamation is completed.  Reclamation security is typically a Performance Bond obtained through an insurance company.  The amount you will be required to provide depends on the size of the operation and the operating plans.  If your security amount is less than $50,000, you may use an Assignment of Deposit instead of a Performance Bond.  This places a hold on your bank account (savings, CD, etc.) for the security amount.

The permit must be renewed every year
The permit must be renewed every year until mining and reclamation are complete.  Your renewal anniversary date is determined by the month you submit your original application, and falls on the last day of that month.  (Example, if you apply for your permit on May 6, your anniversary date will be every May 31.)  The permit renewal fee is based on the number of tons mined during your permit year.  We will send you a permit renewal notice about 45 days before your renewal is due.

Grant of Total Exemption

A Grant of Total Exemption is available for mining operations with an activity level that is less than one acre and/or 5,000 cubic yards of new disturbance in any 12-month period.  These exemptions are voluntary and are not required by DOGAMI.  A Grant of Total Exemption is a certificate issued by the Department stating that the applicant has provided information to us that their activities will not exceed those that would require an Operating Permit.

  • Quantity restrictions – no more than 5,000 cy or 1 acre disturbed in a 12-month period, unless material is for on-site road maintenance.
  • Reclamation is not required.
  • The exemption may be renewed annually.

Grant of Total Exemption Application Requirements

Upon receipt of a complete application and processing charge, we will review your application and notify you if there are any problems.  If everything is ok, we will send you your GRANT OF TOTAL EXEMPTION certificate.  Certificates are valid for one year.  You may choose to re-register each year by submitting a processing fee.  We will send you a certificate renewal notice about 45 days before your certificate expires.  You may cancel your certificate at any time by notifying the Albany office.

Exploration Permit

An Exploration Permit is required for operations that disturb more than one surface acre or involves drilling to greater than 50 feet.

  • Reclamation is required.
  • The permit is renewed annually until exploration activity and reclamation are complete.

Exploration Permit Application Requirements

Upon receipt of a complete exploration application, a permit will be issued, generally within 30 days.

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