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About the Division
Reclaimed mine lands

Overview

The mission of the Division of Mineral Resources Management is to provide for the safe and environmentally sound development and restoration of mineral and fossil fuel extraction sites. Diverse and comprehensive programs address the environmental and safety aspects of the coal and industrial minerals mining industries while maintaining high standards of regulatory effectiveness. The Division also restores abandoned mine land, enforces mining safety laws, and ensures the protection of citizens, land and water resources.

Program and support services include permitting, bonding, inspection, enforcement, mine safety rescue support and training, hydrology, soils, blasting, archaeology, engineering, design, information technology and administrative support.

Expertise is provided by an experienced staff of inspectors, geologists, environmental specialists, engineers, blasting specialists, soils scientists, hydrologists, archaeologists, and hydrogeologists.

Funding for programs comes from severance taxes on coal and industrial minerals; federal grants; general revenue funds; fees; fines; bonds and reimbursements.

Division Annual Report [pdf]

Programs

The Permitting, Hydrology and Bonding section reviews all permit applications to mine industrial minerals and coal; it verifies all bonding and surety requirements; and manages permit records, databases, and permit related information.

The Field Inspection and Enforcement program enforces the laws regulating active mining activities to ensure the protection of citizens and conservation of environmental resources; and oversees land reclamation requirements to assure operators restore mine lands and waters to productive uses.

The Abandoned Mine Land program eliminates health and safety hazards and cleans up lands and waters damaged by coal mining that occurred prior to today’s stricter reclamation laws; including reclamation of underground mine openings, dangerous highwalls, dangerous mine subsidence, and cleanup of hazardous and/or polluted water impoundments, acid mine drainage, burning coal refuse, and others.

The Mine Safety program promotes safe mining practices for the protection of miners through services that include inspections at surface and underground mines, focused on accident prevention; examination and certification testing; mine rescue support; and safety training.

Priorities

  • Strive to strike a balance between environmental conservation, protection of the public health and safety, and Ohio’s need for reliable, affordable energy and mineral resources.
  • Regulate coal and industrial minerals mining in every Ohio county.
  • Protect and conserve lands and waters by preventing negative mining impacts and requiring restoration as needed through enforcement.
  • Assist citizens and communities with restoration of lands and waters severely degraded by pre-law mining activities.
  • Respond to and investigate abandoned mine land emergencies and develop and implement construction plans to eliminate dangers. Support efforts to extinguish threats to the public or environment caused by mine emergencies.
  • Protect miners and prevent mining accidents through inspection, mine rescue support, safety training, and knowledge and skills testing.
  • Educate and inform Ohio’s citizens about the Division’s role in responsible development of mineral and energy resources, conservation of the environment and protection of the public interest.

History

Just as Ohio's involvement in the mineral industries has changed over the centuries, so has state government oversight of those industries.

The first regulation of coal mining in Ohio was to protect the coal miners. The Ohio General Assembly passed laws in the 1870s and 1880s that established a mine safety code, created the position of state mine safety inspector, and provided for mining engineering and practical mining training. The original Department of Inspection of Mines became the Division of Mines within the Industrial Commission in 1913 (which was later renamed the Department of Industrial Relations). 

The regulation of coal mining to protect adjacent landowners and the environment and require reclamation began in the 1940s. In 1949, the Ohio General Assembly created the Division of Reclamation within the Department of Agriculture, as well as the Reclamation Board of Review (now called the Reclamation Commission). The Division of Reclamation was transferred to ODNR in 1959.

In 1974, the Division of Reclamation began regulating industrial minerals (IM) mining when the first state law took effect requiring IM mining permits and reclamation. 

In 1995, the Division of Mines was transferred from the Dept. of Industrial Relations and combined with the Division of Reclamation to form the ODNR Division of Mines and Reclamation. In 2000, the Division of Mineral Resources Management was created by combining the Division of Oil and Gas with the Division of Mines and Reclamation. (The Division of Oil and Gas once again became a separate division within ODNR in 2011.)

Coal mining, industrial minerals mining, mine land reclamation, and mining safety remain the major program areas for the Division of Mineral Resources Management.