Surface Mining Permit

Who Needs A Surface Mining Permit?

Persons who engage in mining and surface disturbances related to mining require a state mining permit which is obtained from the Tennessee Division of Mineral & Geologic Resources, Mining Section. In all counties mining of the following minerals requires a permit: clay, stone, phosphate rock, metallic ore and any other solid material or substance of commercial value found in natural deposits on or in the earth. This DOES NOT INCLUDE: limestone, gravel, sand, chert, marble, coal or dimension stone. In Shelby and Davidson Counties, a permit is also required for mining gravel and sand.

What Information Must I Provide?

At least one (1) day before filing an application, applicants are required to publish a Notice of Intent to Surface Mine in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the activity is planned. A standard form is supplied by the Mining Section for preparation of the notice. A copy of the notice clipped from the newspaper which shows the dateline must be submitted with the proper fee and the following items:

  • An Application For Surface Mining Permit (Form CN-1097). The form requires information concerning the applicant, company and owners, the mineral to be mined, acreage to be disturbed, type of bond to be filed and name of corporate surety, previous permits, property owners within 500 feet of the operation, and owners of the surface rights and mineral rights.
  • U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps showing the mining location, haul roads and site boundaries, prepared by a professional engineer, geologist or surveyor.
  • A copy of the applicant's NPDES discharge permit or a letter from the Division of Mineral & Geologic Resources stating that no discharge will take place, and therefore, no permit is required.

Form Description & Number

  • Application for Surface Mining Permit, CN-1097

How Will My Application Be Processed?

Upon receipt of the application package, the Mining Section conducts an initial review and checks for completeness. Once the application is complete, staff conducts an in-depth review of the mining and reclamation plans as well as an on-site inspection. In not less than 45 days nor more than 60 days, the application is either approved or denied. If the application is approved, the permit is granted upon receipt of the required bond. Permits are issued for the time necessary to complete the operation up to a maximum of five (5) years for each permit action.

What Fees Are Required?

  • Application fee: $250 for each year of the permit
  • Acreage fee: $25 for each acre to be disturbed, up to a maximum fee of $2,500
  • Performance bond fee: Not less than $600 per acre, can be $2,000 or more depending on the county
  • Application amendments: $50

What Are My Rights And Responsibilities After The Permit Is Issued?

The operator has the right to proceed with the approved surface mining activities in accordance with the permit conditions and requirements. In the case of a denial, the operator may appeal to the Tennessee Board of Water Quality, Oil and Gas. The permit is not transferable but minor modifications such as changing the acreage can be made administratively. To operate beyond the duration of the permit, the operator must apply for a renewal 60 days before the expiration date of the permit.

The operator is responsible for updating the Mining Section each year on the status of the site with an annual report and map. The Mining Operator's Annual Or Completion Report (Form CN-0811) requires the number of acres of land affected by the operation, the extent of reclamation and revegetation accomplished by the applicant (on the map also), and other information. Annual reports are required until all reclamation work is complete. In addition to providing annual reports, operators are responsible for complying with specific requirements pertaining to the mineral being mined as found in the Division's Surface Mining rules and regulations.

What Are The Division's Rights And Responsibilities After The Permit Is Issued?

The Tennessee Division of Mineral & Geologic Resources, Mining Section has the right to inspect the site when deemed necessary. In addition, the Mining Section has the right to revoke or suspend any permit for violation of permit conditions or any other provisions of the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act and the Division's Surface Mining rules and regulations.

The Mining Section is responsible for regulating surface mining so as to minimize the adverse effects associated with the activity.

Whom Do I Contact For Applications, Assistance And Other Sources Of Information?

Applications and information can be obtained from :

Mining Section
Tennessee Dept. of Environment & Conservation
3711 Middlebrook Pike
Knoxville, TN 37921
(865) 594-6035

New applicants who need more than one permit can contact their regional Environmental Field Office for further assistance.

Applicants seeking coverage under a general or individual Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit for activities associated with a NPDES permit for mining related discharges, a Surface Mining permit, Mineral test-hole permit, coverage under TMSP Sector J, or the Rock Harvesting general permit must submit an application to the Mining Section at the Knoxville Environmental Field Office.  Electronic application submittals and requests for information specific to mining related activities may be received at

Applicants may refer to the following publications: