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Michigan Mining, Minerals, and Reclamation

Michigan has a long history of mining that goes back to prehistoric time. Recent updates to regulatory and revenue structures have improved the effectiveness and transparency of the state's approach to mining operations. The State of Michigan has prepared a multi-disciplinary mining guide to provide and introduction and overview of the processes required for mining exploration and permitting. This guide is available in the Mining Guidebook .

The Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals (OOGM) regulates several mining industries in Michigan, including metallic mining, sand dune mining, and coal mining. Solution mining for salt and potash and extraction of natural brine minerals are regulated by the OOGM under the Mineral Well program. There are also several other important mineral commodities such as gypsum, dimension stone, limestone, and aggregate that are mined in Michigan but are not regulated by the OOGM. These industries, although not requiring a mining permit from the OOGM, may be subject to federal, state, or local air, water, or land use permits.

animation of geologic maps relating to mining in Michigan

 Regulated mining operations are regularly inspected, and are required to meet reclamation standards to protect the environment as prescribed by statutes and promulgated rules. Reclamation is an important part of the mining process. Mining operators are required to pay an annual surveillance fee based on production. The fees support the administration and enforcement of the mining regulation requirements.

The mineral mining regulations administered by the OOGM are:

Part 625: Mineral Wells (for mineral exploration),
Part 631: Ferrous Mining
 (ferrous metallic minerals, iron mining),

Part 632: Nonferrous Mining (non-ferrous metallic minerals),
Part 635: Coal Mining (last active coal mine was in the1950s), and 
Part 637: Sand Dune Mining (within 2 miles of the Great Lakes)

Access to State Owned Land & Mineral Rights

Mineral rights on more than 1million of the Upper Peninsula's 7 million acres have been leased by companies prospecting for metals. The State of Michigan currently owns over 4.1million acres of surface and mineral rights and an additional 2.27 million acres of severed mineral rights. Use of state lands or mineral rights requires an application and approval by the Michigan Department of Natural Resource's Minerals Management Section. Leasing procedures, leases, and forms are available on the web at DNR - Mineral Lease Information Maps - SOM - State of Michigan

Environmental Stewardship

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality oversees the statutes and regulations that apply to mining activities, and convenes multi-disciplinary teams to address the unique requirements of each proposed mining project.

Most of Michigan's environmental regulations are contained in the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. Regulations address issues such as transportation, storage, treatment, and disposal of ore, waste rock, and other materials and plans for mining and reclamation that will minimize impacts of the proposed operation. Upon completion of mining, the mine site and associated lands must be reclaimed to achieve a

Self-sustaining ecosystem that does not require perpetual care. There are extensive opportunities for public input throughout the permitting process.

The Michigan Guide for Environmental, Health, and Safety Regulations consolidates Michigan's environmental and safety regulations into a multipurpose reference document for Michigan facilities. The document can be purchased at: DEQ - Guide to Environmental, Health, and Safety Regulations ...

Taxation and Revenue Structure

In general, mining operations and property in Michigan are subject to the same state and local taxes applicable to other commercial ventures. However, certain mining operations are subject to specific taxes levied on the minerals, mineral-bearing land from which the minerals are mined, and/or property related to the mining operation, in lieu of other state and local taxes.

In 2012, Michigan enacted specific legislation relating to the taxation of nonferrous metallic minerals extracted from the earth in Michigan. The Nonferrous Metallic Minerals Extraction Severance Tax Act levies a "severance" tax on taxpayers that extract minerals from the earth in Michigan or that beneficiate such minerals. In general, the minerals severance tax is levied at a rate of 2.75 percent of the "taxable mineral value" computed at the time of sale or transfer of a "taxable mineral."   In addition to providing targeted tax credits, this legislation also provides various tax exemptions relating to minerals, mineral mining-related property (and property involved in the beneficiation of minerals), and certain income derived from the minerals. For more information, please see the Mining Guidebook .


NONFERROUS METALLIC MINERALS

Regulated by Part 632, Nonferrous Mining, nonferrous minerals are important economic minerals such as copper, nickel, zinc, gold, and silver. Some of these metals are very important globally for manufacturing, including production of green technologies such as electric vehicles and emission control catalysts. Part 632 provides a sound regulatory framework for construction, operation, and reclamation of mining operations required for the safe and environmentally sustainable extraction of these metallic minerals. The nonferrous metallic mining industry is also regulated by other environmental statutes and divisions within the Department of Environmental Quality such as Air Quality Division and Water Resources Division.

 

ICC Mining Guidebook 
Typical Metallic Mining Exploration Flowchart
Mine Permit Application Review Time Line

Nonferrous Metallic Minerals Related Maps:

Issued Part 632 Permits:

OOGM Copperwood Mine

OOGM Eagle Mine - Lundin Eagle mine
(2013 Annual Report)

OOGM Humboldt Mill - Lundin Humboldt Mill


Future Possible Part 632 Projects:
OOGM Back Forty Project - Aquila Resources Back Forty Project  
Highland Copper Company


IRON (Ferrous Metallic Minerals)

Regulated by Part 631, Ferrous Mining, ferrous or iron containing minerals are used in common manufactured products. Michigan’s iron bearing formations have long been sources of these important minerals. The OOGM administers Part 631, and oversees mine operation, environmental issues, and reclamation. Like nonferrous metallic mining, other divisions of the Department of Environmental Quality are involved in permitting and regulation of Michigan’s iron mining industry.

