(1) A small miner who operates a placer or dredge mine shall post a $10,000 bond unless the department approves a lower amount based on the criteria below or unless it is documented that a bond for reclamation is posted with another government agency.
(a) Bond must be filed in the form of a surety, payable to the state of Montana or to the state and the appropriate federal agency, a cash deposit, an assignment of certificate of deposit, letter of credit, or other surety acceptable to the department.
(b) The bond must be accompanied by an appropriate map showing the location of the mine, anticipated disturbances, and perennial streams in the vicinity.
(c) A small miner placer or dredge mine operator that posted a bond with the department prior to May 15, 1997, for a mine is not required to post a bond in excess of $5,000 for that mine.
(2) The department shall reduce the required bonding amount if the small miner submits an operating plan documenting that the cost of reclamation to the department would be less than $10,000. The information needed to make such a determination includes the following:
(a) a description of the proposed mining operation and foreseeable expansion;
(b) a description of the mine support facilities;
(c) the type of equipment and capacity of the plant;
(d) an estimate of pit and pond sizes and volumes of all soil, overburden and placer gravel stockpiles;
(e) description of mining sequence and maximum acreage to be disturbed and unreclaimed at any one time at the mine being bonded;
(f) a description of any water diversions required by the operation;
(g) a topographic map locating mine pit, ponds, diversions, roads, process area, and stream drainages and materials storage sites. This map should include a reference to existing locatable monuments or landmarks on the ground, be one inch to 100 feet unless a different scale is approved by the department, and be based on fixed reference points so that all mapped information is interchangeable;
(h) the depth of soil, overburden and pay zones to be excavated;
(i) the average and maximum rate of pay gravel removal;
(j) the length and width of roads and average size of the plant area;
(k) any proposal to use suitable settling pond sediments as soil amendment if limited soil is available;
(l) a proposed permanent seed mixture and rate of application (lbs/ac) ;
(m) characterization of stream channel and riparian conditions for locations where disturbance is proposed;
(n) identification of the construction method and materials to be used to reclaim soils, overburden, gravel stockpiles, and other disturbances and to reestablish functioning streams and associated floodplains where stream channels have been disturbed;
(o) an erosion control plan which contains the appropriate elements from ARM 17.24.182;
(p) whenever applicable, a description of the status of 404 permits issued pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act and plans of operation required by federal land management agencies;
(q) status of 310 permit compliance, pursuant to 75-7-101 , MCA, et seq., and status of Montana pollution discharge elimination permit compliance pursuant to 75-5-401 , MCA, et seq.