Water: Ore Mining
Ore Mining and Dressing Effluent Guidelines
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EPA promulgated the Ore Mining and Dressing effluent guidelines and standards (40 CFR Part 440) in 1975, and amended the regulation in 1978, 1979, 1982 and 1988. The regulation covers wastewater discharges from ore mines and processing operations. The Ore Mining effluent guidelines and standards are incorporated into NPDES permits.
What is Ore Mining and Dressing?
Mine operators extract ores (metal-bearing rock) from underground mines and surface mines using machinery, explosives and chemicals. Extraction processes include dressing (picking, sorting, washing of ores), milling (crushing, grinding, etc.) and beneficiation (processing to improve purity/quality).
Wastewater is generated during the mining process from groundwater produced during ore extraction, from water used by operators for equipment cooling and dust control, and from precipitation entering mines. Wastewater is also produced during the ore milling and beneficiation processes (e.g., chemical leaching), and from contaminated stormwater at storage facilities.
These activities are included within North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code 2122, metal ore mining. (Note: the NAICS group listing is provided as a guide and does not define the coverage of the Mineral Mining regulations. For precise definitions of coverage, see the applicability sections in 40 CFR Part 440.)
Note: Smelting (heating the ore mixtures to separate liquid metal and impurities) is covered in the Iron and Steel Manufacturing Category (40 CFR Part 420, Subpart C) and the Nonferrous Metals Manufacturing Category (40 CFR Part 421).
The Mineral Mining and Processing effluent guidelines apply to facilities in 12 subcategories:
Additionally, Subpart L contains general provisions and definitions for the category.
- 1988 Amendment
Added Subpart M (BPT, BAT and NSPS).
- Final Rule: 53 FR 18764, 5/24/1988 (PDF) (27 pp, 3MB)
- Development Document (PDF) (289 pp, 14MB) (EPA 440/1-88/061, May 1988)
- Proposed Rule: 50 FR 47982, 11/20/1985 (PDF) (34 pp, 4MB)
- 1982 Amendment
Added BAT and NSPS requirements; some subcategories reorganized/renamed.
- Final Rule: 47 FR 54598, 12/3/1982 (PDF) (24 pp, 235K)
- Development Document (PDF) (676 pp, 25MB) (EPA 440/1-82/061, November 1982)
- Proposed Rule: 47 FR 25682, 6/14/1982 (PDF) (37 pp, 4MB)
- 1979 Amendment
Amended 1978 rule; deleted cyanide limitation for base and precious metals mines using froth flotation process.
- Final Rule: 44 FR 11546, 3/1/1979 (PDF) (2 pp, 265K)
- 1978 Amendment
- Clarification: 44 FR 7953, 2/8/1979 (PDF) (2 pp, 277K)
- Final Rule: 43 FR 29771, 7/11/1978 (PDF) (11 pp, 1MB)
- Development Document (EPA 440/1-78/061e, April 1978) (Available from NTIS. [www.ntis.gov] Vol. 1: PB286520. Vol. 2: PB286521.)
- Proposed rule: 40 FR 51738, 11/6/1975 (PDF) (10 pp, 1MB)
- 1975 Initial Rulemaking
Established BPT requirements.
- Notice of Suspension: 41 FR 21191, 5/24/1976 (PDF) (1 pg, 175K)
- Interim Final Rule: 40 FR 51722, 11/6/1975 (PDF) (16 pp, 2MB)
For additional information regarding Construction and Development Effluent Guidelines, please contact Ron Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-566-1003.