New York State is rich in minerals which are mined for industrial and construction uses. Sand and gravel mines are found throughout the state. Metal ores and gem minerals, such as garnet, are mined chiefly in mountainous regions. Salt is extracted from rich deposits in Central New York. Mining occurs in every county in New York State except Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens and Richmond.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the annual value of New York's mineral production in 2015 (most recent year available) at $1.43 billion, making a substantial contribution to the state's total economy. New York is among the top third in the nation in value of minerals produced.
Leading Mineral Commodities Produced in New York State (Based on Value, 2015):
- Crushed stone
- Construction sand and gravel
- New York is the only state in the U.S. that produces wollastonite.
- New York ranks first in the nation in the output of garnet.
- New York ranks third in the production of salt.
- New York ranks ninth in the production of construction sand and gravel.
Protecting the Environment
The Division of Mineral Resources carries out the important responsibilities of protecting the environment when minerals are extracted and ensures that the land is reclaimed when mining is complete. The New York State Legislature enacted Article 23, Title 27 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) to achieve the policies of the State which are to ensure the environmentally sound, economic development of New York's mineral resources and the return of affected land to productive use for current and future generations. Regulations, 6NYCRR Parts 420-425, and a permitting program designed to achieve these goals have been established by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Permits and Reclamation
A Mined Land Reclamation permit is an approval to conduct regulated activities at a specific site. Permits are issued by DEC for annual terms of up to five years and may be renewed. Certain extraction of minerals in aid of construction projects or agricultural activities may not be subject to the jurisdiction of the Mined Land Reclamation Law.
In New York, regulated mining operations have an approved mining plan that specifies how mining will take place, and an approved reclamation plan that provided for return to productive use. Financial security submitted by the mining permit applicant ensures that the land will be reclaimed. Since the state Mined Land Reclamation Law was enacted in 1975, more than 4,800 mines have received state mining permits and more than 2,500 mines have been reclaimed. The majority of the reclaimed mines have been reclaimed by operators. In the small number of cases where the operators have defaulted on their obligation to reclaim, DEC seized the financial security and used it to carry out the reclamation of the mine.
Today, sites in New York State that were previously mined are used as farms, wetlands, wildlife habitats, residential developments and public recreation areas. Mined land reclamation is an environmental success story in New York.
Questions regarding Mined Land Reclamation Permit applications or related activities should be directed to the appropriate regional office based on where the project is proposed or located. Questions regarding statewide policy, financial security or regulatory fees should be directed to Central Office in Albany. Email us with general questions, or contact the appropriate staff in the table below:
Mined Land Contacts