California’s Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) requires lead agencies to inspect surface mining operations not less than once each calendar year. SMARA section 2774(b) states, “The lead agency shall conduct an inspection of a surface mining operation within six months of receipt by the lead agency of the surface mining operation's report submitted pursuant to section 2207, solely to determine whether the surface mining operation is in compliance with this chapter… . All inspections shall be conducted using a form developed by the department and approved by the board that shall include the professional licensing and disciplinary information of the person who conducted the inspection.”
California Code of Regulations Section 3504.5(g) provides additional clarification:
“The inspection report to the lead agency shall consist of the inspection form MRRC-1 (4/97), developed by the department and approved by the board, and any other reports or documents prepared by the inspector or inspection team. The lead agency shall provide a copy of the completed inspection report along with the lead agency's statement regarding the status of compliance of the operation to the director within 30 days of completion of the inspection. A copy of the completed inspection report and lead agency statement of compliance shall also be provided to the mine operator within 30 days of completion of the inspection.”
At the October 11, 2012 meeting of the State Mining and Geology Board’s, Policy and Legislation Committee, the Department recommended changes to inspection form MRRC-1. The proposed changes reflect the process followed by the Board in conducting inspections of mining operations where the Board is lead agency.
At the request of the Department, the Policy and Legislation Committee initiated a 30-day public review and comment period. The comment period opened on October 11, 2012 and closes on November 9, 2012. The proposed revisions can be viewed by clicking the following link:
“Proposed revisions to MRRC-1”
Written comments on the revised MRRC-1 form must be postmarked no later than November 9, 2012. Please mail written comments to:
Office of Mine Reclamation
Inspection Form Comments
801 K Street, Suite 09-06
Sacramento, CA 95814
Comments can also be submitted via email to:
OMR@conservation.ca.gov (use subject line “Inspection Report Form Revision”)
Q. I've never even heard of a 'Gold and Silver Fee' -- when did this become a law?
A. The Gold and Silver Fee was imposed by Senate Bill 649, which became effective on January 1, 2004. The fee requirement is contained in Public Resources Code Section 2207(d)(4)(B). You can review the text of the bill online at www.leginfo.ca.gov.
Q. I don't produce gold or silver, I produce sand and gravel (or some other commodity). Why did I get this notice?
A. You received this notice because, according to our records, you are the owner or operator of a mine that may be producing gold or silver as a commodity. If you don't produce gold or silver, please indicate so in the boxes in section 1 of the form and mail it in to our office.
Q. I produce a small amount of gold (or silver), but it's not my primary (or even secondary) commodity. Do I still have to pay the Gold and Silver Fee?
A. Yes. The Gold and Silver Fee applies to all gold and silver mined within the State of California.
Q.Is the Gold and Silver Fee in addition to the Annual Reporting Fee?
Q. If I don't produce any gold or silver, do I have to pay a fee anyway?
A. No. The Gold and Silver Fee applies only if you produce gold or silver. However, you are still required to submit a Gold and Silver Report (Form AMLU-01, AMLU-02 and AMLU-03). Simply mark the box in section one that states "Please check her if no gold or silver will be/was mined in 2004.
Q. I already received a notice for my annual reporting fees. Can I mail in the Gold and Silver Report form with my Annual Reporting Fee?
A. Yes, you can mail both reports in together, but please send a separate check for the Gold and Silver Fee.
Q. What does "produced" mean?
A. The Gold and Silver Fee applies to each ounce of gold "mined" within the state. Your mining production of gold and silver may be based on (1) onsite refining, (2) certified offsite refining, or (3) the assayed amount based on ore produced. Please indicate your basis for determining your gold and silver production amounts in section 2 of the form.
Q. Will the information that I provide in this report be given to my Lead Agency (or to anyone else)?
A. No one, including your Lead Agency, will be given a copy of this report or any information that it contains. Gold and silver production information is proprietary and will be kept confidential pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 2207(g).
Q. What will the revenues from this fee be used for?
A. Gold and Silver Fee revenues will be deposited into the Abandoned Mine Reclamation and Minerals Fund Subaccount (AMRMFS) within the Mine Reclamation Account. Upon appropriation by the Legislature, amounts in the AMRMFS may be used to remediate or complete reclamation of abandoned mines.
Q. Why was I sent multiple forms for the Gold and Silver Fee?
A. OMR mailed multiple forms to operators who did not respond to the initial notices. For the 2004 reporting year, three separate payments were required. The deadlines for these payments were:
|January - March 2004
||July 1, 2004|
|April - June 2004
||October 1, 2004|
|July - December 2004
||July 1, 2005|
For the 2005 reporting year, a single payment will be required and due on July 1, 2006 (i.e., at the same time as the Annual Reporting Fee).
Q. Should I save the form and use it to send in the next payment on October 1, 2004?
A. No, the Gold and Silver Fee for the 2005 reporting year will be part of the 2005 Annual Reports.
Q. It says on the form, "Payment is due on or before July 1, 2005." Is it okay if my payment is postmarked by that date?
A. Both the form and the payment must be received by this office on or before July 1, 2005.
Q. Is this change effective this year?
A. Yes, all the changes in statute took effect January 1, 2004.
Q. My lead agency has not visited my site to do an annual inspection. What can I do about that to avoid being removed from the 3098 List?
A. First, contact your lead agency and specifically request that a SMARA annual inspection is made so that you may remain on the 3098 List. If that does not work, contact the Office of Mine Reclamation immediately. OMR will contact the lead agency to determine why the inspection has not taken place and encourage that agency to inspect your site.
Q. Is the fee on gold and silver in addition to the annual reporting fees?
A. Yes. However, the fee on gold and silver will be reported and paid separately from the annual reporting fees. The department will notify producers of gold and silver to pay this fee on a separate reporting form. See the State Mining and Geology Board’s emergency regulations related to this and other fee-related changes at:
Q. Where can I get a copy of Senate Bill 649
A. You may view the chaptered version of Senate Bill 649 at the following website.
Q. How can I get a copy of the 3098 List?
A. A copy of the 3098 List may be viewed at the department’s website.
Q. What is mined material?
A. Any organic or inorganic material that is extracted from the ground (other than oil, gas or steam). This includes surface and subsurface material. Examples of organic material may be shells, peat, and coal. Inorganic material may be sand, gravel, aggregate, precious metals or ore. Generally speaking, most mined materials are purchased and used in a raw form. However, notable exceptions to be aware of are products such as concrete, asphalt, Portland cement or aggregate mixes, which are also mined materials.
Q. Our contract requires the contractor to provide all materials for road repair. How can we tell if the materials are from a mine included on the 3098 List?
A. Look on the list for the contract company. The list will have the company name and mine site. If the contract company is on the list, in most cases this means it is OK to contract with this company. Your contract may not specify a particular mining operation that the material is coming from, so it may be necessary to ask the contractor to specify this information.
If your contractor indicates that the supplier of material from a source within California is not on the 3098 List, then advise the contractor that this operator is prohibited from providing material for your project. Refer the contractor to the 3098 List for alternatives.
Q. Do the restrictions apply to materials purchased from mining operations outside of the state of California?
A. No. Examples include materials originating from Arizona, Nevada, Mexico or Canada.
Q. We have an existing contract with a company that is has been removed from this list. What should we do?
A. Advise the contractor that it is prohibited from selling mined materials to your agency until it is once again on the 3098 List. Notify the Office of Mine Reclamation of the situation. If your agency is Lead Agency for enforcement of the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA), advise the contractor that it must immediately come into compliance with SMARA so that it may once again be included on the List.