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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS Glossary ACQUIRED LANDS Lands in federal ownership which were obtained by the government through purchase, condemnation, of gift, of by exchange. They are one category of public lands (Bureau of Land Management, 1999b). ALLUVIUM Natural accumulations of unconsolidated clay, silt, sand, or gravel that have been transported by water, wind, or gravity to their present position. AQUIFER A body of rock that contains sufficient saturated permeable material to conduct groundwater and to yield significant quantities of water to wells and springs. BACKFILLING The filling in again of a place from which the rock or ore has been removed. BACKGROUND GEOCHEMISTRY The abundance of an element in a naturally occurring material in an area where the concentration is not anomalous. BASE METALS Those metals usually considered to be of lesser value and of greater chemical reactivity compared to the noble (or precious) metals, most commonly copper, lead, zinc and tin. BENEFICIATION Improvement of the grade of ores by milling, flotation, sintering, gravity concentration, or other processes. Also termed “concentration ”. CASUAL USE Mining activities that only negligibly disturb BLM lands and resources. Further discussion is found in Sidebar 1–3. CLAIM The portion of mining ground held under the Federal and local laws by one claimant or association, by virtue of one location and record. Also called a “location.” CLOSURE In this report the term refers to the point at which a company permanently stops activity (although it may still retain liabilities for unforeseen environmental or safety concerns). COMMON VARIETY MINERALS Mineral materials that do not have a special quality, quantity, character, or location that makes them of unique
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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS commercial value. On public lands such minerals are considered saleable and are disposed of by sales or by special permits to local governments. See also Sidebar 1–2. CONCENTRATION See “beneficiation.” It also refers to the amount of a material in a host (e.g., the amount of gold in a ton of ore.) CONSTRUCTION MINERALS (OR MATERIALS) Materials used in construction, notably sand, gravel, crushed stone, dimension stone, asbestos, clay, cement, and gypsum. COOPERATING AGENCY Any federal, state, or local agency or Indian tribe with jurisdiction by law or special expertise enabling it to cooperate with the lead agency preparing an environmental impact statement under NEPA. CORPORATE BONDING As used in this report, the use of corporate assets as part or all of the financial assurance for the successful completion of reclamation or other corporate responsibility. CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN Describes an area under BLM management and having special attributes. CULTURAL RESOURCES As used in this report, natural or manmade features having cultural or historical significance, such as structures, graves, religious sites, vistas, or bodies of water. CUMULATIVE IMPACT As used in this report, the collective impacts of several operations involving human activities, including mining, grazing, farming, timbering, water diversion or discharge, and industrial processing, also includes future impacts not immediately observable. DEVELOPMENT The preparation of a mining property so that an ore body can be analyzed and its tonnage and quality estimated. Development is an intermediate stage between exploration and mining. DISCOVERY As used in this report, initial recognition and demonstration of the presence of valuable mineral within a claim. DUMP A pile of ore, coal, or waste at a mine. EMERGENCY FUNDS (re: for low-probability, post-closure events) As used in this report, funds provided to deal with unexpected failures of reclamation on closed mining sites. EPHEMERAL STREAM A stream or reach of a stream that flows briefly only in direct response to precipitation in the immediate locality and whose channel is at all times above the water table. EXPLORATION As used in this report, the search for valuable minerals by geological, geochemical, geophysical, or intrusive physical examination. (See also “prospecting,” which in this report is considered part of exploration.) FEDERAL LAND MANAGEMENT AGENCIES In this report the term refers to the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service;
