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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 21-429



Bond Rate Guidelines for the Calculation of Land Reclamation Bonds on Coal Mining Operations

[51 Pa.B. 1589]
[Saturday, March 20, 2021]

 The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) announces the 2021 land reclamation bond rate guidelines for anthracite and bituminous coal mining operations. These rates become effective April 1, 2021. The authority for bonding coal mining operations is found under The Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. §§ 691.1—691.1001), the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P.S. §§ 1396.1—1396.19b), the Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act (52 P.S. §§ 30.51—30.66) and 25 Pa. Code Chapter 86, Subchapter F (relating to bonding and insurance requirements).

 The unit costs listed in these guidelines will be used in calculating the land reclamation bonds for surface coal mining operations including, surface mines, coal refuse disposal sites, coal refuse reprocessing sites, coal processing facilities and the surface facilities of underground mining operations.

 The procedures for calculating land reclamation bonds are described in Technical Guidance Document (DEP ID: 563-2504-001), ''Conventional Bonding for Land Reclamation—Coal,'' which is available online at The Department calculated the rate of inflation using 5-year averages. For the rate of inflation, the Consumer Price Index (Northeast Urban) from the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, was averaged for the calendar years 2016—2020, resulting in a rate of 1.58%. This rate of inflation will be used in calculating bond amounts for permit renewal or permit midterm bond liability reviews on or after April 1, 2021.

 The Department may review the adequacy of bonds on existing permits based on the bond rate guidelines at any time. The Department will conduct these reviews before issuing permit renewals. The Department may conduct similar reviews at the midterm of a permit and before approving a permit revision.

 These bond rate guidelines do not apply to bonds ensuring replacement of water supplies under subsection 3.1(c) of the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P.S. § 1396.3a(c)) or to bonds ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act (52 P.S. §§ 1406.1—1406.21).

General Methodology

 The Department developed the bond rate guidelines for 2021 from the unit costs for competitively bid contracts for abandoned mine reclamation projects using the lowest total bid for each contract. Contract bid data is available for various unit operations needed to complete reclamation of a mine site for the years 1998—2020. For most categories, a 3-year (2018—2020) average was used to calculate the guidelines. Some categories require another approach due to limited data. For example, there were no contracts in the years 2014—2020 that included selective grading. Therefore, a multiyear average of available data prior to 2014 was used for the 2021 selective grading bond rate.

 The Department will use the weighted average of the lowest total bid contract for the previous 3 years for the 2021 bond rate guidelines.

 If a unit operation necessary to calculate a reclamation bond is not listed in Tables 1 or 2, then additional cost information available may be used. Unit costs (such as haulage over 1 mile for grading) may be calculated using a standard reference like the most recent edition of Means Building Construction Cost Data or the most recent version of the Office of Surface Mining Handbook for Calculation of Reclamation Bond Amounts. Specific unit costs may be adjusted using information provided by other stakeholders including permittee provided reclamation cost estimates which include supporting calculations such as prevailing wage costs, installation costs, and the like.

 The fees associated with the Land Maintenance Bond Program are presented in Table 3. There has been no change in these rates for 2021.

 The bond rate guidelines are available at For background information and supporting documentation regarding bonding rate guidelines, contact the Bureau of Mining Programs, Division of Permitting and Compliance, P.O. Box 8461, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8461, (717) 787-5103.

Mine Sealing Costs

 The mine sealing bond rate guidelines are presented in Table 2.

Effective Date

 The rates in this notice will become effective April 1, 2021.


Standard Bond Rate Guidelines for Year 2021

Unit Operation Unit Measure Unit Costs ($)
Mobilization/Demobilization Job 4% of Direct Costs or $40,000, Whichever is Less
(< 500-foot push)
Cubic Yard 0.80
(≥ 500-feet)
Cubic Yard 1.40
(1,000 feet up to 1 mile)
Underground and Refuse Only
Cubic Yard 2.50
(> 1 mile)
Underground and Refuse Only
Cubic Yard Use Standard References
Selective Grading Acre 1,700.00
Revegetation Acre 2,000.00
Tree Planting Tree 0.75
Ditch Excavation Cubic Yard 4.75
Jute Matting Square Yard 2.45
High Velocity Erosion Control Square Yard 2.00
AASHTO No. 1 Ton 23.00
AASHTO No. 57 Ton 30.00
R3 Rock Lining Square Yard 31.00
R4 Rock Lining Square Yard 40.00
R5 Rock Lining Square Yard 28.00
Geotextile/Filter Fabric Square Yard 2.40
Subsurface Drain Lineal Foot 23.00
Erosion and Sedimentation Control (Temporary Installation) Job Lump Sum
(5% of Direct Costs for Site)
Pond Removal Active Phase1 Pond 3,800.00
Stage 3 Maintenance Bond Non-Cropland Areas
(Land Uses Where Crop Yields are Not Required)
Acre 100.00
Stage 3 Maintenance Bond Cropland (Not Row Crops)
Pastureland or Land
Occasional Cut for Hay
(Excludes Seed Cost)
Acre 490.00
Stage 3 Maintenance Bond Cropland Area—Row Crops
(Includes Seed Cost)
Acre 890.00
Stage 3 Mobilization Job 2,500.00
Pond Removal—Stage 3 Cubic Yards
(Embankment Volume)
Plus Top Soiling and
Revegetation Cost
Use < 500 Grading for Pond Embankment Volume Plus Top Soiling and Revegetation Cost for the Area Disturbed
Ditch Removal—Stage 3 Lineal Foot 0.75
Equipment Tire Removal and Disposal Tire 300.00
Structure Demolition Costs will be Calculated Using Costs Listed in the Construction Industry's Latest Annual Cost Publications, such as Means Building Construction Cost Data


Mine Sealing Bond Rate Guidelines for Year 2021

Sealing Bituminous Underground Mine Drift and Slope Openings
Unit Operation Unit Measure Unit Costs ($)
Concrete Work Cubic Yard 114.00
Masonry Work Square Foot 16.50
Fill Material and Earthwork2 Cubic Yard 19.00
Security Fencing Lineal Foot 32.50
Mobilization Cost Job 4% of Total Amount
Sealing Bituminous Underground Mine Shaft Openings
Concrete Material Cubic Yard 110.00
Aggregate Material Cubic Yard 32.50
Fill Material and Earthwork2 Cubic Yard 8.50
Security Fencing Lineal Foot 32.50
Mobilization Cost Job 4% of Total Amount
Sealing Boreholes at Bituminous Underground Mines
Dimension Minimum Cost Per Hole ($) Unit Cost ($) Per Lineal Foot
12 Inch or Less Diameter 1,850 6.50
Larger than 12 Inch Diameter 2,450 9.00

1 Unit cost not from BAMR bids; includes dewatering, grading, topsoil placement and revegetation.

2 Mine sealing costs are minimum costs. Additional costs per mine seal will be assessed based on specific design criteria, such as the thickness of the seal and the volume of backfill material required, using appropriate material, equipment, and labor costs from BAMR bid abstracts or from an industry-standard cost estimation publication, for example, Means Estimating Handbook or Walker's Building Estimator's Reference Book.


Land Maintenance Financial Guarantee Fees for Year 2021

Fee Category Fee ($)
Publication 1,000.00
Administrative 300.00


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 21-429. Filed for public inspection March 19, 2021, 9:00 a.m.]

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