Local governments have primary responsibility for regulating nonmetallic mines, but the DNR provides oversight for local reclamation programs and ensures that quarries, gravel pits and other operations meet state reclamation requirements. Nonmetallic mining operations must also get DNR water permits, and some need air permits.
Metallic mining involves the extraction of minerals bearing metals such as iron, copper, gold, lead, silver and zinc. For ferrous (iron) and other metallic mining, the DNR is the state agency with primary responsibility for regulating environmental aspects of mining. Metallic mining operations may include an open pit or underground mine built to extract metal-bearing minerals. Proposed projects undergo comprehensive review to determine whether they will comply with state laws and rules.