Nexgen Silica Fighting for Missouri Permit

On Nov. 15, the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) issued its Recommended Decision in the appeal of the mining permit issued to Nexgen Silica LLC, according to a story in Sun Time News.

The AHC recommended that the Nexgen mining permit be reversed.

• In February, Nexgen applied to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Land Reclamation Program (Program) for a mining permit.
• In March, Nexgen advised the Program that Nexgen entered into a mining lease agreement.
• On May 19, Nexgen presented to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MO DNR). This presentation was part of the application process to acquire its Land Reclamation Permit from the MO DNR’s Land Reclamation Program. That permit was issued to Nexgen.

Operation Sand LLC, a group comprised of local residents opposing the proposed silica frac sand mine, appealed the mining permit to the AHC.

In the appeal, Operation Sand alleged that in its application Nexgen failed to identify all persons with an interest in the property to be mined and failed to show that it had the legal right to mine the property, both of which are legal requirements for permit applications.

Also, Operation Sand alleged the Program failed to fully investigate the application, including the mine lease agreement, as required by law.

Specifically, the appeal alleged the Program never requested a copy of or conducted any review of the mine lease agreement.

Further, Operation Sand alleged that had the program investigated the mine lease agreement, it would have determined the agreement was not a lease, but was only an option contract which did not convey any mineral rights to Nexgen to mine the property.

In its Recommended Decision, the AHC concluded “Nexgen’s permit application was incomplete in that it failed to list all persons with a property interest in the mine plan area and a source granting it a legal right, rather than an option to obtain that right, to mine that property.” In particular, the AHC stated, “… it is clear that the Program’s procedure for investigating applications led it to issue Nexgen’s permit unlawfully.”

The AHC recommendation goes to the Missouri Mining Commission for a final decision.