Mined Land Reclamation - 2011 Executive Summary & Trends
Mineral Production, Market Value and Economic Impact
Mining occurs in every region of New York State except the New York City area, as shown on the map entitled "Mines in New York" (see link below). The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the annual value of New York's mineral production at $1.37 billion. The estimated economic impact from mining in New York in 2011 is $4.98 billion.
Production of the State's major mined commodities remains relatively constant from year to year. In 2011 New York ranked 16th nationally in terms of overall nonfuel mineral production. New York ranked second in industrial garnet production, third in salt, 6th in construction sand and gravel, common clays and dimension stone, and 14th in crushed stone. New York remains the sole domestic producer of wollastonite. New York is also a significant producer of masonry cement, portland cement, and peat.
The Center for Governmental Research, Inc. (CGR) document entitled "The Economic Impact of the New York State Mining and Construction Materials Industry, October 2011" prepared for the New York State Geological Survey/New York State Museum states that the majority of mining in New York is for construction materials used to build and maintain the State's infrastructure. The mined commodities, in addition to the hot mixed asphalt, ready mix concrete and cement industries, were responsible for generating $1.2 to $1.3 billion in wages and 28,000 to 30,000 jobs in New York State. CGR estimates the mining and construction materials industry contributes about $100 million in public sector revenues (sales tax, personal income tax, motor fuel tax, corporate franchise tax and Mined Land Reclamation Law fees). The Division assessed $4.22 million in regulatory fees in 2011, essentially unchanged from 2010.
Types of Mines and Mineral Usage
The most common mine types in 2011 were sand and gravel (1,666), limestone (87), and bluestone (79). In 2011, New York had 2,040 active mines, a decrease of 50 mines from 2010. The vast majority of these mines produced sand and gravel or other surficial deposits such as glacial till, clay or topsoil. Sand and gravel mines account for over 80% of DEC-regulated mines and 15 of the new mining permits issued in 2011, or 58%, were for sand and gravel.
There were 310 hardrock mines producing material ranging from bluestone, limestone, shale and salt, to less common products such as wollastonite. Most of New York's hardrock mines are surface quarries, but there are several permitted underground mines.
The Mineral Information Institute reports that each citizen of New York will consume 3.3 million pounds of minerals, metals and fuels in his or her lifetime. In addition to recycled materials, nearly 38,000 pounds of new minerals must be provided every year for the things that each person in the state uses.
Permitting and Reclamation Statistics
The number of permitted mines has declined for 13 consecutive years. Mine operators continued to replace production by expanding current mines, rather than opening new ones. This trend held true for both sand and gravel mines and hardrock quarries. Only 26 of the 394 mined land reclamation permits issued in 2011 were for new facilities.
A total of 46,650 acres were affected by mining in 2011 out of a total approved life-of-mine area of 123,875 acres. All affected acreage must be reclaimed at the conclusion of mining operations. Concurrent reclamation can be accomplished immediately upon completion of a portion or "phase" of a mine while mining occurs elsewhere within the life of mine area, or reclamation of the entire affected area can occur when mining has stopped, known as final reclamation. The Division of Mineral Resources continues to have success promoting concurrent reclamation with 569 acres reclaimed at 104 operating mines. Final reclamation of 660 acres occurred at 73 closed mines bringing the 2011 total to 1,229 acres. Roughly 33,628 acres of land affected by mining have been reclaimed since 1975.
In 2011 New York held $222.3 million in financial security to guarantee mine site reclamation.
In 2011 Mined Land staff performed 2,455 mine inspections and traveled 128,469 miles. Staff inspect mine sites:
- during permit application review;
- during operation for general compliance;
- to ensure that violations are remediated to ensure that reclamation meets requirements; and
- to investigate complaints.