Managing the Environmental Permitting Process

Managing the Environmental Permitting Process

Areas of Study: Environment and Community

Qualifies for CMS

Premium Peer-Reviewed

Qualifies for Certification

The objective of this course is to assist reclamation engineers, scientists, and managers to obtain environmental permits for mining projects in a timely fashion. It is also intended to help existing permit holders to maintain compliance with permit requirements, and to help others to understand the permitting process. *** This is a premium course which has been peer-reviewed by a committee appointed by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME).


Online Course Online Courses

Enroll for Access to All Online Courses

Enrollees have access to all self-paced online courses.

Certification available for Not Available
  • Audience Level:
  • Professional
  • Enrollment:
  • Required
  • Duration:
  • 16 hours

Course Summary


The overall objective of this course is to assist reclamation engineers, scientists, and managers to obtain environmental permits in a timely fashion. It is also intended to help other people, who may be closely associated with permitting, to understand the permitting process. The course also covers steps that will help a permit holder to maintain continued compliance with the permit's requirements, thus avoiding fines, penalties, and, even worse, cessation orders.

The concepts that underlie permitting are universal: the social license to operate, including respect for local judgments, environmental assessments, environmental management systems, and that post-mining land use must comply with local or regional planning guidance. Because of the universality of these concepts and the frequent sharing of permitting rules among mining jurisdictions, this course concentrates on those principles that will assist mine planners to obtain permits in a timely fashion.

The course is filled with examples of regulations and helpful guidance from permitting jurisdictions in Canada and the United States, where the permitting process is mature and fully developed. These have been culled from the author's long experience with reclamation and the legal framework that surrounds it. Given the multitude of jurisdictions that grant permits: US States and even some counties, Canadian Provinces, and Australian States, it is not possible to create a recipe for completing individual permit applications. The applicant is advised strongly to meet with the officials in its jurisdiction to learn about their specifics. This course, however, will enable the applicant to understand and respond expertly to these local specifics.


The course comprises 24 learning sessions, each of 30–60 minutes duration, plus supporting figures, tables, images, references, suggested exercises, and interactive course reviews that confirm achievement of the learning objectives. The total duration of the course is estimated at 16 hours.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the environmental permitting system that exists in most developed nations.
  • Explain the relationship between environmental assessment and permitting.
  • Recognize how an environmental management system can be used to manage existing permits.

Recommended Background

  • Participants should have a working knowledge of mining and its potential impact on the environment and an understanding of the necessity for permitting and regulatory compliance.

Lee W. Saperstein

Dr. Saperstein has a B. S. in Mining Engineering from the Montana School of Mines and a D. Phil. in engineering science from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. He has been a mining engineering faculty member at The Pennsylvania State University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Missouri-Rolla. He was Dean of the School of Mines and Metallurgy at UMR for 11 years. He is a licensed Professional Engineer and is an expert in the environmental impacts of mining. He has also served ABET, Inc, the recognized accreditor for engineering, as its President. He is a Distinguished Member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc. (SME), a Fellow of ABET and holder of its Grinter Award, and recognized as a Distinguished Alumni by Montana Tech.