Department of Environmental Conservation

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Protecting And Reclaiming Mined Land

Society needs minerals, but we live in a fragile environment that must be protected. Protection of New York's environment during development, operation and closure of mines is important to the state's economy, as well as to the future usability of natural resources like land, air and water.

The state Mined Land Reclamation Law requires that sound environmental principles be applied to return areas affected by minerals development to a condition that allows productive use of the land. Roughly 4,800 mines have been permitted since 1975, of which approximately 2,400 are currently active. Some 2,200 mines have been reclaimed, and the land is now being used for other purposes.

DEC issues all Mined Land Reclamation permits in accordance with the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Act. The goal of each permit is maximum mitigation of the environmental impacts of resource extraction.

Protecting Land, Air and Water from Impacts of Mining

Mined Land Reclamation permits and DEC oversight of mining operations and closure minimize impacts of mining on land by:

  • Preventing improper disposal of mining wastes
  • Requiring erosion and sediment control
  • Ensuring that land impacted by mining is properly reclaimed and returned to productive use

Some reclaimed mines have been donated to communities for parks or nature preserves. DEC enforces dust control, blasting and truck traffic restrictions in and around mines. Mined Land Reclamation staff are highly trained and qualified geologists and other professionals.

More about Protecting And Reclaiming Mined Land :

  • Reclamation - All mines must be reclaimed by the end of their productive life. The Department holds significant financial security to ensure reclamation occurs.
  • Mined Land Reclamation In New York State - This page links to a presentation describing the process and benefits of reclaiming exhausted mines. Flash Player 7 or higher is required to view the presentation