Permitting and Regulations
Gravel resources, even on NANA land, cannot be used without specific permits and plans in place. Some sites require minimal plans and/or permits, while others require extensive permitting with many conditions. All users, including individuals mining gravel for personal use, are responsible for obtaining and complying with the permits and plans.
In order to obtain gravel from any gravel site on NANA land, you must contact NRC’s Gravel Point of Contact to make sure you are allowed to mine gravel from the site. Just because another party is mining material, it does not necessarily mean other parties can mine material. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR) Office of Project Management & Permitting (OPMP) is the best place to start for assistance with site permitting. Refer to NRC’s Material Site Permitting and Plan Checklist for a summary of typical permits and plans required for gravel sites.
These two state agencies are involved in almost all gravel operations:
- Alaska Department of Natural Resources (AK-DNR) Material sites on NANA land must be safely and properly developed and reclaimed (stabilized in an environmentally friendly way). You must prepare and follow a Mining and Reclamation (M&R) Plan.
- M&R Plans must be reviewed and approved by NANA, regardless of material site size.
- M&R Plans for material sites greater than 5 acres must also be submitted to ADNR. If approved, ADNR will issue an Approval Letter. You will need to submit a copy of this letter to NANA.
- Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (AK-DEC) One or more permits may be required before you can mine sand/gravel. Contact ADEC to find out which permits, if any, are required. Many permits require monitoring and reporting, so you will need to budget for these tasks.
NRC may be able to assist you with permitting questions, but it is the responsibility of the Village Site Manager or Contractor to apply for and comply with all elements of the permit, and pay the permitting fees.
Many gravel projects also involve federal agencies, such as the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and local agencies like the Northwest Arctic Borough. Below is a list of the most common permits for gravel mining, but other permits may be required.
Mining & Reclamation (M&R) Plan: No material may be mined without an approved M&R Plan. Some plans require approval by the ADNR, but all mining plans must be approved by NRC. The M&R Plan ensures the efficient use of sand and gravel, site safety, and that the site is stable when mining is complete. An M&R Plan template is provided in the Useful Links section.
Storm Water Permits: This permit is required to mine anywhere that sediment or erosion could reach wetlands, lakes, streams, etc. The ADEC Water Quality Division determines if the permit is required.
Dewatering Permits: Sometimes a mined pit fills with water, and must be pumped dry. At a minimum, you must prepare a written dewatering plan to show how you will control erosion and protect wetlands and water from sediment. Sometimes, you must obtain a dewatering permit from the ADEC Water Quality Division.
Blasting Permits: If you need to use explosives to obtain gravel or extend the pit into rocky areas, you may need to obtain the following permits:
- Blasting Safety Plan – Contact Mining Health & Safety Administration
- Explosives License or Permit – Contact Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF)
Crushing Permits: If you need to crush rock to make sand and gravel, you may need to obtain a MG9 Rock Crusher Minor General Permit.
Title 9 Permit Application: The Northwest Arctic Borough requires a Title 9 permit for gravel sites within the Borough. Contact the Northwest Arctic Borough Planning Department for more information on Title 9 permits.