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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS management agencies not discussed here might include the National Park Service, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and others. FERROUS METALS Metals commonly occurring in alloys with iron, such as chromium, nickel, manganese, vanadium, molybdenum, cobalt, silicon, tantalum, and columbium (niobium). FINANCIAL ASSURANCE Funding or enforceable pledges of funding used to guarantee performance of regulatory obligations in the event of default on such obligations by the permittee. GOOD SAMARITAN ACTION An action taken for the benefit of part or all of the community at large rather than for that of the doer. In the context of this report, it usually refers to the correction of some prior detrimental environmental legacy as a convenience or as a public service, but without direct personal or institutional benefit. GROUNDWATER Underground water. HARDROCK Locatable minerals that are neither leasable minerals (oil, gas, coal, oil shale, phosphate, sodium, potassium, sulphur, asphalt, or gilsonite) nor saleable mineral materials (e.g., common variety sand and gravel). Hardrock minerals include, but are not limited to, copper, lead, zinc, magnesium, nickel, tungsten, gold, silver, bentonite, barite, feldspar, fluorspar, and uranium. (BLM, 1999b) Usually refers to rock types or mining environments where the rocks are hard and strong and where blasting is needed to break them for effective mining. As used in this report, the term hardrock minerals is defined synonomous with “locatable minerals.” HEAP LEACHING As used in this report, a process for recovery of minerals from heaps of crushed ore by percolation of a solvent (such as cyanide for gold, or ferric sulfate and sulfuric acid for copper) through the heap, followed by chemical processing of the lixiviant. LEACH PAD The surface upon which ore is piled for heap leaching, including those facilities to collect the lixivant for mineral recovery. LEASABLE MINERALS A legal term that identifies a mineral or mineral commodity that is leasable by the federal government under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 and similar legislation. Leasable minerals include oil, gas, sodium, potash, phosphate, coal, and all minerals on acquired lands. See Sidebar 1–1. LIXIVIANT A liquid medium that selectively extracts the desired metal from the ore or material to be leached rapidly and completely, and from which the desired metal can be recovered in a concentrated form. LOCATABLE MINERALS A legal term that identifies minerals acquired through the General Mining Law of 1872, as amended. Examples are given in Table A-1. Locatable minerals are distinguished from federally owned minerals that are disposed of by leasing (see leasable minerals). In some
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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS situations, the term “hardrock minerals” is applied to locatable minerals. See Sidebar 1–1. LOCATION See “claim.” Also, the process of claiming or appropriating a parcel of mineral land. LODE CLAIM Synonymous with “vein claim.” As used in this report, a claim based on the presumption that the valuable mineral is a part of a bed-rock lode, vein, stockwork, stratum, or intrusion and is not dominantly a physical redistribution of values by surficial processes (the latter constitutes a placer deposit). MINE An opening or excavation in the ground for the purpose of extracting minerals. MINERAL Several other common meanings, but the following is used in this report: Any natural resource extracted from the earth for human use; e.g., ores, salts, coal, or petroleum. MINERAL DEPOSIT A mineral occurrence of sufficient size and grade that it might, under favorable circumstances, be considered to have economic potential. MINERAL OCCURRENCE A concentration of mineral that is considered to be valuable or that is of technical or scientific interest. MINERAL SPECIES Term used in this report to distinguish specific mineralogical species from the unmodified term “mineral” as defined above. MULTIPLE USE A combination of balanced and diverse resource uses that takes into account the long-term needs of future generations for renewable and nonrenewable resources, including, but not limited to, recreation, range, timber, minerals, watershed, wildlife and fish, and natural scenic, scientific and historical values; and harmonious and coordinated management of the various resources without permanent impairment of the productivity of the land and the quality of the environment with consideration being given to the relative values of the resources and not necessarily to the combination of uses that will give the greatest economic return or the greatest unit output. [43 U.S.C. §1702 (c)]. NOTICE-LEVEL OPERATION A mining or exploration operation on BLM land involving more than casual use but requiring that the operator submit only a Notice rather than a plan of operations. It is limited to an area of disturbance of 5 or fewer acres. See Sidebar 1–3. OPERATIONS As used in this report, all activities and facilities involved in management, access, exploration, extraction, beneficiation, maintenance, or reclamation. ORE The naturally occurring material from which a mineral or minerals of economic value can be extracted profitably or to satisfy social or political objectives.
