Adequacy of Controls for the Reclamation of Lands Mined for Noncoal Minerals

CED-77-72: Published: May 17, 1977. Publicly Released: May 17, 1977.

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A need exists for more complete information on the mining of noncoal minerals in order to formulate Federal regulations governing such mining. A survey was conducted to observe the effects of mining operations for uranium, copper, phosphate, limestone, molybdenum, and iron at a number of active and abandoned surface and underground mining sites in Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Significant amounts of land have been disturbed by surface mining of noncoal minerals, but the majority of these lands are not covered by any legal requirements mandating their reclamation. Development and implementation of land reclamation legislation at the State level have been slow; it varies extensively among the States, and land reclamation programs, where established, are limited. Federal guidance and assistance are needed to help insure that vast amounts of disturbed land are properly restored. While further study and analysis may be needed to assess the need and degree of control necessary for noncoal mineral activities, past experience in the development of State reclamation programs indicates that Federal leadership and assistance will be essential for the development of effective programs.

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