Mitchell Chadwick attorneys have permitted more mines in California than any other law firm (over 200).  Our clients mining projects range throughout the State, from the Mexican border to the Oregon border and everywhere in between.  We have experience permitting on private land, California State Lands Commission land, and federal lands including Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and National Park Service lands.

We represent regional, national and multinational mining companies regarding all phases of mining operations, including due diligence and acquisition of mining sites/mineral rights, permitting and environmental review, litigation, permit compliance issues, and final reclamation.

Mitchell Chadwick attorneys have extensive experience obtaining all local, state, and federal mining entitlements, including conditional use permits, reclamation plans under the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA), and Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service plans of operation and rights-of-way.  Landowners and mining companies seek our expertise in obtaining state and federal endangered species act permits (Section 7, 10a and 2081), wetlands/stream alteration permits under the federal Clean Water Act and Cal. Fish & Game Code (Sections 404 and 1603), water quality permits (waste discharge, NPDES, and 401 certifications), and air quality permits.

We represent clients at all public hearings and coordinate with the litany of governmental agencies throughout the permitting process.  Additionally, mine operators with vested rights issues rely on Mitchell Chadwick to guide them through vested rights determinations and disputes with local agencies regarding the scope and nature of vested mining rights.

We assist mining clients and their consultants in the scoping and the preparation of complex environmental documents under the California Environmental Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  After project approval we also represent clients in the resulting CEQA/NEPA litigation matters in both trial and appellate courts.

Our attorneys are also state-recognized experts in public lands law and assist the mining industry involving title to unpatented and patented mining claims, including preparation of title opinions, right-of-way and wilderness area access, BLM and Forest service contest actions, annual BLM rental fee filings, state lands, Indian lands, and appeals to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA).

Additionally, the firm represents mining companies in connection with the negotiation and drafting of purchase and sale agreements, mining leases, contracts, and joint venture agreements, royalty agreements, easements, the acquisition of mineral rights and mining claims, and the negotiation and due diligence for project acquisitions for sellers, buyers, and lenders.  Mitchell Chadwick assists mining clients with the acquisition, perfection, and transfer of water rights, and in water quality proceedings, including permitting, compliance, and litigation.

Representative Matters:

  • Obtained approvals for 900+ acre greenfield aggregate mine in Fresno County, despite significant opposition.  Assisted with preparation of environmental documents and interaction with the County at all stages of the project.  Successfully defended project approvals and CEQA analysis before the State Mining and Geology Board and in litigation.
  • Obtained approvals for hardrock quarry expansion in Amador County.  Advised client on preparation of CEQA documents and compliance with the surface mining and reclamation act (SMARA).  Successfully brokered settlement with project opponents to avoid litigation.
  • Obtained major vested rights determination and mine expansion for cement facility in Northern California
  • Assisted in the sale of an open-pit gold mine site in Imperial County, consisting of unpatented mining claims.  Conducted due diligence for the buyer, including preparation of a title opinion, analysis of legal, environmental, and political issues affecting future permitting of the site.
  • Permitted an open-pit gold mine in Siskiyou County, including title due diligence, initial environmental permitting, bonding, and appeal of permit,  and subsequent enforcement actions.
  • Working on gold mine reclamation issues for one of the largest gold mining corporations in the world and reclamation for sand mine in two different northern California counties.
  • Worked on issues related to leases and permits for port facilities throughout California importing cement, slag, and aggregate to the state from other countries
  • Hired numerous times as expert witness related to CA mine permitting expertise by major gold mining corporation, clay mining company and the federal government.