Hard Rock Impact Plan Information
Under the Hard-Rock Mining Impact Act, the developer of each proposed new large-scale hard-rock mine in Montana is required to prepare an impact plan that identifies the local government services and facilities that will be needed as a result of the mineral development. In the impact plan, the developer must identify and commit to pay all increased local government capital and net operating costs that will result from the development. Payment may be through grants or contributions, property tax prepayments, facility impact bonds, or other financing mechanisms. The developer may also provide non-financial assistance to the affected local government units.
A mineral development is considered "large-scale" if in the construction or operation of the mine and associated milling facility, the developer, and its contractors and sub-contractors at the site will employ more than 75 persons during any consecutive six-month period. New mineral developments that become "large-scale" after receiving their operating permits may apply to the Board for a waiver or conditional waiver to the impact plan requirement. As a condition of the statutes under which the operating permit is issued by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the large-scale mineral developer must comply with the requirements of the Impact Act and the Tax Base Sharing Act and with its commitments in an approved impact plan or in a conditional waiver.
The statutory requirements for hard-rock mining impact plans, impact plan waivers and property tax base sharing are found in the Hard-Rock Mining Impact Act and the companion Property Tax Base Sharing Act, Parts 3 and 4 of Title 90, Chapter 6 of the Montana Code Annotated (MCA). Regulatory requirements are contained in the Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM), beginning with Section 8.104.101.
In some cases, the advent of a new hard-rock mine may result in little or no increased cost for local government units. In other cases, the increase in service and facility needs and costs may be substantial. In either situation, the construction and operation of the mine will bring increased employment to the impact area and, eventually, increased tax base and tax revenue to the affected local government units. The impact plan addresses those increased local government costs resulting from the mineral development that precede or exceed the increase in tax base or that would otherwise burden local residents and taxpayers.
The Hard-Rock Mining Impact Board has prepared the Guide to the Implementation of the Hard-Rock Mining Impact Act and the Property Tax Base Sharing Act to assist persons affected by the Hard-Rock Mining Impact Act and Hard-Rock Mining Property Tax Base Sharing Act. Refer to the Guide for further information on Impact Plans and the requirements imposed on large-scale hard-rock mines in Montana.