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Mining

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Industry Specific Counseling

McNair has long represented a variety of clients in the metal and non-metal mining industries. By its nature, mining is strictly regulated by state and federal environmental, health and safety, and land use standards. With our footprint across many aspects of administrative and regulatory law, we offer experience in each of these areas.

Difficult Situations

Our abilities in defending mining companies before the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Review Commission for violations of mine safety standards is recognized as an important aspect of the service we provide our Clients. Typically, actions brought by MSHA involve failure to comply with hazard analysis and mining equipment safety standards and injuries to employees.

Example of our Services
McNair represented a mining operation responding to an employee death. On site quickly, our counsel to that Client was for a company-wide strategic and immediate response, which we assisted them with. Consequently, no enforcement was initiated by MSHA.

Permits - the Mining Industry Quagmire

Mining operations always trigger significant environmental and land use concerns. We advise and guide our mine operator Clients through the bureaucratic complexities of mine permits and associated environmental requirements, including the following:

  • Air Emissions Permitting - application and research into permit flexibility available for non-metal and metal mining companies, including creative modeling of air emissions as part of new source review.
  • Water Permitting - mine drainage, storm water, and vehicle wash waters often combine at mining operations (metal and non-metal) to discharge into tributaries or receiving streams and are subject to significant effluent limitation guidelines issued by state and federal agencies; McNair has the experience and knowledge needed to deal with these water quality concerns.
  • Wetlands - the 404 permitting process can be complicated where wetlands may be impacted by mining operations. McNair lawyers have experience negotiating with the Corps of Engineers and state agencies (401 Water Quality Certification) involving the permit and associated compensatory mitigation process.
  • Solid Waste - Many metal and non-metal mine operations generate non-hazardous solid waste, and the disposal of those materials may require landfill permits. McNair lawyers know the siting criteria and design, permitting, and maintenance requirements for landfill permits triggered for the mining industry.

Land Use Ordinances

The mining industry is restrained by local land use ordinances and must navigate the complicated streams of local government to obtain appropriate variances. McNair lawyers have experience working with and obtaining variances to local ordinances.

Example of our Services
In 2009, McNair was instrumental in resolving local land use ordinance issues associated with the location of one of the largest gold mines in the United States. The process involved resolution of excursions to the minor source baseline increment and national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), negotiation of compensatory mitigation for stream location and 185 acres of wetlands fill, road closures, explosives permit, noise controls, and traffic restrictions. All necessary variances to local ordinances were successfully obtained insuring the ongoing business operations of our Client.