Silica Sand Rulemaking - Reclamation

NOTICE as of June 2019: We have closed this rulemaking case. The DNR had not yet formally proposed rules. By Minnesota Laws 2019, 1st Special Session, Chapter 4, Article 3, Section 108, the legislature replaced the rulemaking authority with a requirement that the DNR develop a model ordinance. The DNR intends to use material from the rule development efforts for that new purpose.

DNR's role in rulemaking for the reclamation of silica sand mines

Status of Rulemaking

Silica sand mine

In 2013, the legislature directed the DNR to adopt rules pertaining to the reclamation of silica sand mines. The DNR used input gained from a nearly year-long advisory panel process to develop preliminary draft rules. Developing rules can take about two years. The process can take longer to accommodate higher levels of public participation. The DNR published preliminary draft rule for public feedback:

  • Revised Preliminary Draft Rule
    The DNR received written feedback on the Preliminary Draft Rules for Reclamation Version 5_13_2016 until June 15, 2016.
    Preliminary Draft Rules for Reclamation Version 5_13_2016
  • Next steps in the rulemaking process includes finishing drafting the Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) and publish the proposed draft of the rules for formal public comment which is scheduled for completion in the winter of 2017.

Previous iterations of preliminary draft rule language

Other Rulemakings

In addition to the DNR, MPCA and EQB are involved in implementing the 2013 legislation regarding silica sand mining, processing and transportation in Minnesota. All three state agencies are coordinating their silica sand rulemaking efforts.

Public input

The DNR strongly encourages and welcomes public input during the rulemaking process. In the July 22, 2013 edition of the state register, a notice was published requesting public comment for this rulemaking process. The ability for you to comment remains open. Feel free to contact the rulemaking coordinator in writing to submit your comments on silica sand mine reclamation.

Mine reclamation

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All stakeholders benefit from good mine planning and effective reclamation of mines sites. For the general public, reclamation ensures that post-mining land disturbances are minimized and the site is returned to a safe, sustaining, productive land use. For operators, good mine planning and reclamation promotes efficient mining practices and extraction of a resource. For the environment, good reclamation control dust emissions, prevents soil loss and erosion, and minimized the length and time disturbed lands are unreclaimed.


DNR experience


The Minnesota DNR oversees the reclamation of all metallic mining activities in the state. We have written rules for ferrous, nonferrous, and peat mineland reclamation. While silica sand reclamation will remain the purview of local units of governments, the DNR rules will set state standards for the reclamation of lands impacted by silica sand mining and encourage the utilization of land after the cessation of mining.

DNR mineland reclamation


More on silica sand rulemaking

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Silica Sand Rulemaking Advisory Panel (SSRAP)












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DNR Contact

Heather Arends
Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road, Box 45
St. Paul, MN 55155-4045
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 651-259-5376 or 888-646-6367