Surface Mining Permitting Process

(last updated 08/11/2014)

Note: Recently, the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) has received applications for surface mining operating permits at locations on or near environmentally and/or culturally sensitive areas (e.g., Archeological, Cultural, Species, Wetlands). In an effort to expedite the application review process, and to avoid unnecessary delays in permitting, please consult with the following agencies prior to submitting an operating permit application to DOGAMI: Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Oregon Legislative Commission on Indian Services (LCIS), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), Oregon Department of State Lands (ODSL), and any Native American Tribes in the area that may be affected. Consulting with these agencies and Tribes will determine if the proposed location requires additional information or surveys, or whether other special consideration is merited. If additional materials are required (e.g., cultural resource surveys, listed endangered or threatened species surveys, wetland delineation, etc.), they should be submitted with your DOGAMI application materials.

The MLRR Program issues four types of permits for surface mining activities:

Operating Permit

An Operating Permit is required for mining operations with an activity level that exceeds one acre and/or 5,000 cubic yards of new disturbance in any 12-month period, unless the excavated material stays on the property.

  • Quantity restrictions – none (within the permitted area).
  • Reclamation is required
  • The permit is renewed annually until mining and reclamation are complete.  The renewal fee is based on production.

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, unless the excavated material stays on the property.  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 use.
  • 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.

Contact MLRR
Nature of the Northwest

DOGAMI & USGS publications, outdoor recreation and natural resource information, plus the largest selection of maps in the Northwest.
Phone: 971-673-2331