§ 880-X-10F-.03. Auger Mining: Additional Performance Standards
(1) Auger mining operations shall be conducted to maximize recoverability of mineral reserves. Each person who conducts auger mining operations shall leave areas of undisturbed coal to provide access for removal of those reserves by future underground mining activities, unless the State Regulatory Authority determines that the coal reserves have been depleted or are limited in thickness or extent to the point that it will not be practicable to recover the remaining coal reserves. The State Regulatory Authority shall make such determination only upon presentation of appropriate technical evidence by the operator.
(2) No auger hole shall be made closer than 500 feet in horizontal distance to any abandoned or active underground mine workings, except as approved in accordance with Rule 880-X-10C-.37.
(3) In order to minimize disturbances of surface and ground water, each auger hole, except as provided in Paragraph (4) of this Rule, shall be sealed within 72 hours with an impervious, non-combustible material if the holes are discharging water containing acid or toxic-forming material. If sealing is not possible within 72 hours, the discharge shall be treated commencing within 72 hours after completion to meet applicable effluent limitations and water quality standards until the holes are sealed. Auger holes shall be sealed with an impervious, non-combustible material, as contemporaneously as practicable with the augering operation, as approved by the Regulatory Authority, if the holes are not discharging water containing acid or toxic-forming material.
(4) An auger hole need not be sealed if the State Regulatory Authority finds --
(a) Impoundment of the water which would result from sealing the hole may create a hazard to the environment or public health or safety; and
(b) Drainage from the auger hole will not pose a threat of pollution to surface water and will comply with the requirements of Rules 880-X-10C-.12 - 880-X-10C-.13.
(5) The State Regulatory Authority may prohibit auger mining as necessary to:
(a) Protect against adverse water quality impacts;
(b) Maximize the utilization, recoverability or conservation of the solid fuel resources; or
(6) Subsidence protection. Auger mining shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of 880-X-10D-.58(1) and 880-X-10D-.58(3).
(7) Backfilling and grading.
(a) General. Auger mining shall be conducted in accordance with the backfilling and grading requirements of 880-X-10C.
(b) Remining. Where auger mining operations affect previously-mined areas that were not reclaimed to the standards of this chapter and the volume of all reasonably available spoil is demonstrated in writing to the Regulatory Authority to be insufficient to completely backfill the highwall, the highwall shall be eliminated to the maximum extent technically practical in accordance with the following criteria:
(1) The person who conducts the auger mining operation shall demonstrate to the Regulatory Authority that the backfill, designed by a qualified registered professional engineer, has a minimum static safety factor for the stability of the backfill of at least 1.3.
(2) All spoil generated by the auger mining operation and any associated surface coal mining and reclamation operation, and any other reasonably available spoil be used to backfill the area. Reasonably available spoil shall include spoil generated by the mining operation and other spoil located in the permit area that is accessible and available for use and that when rehandled will not cause a hazard to the public safety or significant damage to the environment. For this purpose, the permit area shall include spoil in the immediate vicinity of the auger mining operation.
(3) The coal seam mined shall be covered with a minimum of four (4) feet of nonacid-, nontoxic-forming material and the backfill graded to a slope which is compatible with the approved postmining land use and which provides adequate drainage and long-term stability.
(4) Any remnant of the highwall shall be stable and not pose a hazard to the public health and safety or to the environment.
(5) Spoil placed on the outslope during previous mining operations shall not be disturbed if such disturbances will cause instability of the remaining spoil or otherwise increase the hazard to the public health and safety or to the environment.
Author: Randall C. Johnson(Original Filed November 14, 1989; effective: March 7, 1991.)
Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, §§ 9-16-71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 80, 85, 90, 92.
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