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(1) When a coal mining lease is applied for on land where mining operations have been carried on by a former lessee and there are surface or underground improvements on the land used at the former operations, disposition of the improvements satisfactory to the board shall be made before a new lease is issued. If the owner of such improvement desires to sell the same to the new lessee, then the new lessee shall pay him the reasonable value thereof to the extent they are suitable for the new mining operations. If they fail to agree on the value of such improvements, then such value may be ascertained and fixed by 3 arbitrators, one of whom shall be appointed by the owner of the improvements, one by the new lessee and the third by the 2 arbitrators so appointed.

(2) The reasonable compensation that the arbitrators may fix for their services shall be paid in equal shares by the owner of the improvements and the new lessee. The value of the improvements so ascertained and fixed is binding on both parties. However, if either party is dissatisfied with the valuation so fixed, he may within 10 days appeal from their decision to the department. The department shall examine the improvements and its decision shall be final. The department shall charge and collect the actual cost of the reexamination to the owner and the new lessee in such proportion as in its judgment justice demands.

(3) Before the new lease is issued, the applicant shall show to the satisfaction of the board that he has paid the owner for the improvements as agreed upon between them or as fixed by the aforesaid arbitrators or the department, that he has tendered payment as so fixed, or that the owner desires to remove his improvements.

History: 77-3-303, MCA; IMP, 77-3-303, MCA; NEW, 1979 MAR p. 734, Eff. 7/12/79; TRANS, 1996 MAR p. 2384.

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