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2017 Summary & Trends - Mined Land Reclamation

Division of Mineral Resources Annual Report

The New York State Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources 2017 Annual Report (PDF) (4.67 MB) provides an overview of the mining industry and mined land reclamation in NY, including mine types and permits, geographic occurrence, owner types, trends, acreage statistics, reclamation, financial security, and enforcement. It also provides an overview of the oil and gas industry in NY, including permits and completions, production, state land leasing, underground gas storage, solution mining, and well plugging activities.

2017 Mineral Fact Sheets (PDF) (2.32 MB) - a set of colorful fact sheets on New York's major mined commodities; suitable for classroom use.

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." The U.S. Geological Survey estimated the annual value of New York's mineral production in 2013 at $1.39 billion. The estimated economic impact from mining in New York in 2011 (the most recent year for which this data is available) is $4.98 billion.

Production of the state's major mined commodities remains relatively constant from year to year. In 2012/2013, New York ranked seventeenth nationally in terms of the value of overall nonfuel mineral production. Nationally, New York ranked first in industrial garnet production and third in salt. Salt was the leading mineral commodity based on production value, followed by crushed stone and construction sand and gravel. New York remains the sole domestic producer of wollastonite. New York is also a significant producer of masonry cement and portland cement.

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 $4.18 million in regulatory program fees in 2017, which is lower than the amount assessed in 2016.

Types of Mines and Mineral Usage

The most common mine types in 2017 were sand and gravel (1,503), bluestone (93), and limestone (84). In 2017, New York had 1,872 active mines, a decrease of 36 mines from 2016. The 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 nearly 80% of DEC-regulated mines. Fifteen of the new mining permits issued in 2017, or 71%, were for sand and gravel.

There were 322 hardrock mines producing material ranging from bluestone, limestone, sandstone, shale and salt, to less common products such as wollastonite and zinc. Most of New York's hardrock mines are surface quarries, but there are several permitted underground mines.

The Mineral Information Institute reports that "every American born will consume 3.188 million pounds of minerals, metals and fuels in his or her lifetime." In other words, minerals, metals and fuels are critical to the existence and prosperity of everyone in the United States. In addition to recycled materials, nearly 40,641 pounds of new minerals must be provided every year for the things that every person in the United States uses.

Permitting and Reclamation Statistics

The number of permitted mines has declined for 19 consecutive years. Mine operators continued to replace production by expanding current mines, rather than opening new ones. This trend held true for sand and gravel mines, but a more significant drop was observed in permitted hardrock quarries. Only 21 of the Mined Land Reclamation Permits issued in 2017 were for new facilities.

A total of 48,768 acres were affected by mining in 2017 out of a total approved life-of-mine area of 128,171 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 599 acres reclaimed at 86 operating mines in 2017. Final reclamation of 357 acres occurred at 50 closed mines bringing the 2017 total to 956 acres. Roughly 37,560 acres of land affected by mining have been reclaimed since 1975.

In 2017, DMN held $291.9 million in financial security to guarantee mine site reclamation.

Inspections

In 2017, Mined Land staff performed 1,965 mine inspections and traveled 124,687 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.