Mining and Exploration FAQs

Surface Mining and Reclamation Division (SMRD)



The Commission only regulates blasting at surface coal mines.  Currently, there are no statewide regulations for blasting operations, except at surface coal mines, but there may be assistance at the city and/or county level.

Sand and gravel pits are regulated from a safety aspect by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). Mining and reclamation of these pits are not regulated under State law. If the sand or gravel operations will affect ground water, have a surface-water discharge or create a point-source air discharge, the operation may be regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

A permit to mine coal must be obtained from the Railroad Commission. Applications are available by writing or calling the Surface Mining and Reclamation Division, 1701 N. Congress, Austin, Texas, (512) 463-6900. A copy of the Regulations can be obtained through our Forms and Publications section.

There are no statewide permits required to mine minerals other than coal, lignite, and uranium. Iron ore and iron ore gravel mining may be regulated depending on the scope of the mine. Water and air discharges from any industrial source, including mines, are regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

Other regulatory agencies that should be contacted to determine if a permit or other requirements are needed to mine coal are:

Federal
Environmental Protection Agency (Department of the Interior)
Mine Safety and Health Administration (Department of Labor)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Department of the Interior)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

State
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Texas Historical Commission
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

There are 29 permits to mine coal in Texas, covering 24 active mines.

There are no active uranium surface mines in Texas.

No, please contact the Texas Mining and Reclamation Association (TMRA) at 314 E. Highland Mall Blvd., Austin, Texas 78752, (512) 467-1300.

To order Publications, send written requests to:

Railroad Commission of Texas
Publications Public Sales Department
P.O. Box 12967
Austin, TX 78711-2967
RE: Surface Mining and Reclamation Division

Or call the Railroad Commission's Public Sales department at (512) 463-6882 for more information and exact price, including postage and handling charges. (All mail orders will have postage and handling charges added.)

The Surface Mining and Reclamation Division of the Railroad Commission of Texas has all records on file pertaining to coal/lignite mining permits. Included in these records are: permit applications and revisions, hearing files, hearing exhibits, bonding and bond release information, monthly and quarterly inspection reports of each mine, Annual Coal/Uranium Operations and Progress Reports, monthly and quarterly water reports, soil analysis reports, enforcement information such as Notices of Violations, assessments, complaints at a mine site, and technical files such as design plans and revisions.

In accordance with the regulations at 16 Texas Admin. Code §§12.115, 12.210, and 12.672, these records are available for public viewing at:

Railroad Commission of Texas
Surface Mining and Reclamation Division 
William B. Travis Building, 10th floor 
1701 N. Congress Ave. 
Austin, TX 78701 
Phone (512) 463-6900 
FAX (512) 463-6709 
Contact:  Records Section

Office hours are from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday.

Should you wish to receive copies of any records by mail, contact the Records Section at the Austin Office at (512) 463-6900 and describe the nature of your request. It is helpful to Commission staff to describe your request as specifically as possible, since many documents are very voluminous.



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