On November 15, the Missouri Administrative Listening to Fee (AHC) launched its really helpful choice concerning NexGen Silica’s floor mining license acquired from the Missouri Mining Fee (MMC), stating that it believes approval must be canceled resulting from demand points.
The choice got here after a September 27 listening to at which Operation Sand, NexGen and the Ministry of Pure Sources (MNR) had been all current.
This doesn’t imply that the allow was mechanically cancelled, because the AHC defined that it has no jurisdiction to cancel the allow itself. AHC mentioned it’s clear that the land reclamation program’s investigative course of led this system to concern the allow illegally.
NexGen acquired the allow to interact in silica sand mining on June 30, and on July 20, Operation Sand filed a lawsuit to attraction MNR’s choice. Eight days later, NexGen filed a movement to intervene and reply. On August 3, Operation Sand filed an Amended Criticism and consented to NexGen’s intervention and on the identical day, MNR consented to NexGen’s intervention and AHC granted NexGen’s movement.
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AHC mentioned findings of truth within the doc, together with MNR’s failure to think about well being, security, and undue degradation of livelihoods within the allowing course of.
A number of folks had been concerned in reviewing NexGen’s license to interact in silica sand mining, together with Larry Lehman, Land Reclamation Program Supervisor, Invoice Zeaman, industrial minerals and metals from the land reclamation program, and Colin Priest, environmental specialist.
On March 4, the land reclamation program acquired NexGen’s software for the floor mining allow to mine sandstone on 115 acres of the 249 acres throughout the mine plan boundary. The appliance required the applicant to point the “supply of the authorized proper to the mine”.
AHC mentioned NexGen pointed to a letter dated March 16 from NexGen managing member Roger Faulkner to Zeaman. The letter defined that the supply of the regulation was a mining lease settlement between NexGen and Missouri Proppants LLC. This letter requested Zeaman to replace the appliance accordingly.
AHC additionally found that Missouri Proppants was established on June 14, 2017 within the State of Texas and in July of this 12 months Missouri Proppants registered with the Missouri Secretary of State to do enterprise in Missouri as a international restricted legal responsibility firm.
Within the grievance, Operation Sand claims that NexGen’s software was flawed in that Missouri Proppants was not recognized as an entity with a authorized curiosity within the lands to be mined. Operation Sand additionally claims that the deal didn’t confer authorized mining rights on NexGen, each as a result of Missouri Proppants was not licensed to do enterprise in Missouri on the time it entered into the settlement, and since the settlement gave NexGen an choice to lease the ore. rights, however didn’t convey these rights.
In line with AHC, there is no such thing as a file of when the unique homeowners transferred possession to Missouri Proppants, the file solely exhibits that mineral rights had been transferred from particular person homeowners to Glassey Buatte, LLC after which to Missouri Proppants. The March 16 settlement states that Missouri Proppants leases the property, not simply the mineral rights to NexGen, AHC concluded that Missouri Proppants got here into possession of the property previous to the date.
In line with AHC, this system grew to become conscious of the existence of Missouri Proppants when Faulkner knowledgeable Zeaman NexGen had made the take care of the corporate, with the Missouri Proppant allegedly granting NexGen a authorized proper to mine the property.
Due to this info, AHC mentioned Zeaman’s responsibility was to analyze the appliance earlier than making a call to concern or deny the allow, Zeaman ought to have acknowledged that the appliance was poor and will have notified NexGen of the hole.
AHC’s overview confirmed that the appliance was incomplete on the time the allow was issued, and there’s no new proof to recommend that NexGen submitted the entire required info on the appliance earlier than acquiring the allow. The committee additionally defined that it doesn’t have the authority to amend the appliance after a license is issued, nor the authority to permit NexGen to retroactively appropriate the appliance.
“As a result of the mandatory info was omitted from the appliance, this system illegally issued a allow primarily based on an incomplete software. We subsequently suggest that the MMC revoke the allow,” Commissioner Philip Prewitt mentioned within the choice doc.
Operation Sand welcomes the choice, in line with a press launch issued on Monday. Founding member Jillian Ditch Anslow mentioned the group was delighted with AHC’s suggestion.
“All through this course of, Operation Sand and all of its supporters have expressed issues concerning the potential opposed results of silica fracturing sand mining on the well being of space residents and the setting,” mentioned Anslow.
Not everybody shares the sentiment of Operation Sand, as NexGen mentioned whereas being disappointing, there is no such thing as a motive to be involved concerning the unique plan to have the silica mine within the county of St. Genevieve.
“We’re disillusioned with the AHC commissioner’s suggestion on this case,” mentioned common supervisor Clark Bollinger. “Nonetheless, this improvement of our general plan is an extended course of, and we’re assured that we are going to acquire the mandatory permits to maneuver ahead with our preliminary plan.”
In line with Operation Sand lawyer Stephen Jeffery, the Mining Fee has not set a date for the ultimate choice on the attraction.
Danielle Thurman is a reporter for the Day by day Journal and will be contacted at [email protected] or 573-518-3616.
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