The department may issue a declaration of abandonment when it determines that all surface mining has ceased for a period of one hundred eighty consecutive days not set forth in the permit holder's reclamation plan or when, by reason of inspection of the permit area, or by any other means, the department determines that the mine has in fact been abandoned by the permit holder except that abandonment shall not include normal interruptions of surface mining resulting from labor disputes, economic conditions associated with lack of smelting capacity or availability of appropriate transportation, war, social unrest, demand for minerals, maintenance and repairs, and acts of God.
Following a declaration of abandonment, the department shall require the permit holder to complete reclamation in accordance with this chapter. If the permit holder fails to do so, the department shall proceed to do the necessary reclamation work pursuant to RCW 78.44.240
If another miner applies for a permit on a site that has been declared abandoned, the department may, in its discretion, cancel the reclamation permit of the permit holder and issue a new reclamation permit to the applicant. The department shall not issue a new permit unless it determines that such issuance will be an effective means of assuring that the site will ultimately be reclaimed. The applicant must agree to assume the reclamation responsibilities left unfinished by the first miner, in addition to meeting all requirements for issuance of a new permit.
Captions—Severability—Effective date—1993 c 518:
See notes following RCW 78.44.010