The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section except where the context clearly requires a different meaning:
(a. Means the breaking or disturbing of the surface soil or rock in order to facilitate or accomplish the extraction or removal of minerals; any activity constituting all or part of a process for the extraction or removal of minerals so as to make them suitable for commercial, industrial, or construction use; but shall not include those aspects of deep mining not having significant effect on the surface, and shall not include excavation or grading when conducted solely in aid of on-site farming or construction. Nothing herein shall apply to mining of coal. This definition shall not include, nor shall this title, chapter, or section be construed to apply to the process of searching, prospecting, exploring or investigating for minerals by drilling.
(b. The areas from which overburden has been removed in any mining operation, plus the area covered by the spoil and refuse, plus any areas used in such mining operation including land used for processing, stockpiling, and settling ponds.
(c. All of the earth and other material which lie above a natural deposit of minerals, ores, rock or other solid matter and also other materials after removal from their natural deposit in the process of mining.
(d. Any overburden or other material removed from its natural state in the process of mining.
(e. Any individual, corporation or corporation officer, firm, joint venture, partnership, business trust, association, or any other group or combination acting as a unit, or any legal entity which is engaged in mining.
(k. The restoration or conversion of disturbed land to a stable condition which minimizes or prevents adverse disruption and the injurious effects thereof and presents an opportunity for further productive use if such use is reasonable.
(l. Ore, rock, and any other solid homogeneous crystalline chemical element or compound that results from the inorganic processes of nature other than coal.
(n. All waste soil, rock, mineral tailings, slimes and other material directly connected with the mine, cleaning and preparation of substances mined including all waste material deposited in the permit area from other sources.
1968, c. 734; 1972, c. 206; 1974, c. 312; 1977, c. 312; 1984, c. 590.