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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 20-216



Bond Schedule for the Calculation of Bond Amounts on Noncoal Mining Operations

[50 Pa.B. 988]
[Saturday, February 15, 2020]

 The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) announces the bond schedule for noncoal mining operations. The authority for bonding noncoal mining operations is found under The Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. §§ 691.1—691.1001), the Noncoal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P.S. §§ 3301—3326) and the regulations promulgated thereunder at 25 Pa. Code Chapter 77, Subchapter D (relating to bonding and insurance requirements). The rates listed in this schedule will be used in calculating the bonds for surface noncoal mining operations including surface mines and facilities and the surface facilities of underground mining operations. Other activities, including special revegetation plans, wetland mitigation or stream channel restoration, will be estimated on a case-by-case basis.

 Under 25 Pa. Code § 77.202 (relating to determination of bond amount), the Department is providing notice of the bond schedule for bonding noncoal surface mine sites.

 The bond schedule reflects the requirement that the amount of bond shall be the estimated cost to the Department if it had to complete the reclamation, restoration and abatement work under the Noncoal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act. The rates will become effective upon publication and will remain in effect until they are revised through a subsequent notice.

 The bond rate schedules are available at For background information and supporting documentation regarding bonding rate schedules, contact the Bureau of Mining Programs, Division of Permitting and Compliance, P.O. Box 8461, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8461, (717) 787-5103.

General Methodology

 The basic approach to bonding large noncoal sites is to apply a flat per acre rate (to cover minor grading and revegetation) and supplement that with bond to account for spoil storage, backfilling, highwall blasting, demolition or other site-specific costs. For mine sites where consolidated material is mined below the water table, the reclamation bond calculation must account for reclamation slopes to a depth of 50 feet below the anticipated post-mining water level.

 For sites that can be mined in lateral phases, the operator can choose to bond the permit area by phase. The operator must identify the portion of the permit area on which mining and reclamation activities will occur within the phase. The Department will calculate the bond liability based on the maximum portion of the permitted area that the permittee is authorized to disturb at any specific time. This area is described in the permittee's mining and reclamation plans and must include all the land affected by mining activities that is not planted, growing and stabilized.

Per Acre Rates Applicable to Disturbed (Not Reclaimed) Area

 $3,500 per acre for mining area (this rate includes select grading and revegetation)

 $1,900 per acre for support areas (this rate includes revegetation)

Spoil Storage/Earthmoving

 The rate of $1.05 (cost per cubic yard) for grading applies to spoil stored or other additional earthmoving (for example, backfilling for contour mines, subsoil replacement where more than 12 inches of soil is needed to meet post-mining land use or topsoil placement).

Blasting to Achieve the Reclamation Slope

 The following rates apply to highwalls where blasting is necessary to achieve the final slope. Blaster's estimates may be used instead of these rates.

Table 1

Highwall/Bench Height
Cost per Linear Foot of
Up to 20
21 up to 30
31 up to 40
41 up to 50

Mine Sealing

 Mine sealing costs should be calculated using the Bond Rate Schedule in Table 2.

Table 2

Mine Sealing Bond Rate Schedule1

Sealing Underground Mine Drift and Slope Openings

Unit Operation Unit Measure Unit Costs ($)
Concrete Work Cubic Yard 114.00
Masonry Work Square Foot 16.50
Fill Material and Earthwork Cubic Yard 19.00
Security Fencing Lineal Foot 32.50
Mobilization Cost Job 4% of Total Amount

Sealing Underground Mine Shaft Openings

Unit Operation Unit Measure Unit Costs ($)
Concrete Material Cubic Yard 110.00
Aggregate Material Cubic Yard 32.50
Fill Material and Earthwork Cubic Yard 8.50
Security Fencing Lineal Foot 32.50
Mobilization Cost Job 4% of Total Amount

Sealing Boreholes at Underground Mines

Dimension Minimum Cost Per Hole ($) Unit Cost ($) Per Lineal Foot
12-Inch or Less Diameter 1,850 6.50
Larger Than 12-Inch Diameter 2,450 9.00
Mobilization Cost     Job 4% of Total Amount

1 Mine sealing costs are minimum costs. Additional costs per mine seal will be assessed based on specific design criteria, such as the thickness of the seal and the volume of backfill material required, using appropriate material, equipment and labor costs from BAMR bid abstracts or from an industry-standard cost estimation publication, for example, Means Estimating Handbook or Walker's Building Estimator's Reference Book.

Other Items

 A flat rate of $3,800 will be used for each pond requiring reclamation. This rate includes dewatering, grading, topsoil replacement and revegetation.

 Large equipment tires remaining at a site will be bonded at $300 per tire.

 Available cost information will be used in the event that a unit operation necessary to calculate a reclamation bond is not listed in the schedule. If enough data is not available, the rate will be set from a standard reference like Means Building Construction Cost Data or Walker's Building Estimator's Reference Book.

 Structure demolition costs for structures that are not compatible with the post-mining land use will be calculated using these references. Structures that have reasonable post-mining uses do not require bonding.


 Add 4% of the amount, up to $40,000, for mobilization costs.

Large Noncoal—Unconsolidated Material

 Mining of unconsolidated material includes sites where the mining is above and below groundwater. The cost of reclamation for these two types of mining include selective grading to achieve the reclamation slopes and the safety bench around the water impoundment to meet the requirements of 25 Pa. Code § 77.594 (relating to final slopes).

 The cost to grade the highwall to the approved reclamation slope above the groundwater table will be calculated based on the area of the highwall (determined by the length of highwall to be reclaimed multiplied by the horizontal width of the reclamation slope) to be reclaimed and the height of the highwall. The Department will use the following rates for bonding permits mining unconsolidated material:

 $1,700 per acre for mining up to 35 feet

 $2,400 per acre for 36 to 65 feet

 $5,000 per acre over 65 feet

 The cost to establish the safety bench on water impoundments will be calculated based on the area around the perimeter of the impoundment multiplied by the width of the safety bench. The Department will use $1,700 per acre for bonding the safety bench.

 The Department will use the Bond Rate Schedule for spoil, storage and earthmoving (cost per cubic yard) for sites that will use unmarketable material to achieve the reclamation contours on unconsolidated material mine sites.

Small Noncoal Sites

 For small noncoal sites that comply with 25 Pa. Code § 77.108(e)(4) (relating to permit for small noncoal operations) and the permit is 1 acre or less, the bond amount is $1,500 per acre and an additional $2,500 for mobilization/demobilization.

 For small noncoal sites that comply with 25 Pa. Code § 77.108(e)(4) and the permit is over 1 acre, the following rates apply:

 $1,830 per acre for support

 $3,000 per acre for mining up to 35 feet

 $4,000 per acre for 36 to 65 feet

 $5,000 per acre over 65 feet

Small Noncoal—Consolidated Material

 The Department will use the following rates for bonding permits mining consolidated material that need to exceed the 1-acre limit imposed by 25 Pa. Code § 77.108(e)(4). These are the rates that also apply to the General Permit for Bluestone (GP-105).

 $1,830 per acre for support

 $3,000 per acre for mining up to 35 feet

 $4,000 per acre for 36 to 65 feet

 $5,000 per acre over 65 feet

 Additional $2,500 for mobilization/demobilization

Small Noncoal—Unconsolidated Material

 A flat rate of $3,500 per acre should be used for small sand and gravel pits that exceed the 1-acre limitation of 25 Pa. Code § 77.108(e)(4).

Effective Date: February 15, 2020


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-216. Filed for public inspection February 14, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]

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