Iron (Ferrous Metallic Minerals) Related Maps:

Active Part 631 Projects:
Iron Mining - Cliffs Natural Resources

Future Possible Part 631 Projects:


NON-METALLIC MINERAL MINING

SAND DUNE MINING

Part 637,
Sand Dune Mining, is administered by the OOGM and is the principle regulation for sand dune mines within designated areas up to two miles inland from Great Lake shorelines.  Part 637 establishes requirements for permitting, reporting, and reclamation of sand dune mines. Additional information can be obtained on the web page Sand Dune Mining.


Related Sand Dune Mining Maps and information: Circular 18 & Dune Sand Protection Information.


COAL MINING

Part 635, Surface & Underground Coal Mine Reclamation, regulates the coal mining industry.  Coal Mining began in Michigan in the 1800s but the last active mines closed in the 1950s. There has been no economic interest in Michigan coal for many decades; however, the OOGM provides available information related to old coal mines when legacy issues arise, typically construction projects near old mine shafts.

Related Coal Mining Maps and Information: Coal Mine Statewide Map & Michigan's Coal Report.

Additional Information about Non-Metallic Mineral Mining in Michigan.


SOLUTION MINING, BRINE EXTRACTION, AND EXPLORATION TEST HOLES 

Part 625, Mineral Wells, is the regulation for solution mining, brine wells, and exploration test holes and is administered by the OOGM. Part 625 governs well location, drilling, operation, plugging, and restoration. Mineral resources such as salt, potash, and natural mineral brines are important to many Michigan Industries including the chemical, pharmaceutical, and agricultural industries. In addition, exploration test holes conducted by mining companies are also regulated under the Mineral Well authority. To learn more visit the Mineral Wells web page. 

Solution Mining and Exploration Test Holes Maps and Related Information:


NON-METALLIC MINERAL RESOURCES 

Michigan has abundant non-regulated non-metallic mineral resources about which the OOGM has information. These important economic resources include: limestone; dolomite; shale and clay; sandstone; aggregate; and dimension stone provide the raw materials for many building and manufacturing industries. Extraction of these resources may involve other branches of the Department of Environmental Quality and/or local government. As mentioned above exploration test holes may be regulated by OOGM under Part 625, Mineral Wells.

Non-regulated Non-metallic Mineral Maps and Resources: Locations and descriptions of dimension, building and or landscaping materials: Dimension Stone Feasibility Study


MINERAL EXPLORATION TEST HOLES

In areas of Michigan where Precambrian rock directly underlies the glacial drift permits to drill test holes for mineral exploration are not required, although all other provisions of Part 625 regarding environmental protection and record submittal must be complies with. 

For test holes drilled in those parts of Michigan where the bedrock directly beneath the glacial drift is not Precambrian, the following links will take you to the sections of Part 625 pertaining to permit applications.

Mineral Well 2004 Rules
Mineral Well Information Page


MICHIGAN MINERAL COMMODITIES

There have been a wide range of natural resources produced in the state. This include:

Copper, Western Upper Peninsula Map
Iron, Western Upper Peninsula Map

Gold, Western Upper Peninsula Map
Nickel/Platinum Group Elements, Western Upper Peninsula Map
Kimberlite, Western Upper Peninsula Map
Dimension Stone, Upper Peninsula Map
Coal, Statewide Map

Gypsum, Statewide Map
Limestone/Dolomite, Statewide Map
Potash/Salt, Statewide Map


GEOLOGIC MAPS

8.5 by 11 maps of various geologic themes an extensive set of out of print materials about Geology in Michigan:

Digital Geology Catalog
Mining in Michigan
Students and Teachers


EXPLORATION RESOURCES

This section provides additional resources related to exploration and geology for Michigan minerals.

GeoWebFace 

Make your own maps and get data using this rich collection of GIS tools and data.  The links are: Application - User Guide - Layers - More Information

Geological Repositories

Michigan has two core, cuttings, and sample repositories, one in Kalamazoo (MGRRE) and the other in Marquette/Gwinn.

Marquette Core Inventory 


USEFUL LINKS

Michigan Geological Survey 

USGS = United States Geological Survey which has information and data about mineral resources in Michigan, the other states, the US and other nations. Links that might be of interest include:

USGS Mineral Statistics and Information
USGS MI Mineral Information
USGS Mineral Resources On-Line Spatial Data
USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS National Map Database

Professional Organizations
 
ILSG = The Institute on Lake Superior Geology
MBGS = Michigan Basin Geological Society  
AIPG = American Institute of Professional Geologists Michigan Section

SME = Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration

For information about enacted or proposed legislation and regulations please go to: LEGISLATION and REGULATIONS.

For information about promulgated rules please go to: PROMULGATED RULES
.


RECREATIONAL GOLD PANNING LINKS   

The OOGM does not regulate panning for gold, but it is regulated by other branches of Michigan government.  The OOGM provides the following links for your assistance and information.

DNR Recreational Gold Panning and Sluicing on State Land
DEQ-Water Bureau requirements for gold panning
Gold Prospectors Association of America-Michigan Chapter


LEASING STATE LANDS & MINERAL RIGHTS

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages state land and minerals.  For more information on leasing state land: Michigan Department of Natural Resources Mineral Management Section.