MINES AND MINING
MINERAL RIGHTS IN STATE LANDS
47-703A. Exploration on state lands — Bond. (1) With the exception of casual exploration as defined in subsection (6)(a) of this section, prior to motorized exploration on state lands, an operator shall first submit to the director of the department of lands, an exploration and reclamation plan and a bond in such form as prescribed by the board. The bond shall be in an amount determined by the board to be the estimated reasonable costs to perform the reclamation activities described in the exploration and reclamation plan in the event of the failure of the operator to complete those activities, plus ten percent (10%) of such costs, and conditioned on the payment of all damages to the land and resources thereon caused by the motorized exploration. An operator shall also comply with the dredge and placer mining act, chapter 13, title 47, Idaho Code, and the surface mining act, chapter 15, title 47, Idaho Code, where applicable. Written approval by the board is required prior to entry for motorized exploration.
(2) Except as provided in this subsection, no bond for exploration reclamation submitted pursuant to this chapter shall exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) for any given acre of affected land. The board may require a bond in excess of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) for any given acre of affected land only when the following conditions have been met:
(a) The board has determined that such bond is necessary to meet the requirements of this chapter;
(b) The board has delivered to the operator, in writing, a notice setting forth the reasons it believes such bond is necessary; and
(c) The board has conducted a hearing where the operator is allowed to give testimony to the board concerning the amount of the proposed bond. The hearing shall be held under such rules as promulgated by the board. This requirement for hearing may be waived, in writing, by the operator. Any hearing that is held shall, at the discretion of the director, extend the time up to thirty (30) days in which the board must act on a submitted plan.
(3) Weather permitting, the board shall deliver to the operator within sixty (60) days after the receipt of any exploration and reclamation plan a notice of rejection or notice of approval of said plan, as the case may be; provided, however, that if the board fails to deliver a notice of approval or notice of rejection within said time period, the plan submitted shall be deemed approved under subsection (1) of this section, and the operator may, upon furnishing a bond to the board that meets the requirements of subsection (1) of this section, commence and conduct his motorized exploration on the lands covered by such plan as if a notice of approval of said plan had been received from the board; provided, however, that if weather conditions prevent the board from inspecting the lands to obtain information needed to approve or reject a submitted plan, it may, in writing to the operator, extend the time not to exceed thirty (30) days after weather conditions permit such inspection. Any notice of rejection issued by the director of the department of lands or his properly authorized designated officer may be appealed by the operator to the board.
(4) The operator shall reclaim the surface damaged by the motorized exploration to the approximate previous contour and condition insofar as is reasonably possible.
(5) When all reclamation activities described in the exploration and reclamation plan have been completed, the operator shall notify the board. Within thirty (30) days after the receipt of such notice, weather permitting, the board shall notify the operator as to whether or not the reclamation activities have been satisfactorily completed. Upon the determination by the board that the reclamation activities in question have been satisfactorily completed, the board shall release the bond. If weather conditions prevent the board from obtaining information needed to determine if the reclamation activities have been satisfactorily completed, it may, in writing to the operator, extend the time not to exceed thirty (30) days after weather conditions permit such inspection. Any notice issued by the director of the department of lands or his properly authorized designated officer to not release the bond may be appealed by the operator to the board.
(6) The following definitions shall apply to this chapter:
(a) "Casual exploration" means entry and/or exploration which does not appreciably disturb or damage the land or resources thereon. Casual exploration includes, but is not limited to, geochemical and/or geophysical exploration techniques, sampling with hand tools, and entry using wheeled vehicles for transportation to conduct such exploration. Exploration using suction dredges having an intake diameter of two (2) inches or less shall be considered casual exploration when operated on endowment lands in a perennial stream. Exploration using suction dredges having an intake diameter of five (5) inches or less shall be considered casual exploration when operated in a navigable river. All suction dredging on state lands must follow the requirements of the stream protection act, chapter 38, title 42, Idaho Code.
(b) "Motorized exploration" means exploration which may appreciably disturb or damage the land or resources thereon. Motorized exploration includes, but is not limited to, drilling, trenching, dredging, or other techniques which employ the use of earth moving or other motorized equipment, seismic operations using explosives, and sampling with suction dredges having an intake diameter greater than two (2) inches when operated on endowment land in a perennial stream, and sampling with suction dredges having an intake diameter greater than five (5) inches when operated in a navigable river. When operated in an intermittent stream, suction dredges shall be considered motorized exploration regardless of the intake size.
(c) "Exploration and reclamation plan" means, for this section only, a written plan and maps with sufficient detail to accurately describe all of the activities associated with motorized exploration on state lands and the activities associated with reclamation. Reclamation activities may include, but are not limited to, regrading to resemble the original contour, plugging drill holes and revegetation. An estimate of third party reclamation costs, acceptable to the board, shall be included in the plan and will be used to determine the bond amount.
[47-703A, added 1981, ch. 325, sec. 4, p. 679; am. 1990, ch. 317, sec. 1, p. 865; am. 2014, ch. 57, sec. 1, p. 135.]