(1) The department shall require submission of bond in the amount of the estimated cost to the department if it had to perform the reclamation, contingency procedures and associated monitoring activities required of an operator subject to bonding requirements under the Act, the rules adopted thereunder, and the permit, license or exclusion. This amount is based on the estimated cost to the state to ensure compliance with Title 75, chapters 2 and 5, MCA, the Act, the rules adopted thereunder, and the approved permit, license or any exclusion and shall include:
(a) costs estimated by using current machinery production handbooks and publications or other documented costs acceptable to the department;
(b) the additional estimated costs to the department which may arise from additional design work, applicable public contracting requirements or the need to bring personnel and equipment to the operating area after its abandonment by the operator;
(c) an additional amount based on factors of cost changes during the preceding five years for the types of activities associated with the reclamation to be performed; and
(d) the additional estimated cost to the department which may arise from management, operation, and maintenance of the site upon temporary or permanent operator insolvency or abandonment, until full bond liquidation can be effected.
(2) The total bond amount calculated by the department must be in place and accepted by the department prior to issuance of the permit, license, or exclusion unless:
(a) the applicable plan identifies phases or increments of disturbance which may be individually identified and for which individual, incremental bonds may be calculated. The plan must provide for bonding increments to be submitted with the annual report and must expressly state that the operator, licensee or small miner may not proceed to the next phase or increment until the bond is in place and has been approved in writing by the department; or
(b) mining will proceed through a progression of contiguous pits and the plan provides for concurrent backfill. In this case, the bond must include the amount necessary to backfill the largest volume pit.
(3) An incremental bond proposal must not be accepted if the operator has received a bonding noncompliance, notice of violation for exceeding the small miner or other acreage limitations, or a notice of violation for conducting activities outside the bonded operating area. This prohibition does not apply if the violation is vacated or if a court rules that a violation did not occur.
(4) Unless the provisions of the bond provide otherwise, the line items in the bond calculations are estimates only and are not limits on spending of any part of the bond to complete any particular task subsequent to forfeiture of the bond or settlement in the context of bond forfeiture proceedings.
(5) An operator may submit bond higher than the amount required by the department. The extra amount remains unobligated to any disturbance until applied against disturbances which result from additional activities approved under an operating permit, license, or exclusion.
(6) Bond released from completed activities may not be applied to subsequent activities or increments until the department has inspected the site, provided public notice and opportunity for comment on the release, and approved the request for release in compliance with 82-4-338 , MCA.