45-6C-3Definition of terms.

Terms used in this chapter mean:

(1)    "Affected land," the surface area, surface water, and groundwater disturbed by reason of the building of access roads or trails, leveling drill sites, storage areas, containment ponds, or other support facilities for the purpose of exploration, including the land affected by surface subsidence;

(2)    "Aquifer," a water bearing bed or stratum of permeable rock, sand, or gravel capable of yielding usable quantities of water to wells or springs;

(3)    "Board," the Board of Minerals and Environment;

(4)    "Bulk samples," the removal of not more than five thousand tons of mineralized material by means of a shaft, adit, or test open pit to determine the economic feasibility of conducting a mining operation;

(5)    "Department," the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources;

(6)    "Exploration operation," the act of searching for or investigating a mineral deposit, including sinking shafts, tunneling, drilling test holes, digging pits or cuts, or other works for the purpose of extracting samples, including bulk samples, prior to commencement of development or extraction operations, and test facilities to prove the commercial grade of a mineralized deposit. The term does not include those activities which cause very little or no surface disturbance, such as exploration by auger or drill of test holes of less than fifty feet in depth and less than seven inches in diameter for sand, limestone, gypsum, shale, or iron ore for use in the process of making cement or nonexplosive seismic energy sources, airborne surveys and photographs, augered bentonite or augered construction aggregate test holes of less than fifty feet in depth when accomplished in conformance with §§ 45-6C-28 and 45-6C-32, use of instruments or devices which are hand carried or otherwise transported over the surface to make magnetic, radioactive, or other tests and measurements, boundary or claim surveying, location work, annual assessment work required to maintain the validity of a mineral claim or any other work which causes no greater land disturbance than is caused by ordinary lawful use of the land by persons not exploring for mineral deposits;

(7)    "Mineral," any substance with economic value, whether organic or inorganic, that can be extracted from the earth, including oil and gas, but excluding uranium and water;

(8)    "Operator," any person, firm, partnership, limited liability company, association or corporation, or any department, division, or agency of federal, state, county, or municipal government engaged in or controlling a mineral exploration operation;

(9)    "Reclamation," the employment during and after an exploration operation of procedures reasonably designed to minimize the disruption from the exploration operation and to provide for the rehabilitation of plant cover, soil stability, water resources, or other measures appropriate to the subsequent beneficial use of such explored land;

(10)    "Test hole," a well, core hole, core test, observation well, or other well drilled from the surface to determine the presence of mineral, mineral resource, ore, coal, or rock unit, or to obtain geological or geophysical information or other subsurface data, including holes drilled for purposes of seismic survey, but excluding drilling in conjunction with mining or quarry operations and structural foundations and oil and gas wells regulated pursuant to chapter 45-9.

Source: SL 1982, ch 306, § 3; SL 1985, ch 341; SL 1990, ch 354, § 1; SL 1991, ch 17 (Ex. Ord. 91-4), § 17; SL 1994, ch 351, § 108; SL 2021, ch 1 (Ex. Ord. 21-3), § 53, eff. Apr. 19, 2021.