(1) This subchapter applies to opencut operations as provided in the Opencut Mining Act (Title 82, chapter 4, part 4, MCA, hereinafter referred to as "the Act").
(2) An operator conducting opencut operations must comply with the provisions of a contract or permit issued under the Act and this subchapter. Except as provided in (5), a permit is required before an operator commences the following:
(a) an opencut operation that results in the removal of more than 10,000 cubic yards of materials and overburden;
(b) more than one opencut operation where each operation results in the removal of less than 10,000 cubic yards of materials and overburden, but the several operations result in the removal of a total of 10,000 cubic yards or more of materials and overburden; or
(c) an opencut operation where overburden and materials are removed from a previously mined site and the amount mined, combined with the amount of previously removed materials and overburden, exceeds 10,000 cubic yards.
(3) Contracts and permits in effect before March 19, 2016, need not be amended to comply with rules and rule amendments adopted on March 19, 2016. Applications for permits, permit amendments, and permit assignments that the department determined to be complete prior to March 19, 2016, remain subject to provisions of this subchapter relating to application requirements as they read on the date the department determined the application to be complete.
(4) Except as provided in (5) and ARM 17.24.226, a permit amendment is required before taking an action that expands or changes a permitted opencut operation.
(5) Except as provided in ARM 17.24.226(5), an operator holding a permit issued under the Act may commence a limited opencut operation that meets the criteria in ARM 17.24.226 and 82-4-431, MCA, after the operator has submitted the limited opencut operation form to the department.