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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS OVERBURDEN Material of any nature, consolidated or unconsolidated, that overlies a deposit of useful minerals or ores. OXIDATION As used in this report, the reaction of ores or waste with oxygen (usually above the water table); in sulfide ores this results in the release of sulfuric acid that, in the absence of neutralization, mobilizes iron, copper, zinc, and other minerals. (See also redox.) PATENT Concerning the ownership of a mining claim: as a noun, A document that conveys title to the ground; or the process of securing a patent. PERFORMANCE-BASED STANDARDS standards expressed in terms of a desired result or outcome rather than a method, process, or technology. See also “Technically prescriptive standards.” PHREATOPHYTE A plant that obtains its water supply from the zone of saturation or through the capillary fringe and is characterized by a deep root system. PIT LAKE As used in this report, a lake that forms within the open pit of a mining operation. PLACER A mineral deposit that has achieved its present distribution through the prior action of moving water or wind. Placers are usually in poorly consolidated materials and are the sources of much, but not all, tin, titanium, rare earths, diamonds, and zirconium, and some gold. PLAN OF OPERATIONS A plan for mining exploration or development on BLM land involving more than 5 acres or a plan for mining where the operator with preexisting, valid claims intends to mine in an area of Critical Environmental Concern or a Wilderness area. See Sidebar 1–3. Also a plan required for mining or exploration on Forest Service lands whenever the Forest Service determines that the operation will result in “significant” disturbance of the land surface. POINT SOURCE DISCHARGE Discharge of pollutant from a discernible, confined and discrete conveyance, including but not limited to any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, or container. POST-CLOSURE As used in this report, referring to the time after a property formerly used for mining has been reclaimed. PRECIOUS METAL Any of several relatively scarce and valuable metals, such as gold, silver, and the platinum group metals. PROSPECTING The search for outcrops or surface exposures of mineral deposits. Searching for new deposits; also preliminary explorations to test the values of lodes or placers already known to exist. (See also “exploration”.) PUBLIC DOMAIN Land owned, controlled, or heretofore disposed of by the U.S. government.
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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS PUBLIC LAND The part of the U.S. public domain to which title is still vested in the federal government and that is subject to appropriation, sale, or disposal under the general laws. RECLAMATION Restoration of mined land to original contour, use, or condition. But as used in this report, also describes the return of land to alternative uses that may, under certain circumstances, be different from those prior to mining. RECORD OF DECISION Under NEPA, a concise public record that states what an agency's decision was, identifies all alternatives considered by the agency and the factors considered by the agency, and states whether all practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm from the alternative selected have been adopted or if not, why not. REDOX Adjective identifying chemical reactions involving oxidation (and reduction). RESERVED LANDS Federal lands which are dedicated to or set aside for a specific purpose or program and which are, therefore, generally not subject to disposition under the operation of all of the public land laws. RESERVE The quantity of mineral demonstrated to be present and known to be economically producible. SALEABLE MINERALS A legal term that defines mineral commodities that are sold by contract from the Federal Government. These are generally construction materials and aggregates. See Sidebar 1–1. SEDIMENTARY A rock composed of sediments, or ores formed during a process of sedimentation. SUCTION DREDGE A dredge in which the material is lifted by pumping through a suction pipe. TAILINGS As used in this report, the waste from mineral beneficiation. They are usually regarded as liabilities, but under some circumstances they may be reprocessed to recover additional values. TECHNICALLY PRESCRIPTIVE STANDARDS As used in this report: standards expressed in terms of the techniques to be applied. See also “Performance-based standards.” UNCOMMON VARIETY MINERALS Mineral materials that have a special quality, quantity, character, or location that makes them of unique commercial value. On public lands such minerals are locatable under the Mining Law of 1872, as amended. See Sidebar 1–2. UNNECESSARY OR UNDUE A surface disturbance greater than what would normally result when an activity is being accomplished by a prudent operator in usual, customary, and proficient operations of similar character and taking into consideration the effects of operations on other resources and land uses, including those resources and uses outside the area of operations. Failure to initiate and complete reasonable mitigation measures,
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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS including reclamation of disturbed areas or creation of a nuisance, may constitute unnecessary or undue degradation. Failure to comply with applicable environmental protection statutes and regulations thereunder will constitute unnecessary or undue degradation. Where specific statutory authority requires the attainment of a stated level of protection or reclamation, such as in the California Desert Conservation Area, Wild and Scenic Rivers, areas designated as part of the National Wilderness System administered by the Bureau of Land Management and other such areas, that level of protection shall be met. WASTE The part of an ore deposit that is too low grade to be of economic value at the time of mining, but which may be stored separately for possible treatment later. WATER TABLE As used in this report, the surface separating the zone is water-saturated from the zone containing air that is freely connected to the atmosphere. WEATHERING As used in this report, the process of decomposition of rocks or ores through the action of air and water. WITHDRAWAL Segregation of particular lands from the operation of specified public land laws, making those laws (including the mineral location and leasing laws) inapplicable to the withdrawn lands. YEAR EVENT The probabilistic frequency for an event of a given magnitude (e.g., a 1000-year flood). 228 AUTHORITY U.S. Forest Service regulations found at 36 CFR Part 228. 261 AUTHORITY U.S. Forest Service regulations found at 36 CFR Part 261. 3809 REGULATIONS Bureau of Land Management regulations found at 43 CFR Subpart 3809.
Representative terms from entire chapter: