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Bureau of Land Management
For Release: Thursday, June 14, 2001
Contacts:
Lawrence Finfer, (202) 208-6913
Robert M. Anderson, (202) 208-4201
TDD c/o Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS), (800) 877-8339
 

BLM To Retain Financial Guarantee Rule for Hardrock Mining
Change Allows More Time for Mining Operators To Comply

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will announce tomorrow that it is briefly extending the deadline for mining operators to meet financial guarantee requirements (i.e., bonding) for mining operations conducted under Federal surface management regulations, commonly called 3809 regulations. The BLM expects to retain the financial guarantee provisions in the 3809 regulations that became final in January.

Tomorrow's announcement affects only one provision of the BLM's surface management regulations (section 3809.505 of 43 CFR subpart 3809) on financial guarantees, also known as the bonding requirement. The amendment does not affect the requirement for operators to provide a financial guarantee. The BLM requires financial guarantees for all mining operations to ensure that mining operators pay the costs of reclaiming Federal land after the mining process is completed. The extension amounts to two or four months, depending on whether a mining operation has already provided a financial guarantee. Without this brief extension, the Federal Government, the States, and mining operations would be unable to take the steps necessary to achieve full compliance with the requirements.

"This will help the BLM more effectively administer the regulations and give mining operators additional time to comply with the rules," said BLM acting Director Nina Rose Hatfield. "It also emphasizes the Administration's commitment to protecting America's taxpayers from having to foot the bill for reclamation work."

The new rule affects mining operators who have plans of operation that were approved by the BLM before January 20, 2001, by extending the deadline for when those operators must meet the financial guarantee requirements. For operators who have already provided a financial guarantee, the deadline for meeting any new requirements changes from July 19, 2001, to November 20, 2001; for operators conducting operations who have not provided any financial guarantee, the deadline is September 13, 2001.

The BLM expects to complete the rulemaking process later this summer to address issues other than financial guarantees that were identified in its March 23, 2001 (66 FR 16162), notice of proposed rulemaking for surface management.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land 264 million surface acres than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, which has a workforce of about 9,000 employees, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the Nation. The BLM preserves open space by managing the public lands for multiple uses, including outdoor recreation, livestock grazing and mining, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on the public lands.