Montana Department of Environmental Quality About Us Permitting & Operator Assistance Public Participation

Abandoned Mine Lands

Program Overview

Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) are plagued by health and safety hazards as well as diminished economic opportunities. Montana AML works closely with the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) to meet the intent of SMCRA which is to "promote the reclamation of mined areas left without adequate reclamation prior to August 3, 1977, and which continue, in their unreclaimed condition, to substantially degrade the quality of the environment, prevent or damage beneficial use of land or water resources, or endanger the health or safety of the public."

The Montana AML Program is responsible for the monitoring and reclamation of Montana’s  abandoned coal and hard rock mines. AML staff administer abandoned mine reclamation projects that are funded by federal grants derived from a fee on coal. If SMCRA funds are to be used for a reclamation project, the site must be eligible under the strict criteria of federal law. To be eligible for SMCRA funding, sites to be reclaimed must have been mined or affected by mining processes and abandoned or left in an inadequate reclamation status prior to August 3, 1977. SMCRA-funded sites can only be those that are truly abandoned--where there is no one who can be held responsible for the needed reclamation.

Although much has been done, AML staff continue to reclaim Montana's mine lands to help ensure a productive future for the state and to bring its land back to life.

To learn more about Abandoned Mine Lands from other organizationsvisit these websites:

OSMRE Reclaiming Abandoned Mine Lands

National Association of Abandoned Mine Lands  

Interstate Mining Compact Commission

Our Work's Not Done

AML Reclamation Guiding Principles


Section Supervisor
Jorri Dyer  (406) 444-6458

Project Manager
Bob Flesher (406) 444-6492

Project Manager
Vacant  (406) 444-6420

Project Manager
John Babcock (406) 444-6473

How it Works

AML has three main categories that the program staff are responsible for planning and managing on an annual basis.

Maps and Media