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Bevill Amendment Issues Training

Downloadable File: Entire Document (PDF) (11 pp, 158K, About PDF)

Note: This training document should not be used to make formal determinations of the status of how wastes at a particular facility are regulated under 40 CFR 261.4(b)(7). Such opinions should be secured from the RCRA authorized state or the EPA Regional office.

What is Mining?
What is Mineral Processing?
What is the Bevill Exclusion to RCRA?
What does "Uniquely Associated" mean?
What are Extraction and Beneficiation Wastes?
What is the Definition of Extraction and Beneficiation?
What are Mineral Processing Wastes?
What is the Definition of Mineral Processing?
What are the Lines Between Beneficiation and Mineral Processing?
Why does mining terminology complicate using the Bevill exclusion?
Why does "High Volume, Low Hazard" Criteria not apply to beneficiation wastes?
What are the Basic Steps in Making Bevill Determinations?
What is the National Hardrock Mining Framework?
What is the Status of Other Exclusions to the Definition of Solid Waste?

What is Mining?

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What is Mineral Processing?

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What is the Bevill Exclusion to RCRA?


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What does "Uniquely Associated" mean ?

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What are Extraction and Beneficiation Wastes?

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What is the Definition of Extraction and Beneficiation?

What are Mineral Processing Wastes?

The "special 20" mineral processing wastes, as listed at 40 CFR 261.4(b)(7), are:

  1. Slag from primary copper processing
  2. Slag from primary lead processing
  3. Red and brown muds from bauxite refining
  4. Phosphogypsum from phosphoric acid production
  5. Slag from elemental phosphorus production
  6. Gasifier ash from coal gasification
  7. Process wastewater from coal gasification
  8. Calcium sulfate wastewater treatment plant sludge from primary copper processing
  9. Slag tailings from primary copper processing
  10. Fluorogypsum from hydrofluoric acid production
  11. Process wastewater from hydrofluoric acid production
  12. Air pollution control dust/ sludge from iron blast furnaces
  13. Iron blast furnace slag
  14. Treated residue from roasting/ leaching of chrome ore
  15. Process wastewater from primary magnesium processing by the anhydrous process
  16. Process wastewater from phosphoric acid production
  17. Basic oxygen furnace and open hearth furnace air pollution control dust/sludge from carbon steel production
  18. Chloride process waste solids from titanium tetrachloride production
  19. Slag from primary zinc processing

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What is the Definition of Mineral Processing?

In considering the functional distinctions between beneficiation and processing using both heat and acid, EPA has examined both the range of actual practices employed, and the types of waste streams that are generated by these operations in various mineral commodity sectors. In a general sense, the lines that the Agency has drawn between beneficiation and processing parallel the common sense differences that can be observed between beneficiation and processing wastes generated using other types of mineral exploitation techniques. Most beneficiation processes, at least those immediately upstream from the initial processing operation in a production sequence, generate high volume solid waste streams that are essentially earthen in character. Despite the fact that valuable constituents have been removed, the remaining material is often physically and chemically similar to the material (ore or mineral) that entered the operation, except that particle size reduction has often occurred. Processing operations, in contrast, generate waste streams that generally bear little or no resemblance to the materials that entered the operation (with the arguable exception of smelting slags). These operations most often destroy the physical structure of the mineral, producing product and waste streams that are not earthen in character.

This common sense distinction is reflected in EPA's definitions of beneficiation and processing operations using heat and acid. The beneficiation operations (e.g., calcining, dissolution, roasting in preparation for leaching) produce wastes, where applicable, that are essentially earthen and of relatively high volume. The processing operations (e.g., smelting, acid or alkaline digestion), on the other hand, produce wastes that are not earthen, bear little resemblance to the materials that entered the operation, and are of relatively lower volume.

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What are the Lines Between Beneficiation and Mineral Processing?

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Why does mining terminology complicate using the Bevill exclusion?

- For example, the terms "crushing, grinding, drying", are operations that do not generate any appreciable wastes, while the term "flotation" is a beneficiation term on this same list that does generate the paradigm of large volume, low hazard beneficiation waste called tailings.5

- Also, many beneficiation terms are used to describe activities common to a wide range of non-exempt industries.6 These beneficiation terms are also descriptive of mineral processing operations that are located at the same location as the beneficiation operations.

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Why does "High Volume, Low Hazard" Criteria not apply to beneficiation wastes?

The EDF II court found that congressional intent was to exempt ". . . only those wastes from processing ores or minerals that meet the 'special waste' criteria, that is, 'high volume, low hazard' wastes". 7 The EDF II court explained Congressional intent for mineral processing waste but it did not explicitly address beneficiation wastes.

Therefore, extraction and beneficiation wastes eligible for the Bevill Exclusion may include small volume, high hazard wastes.

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What are the Basic Steps in Making Bevill Determinations?

  1. Determine whether the material is considered a solid waste under RCRA.

  2. Determine whether the facility is using a primary ore or mineral to produce a final or intermediate product and also whether less than 50 percent of the feedstocks on an annual basis are from secondary sources.

  3. Establish whether the material and the operation that generates it are uniquely associated with mineral production.

  4. Determine where in the sequence of operations beneficiation ends and mineral processing begins.

  5. If the material is a mineral processing waste, determine whether it is one of the 20 special wastes from mineral processing.

    This analytical sequence will result in one of three outcomes:

    1. the material is not a solid waste and therefore not subject to RCRA;
    2. the material is a solid waste but is exempt from RCRA Subtitle C because of the Mining Waste Exclusion; or
    3. the material is a solid waste that is not exempt from RCRA Subtitle C and is subject to regulation as a hazardous waste if it is a listed or characteristic hazardous waste.

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What is the National Hardrock Mining Framework?

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What is the Status of Other Exclusions to the Definition of Solid Waste?

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Footnotes:

1[W]ith respect to the mining and mineral processing wastes . . . this exclusion does not apply to solid wastes, such as spent solvents, pesticide wastes, and discarded commercial chemical products, that are not uniquely associated with these mining and allied processing operations." 45 Fed. Reg. 76,619 (1980).

2 [T]he Agency finds no compelling reason to provide exemptions for particular small volume wastes that may be associated with mineral processing operations, such as cleaning wastes. Many other industrial operations also generate such wastes, and EPA does not believe that the fact that current management involving mixing justifies continued regulatory exclusion for wastes that are not uniquely associated with mineral processing (and therefore are not defined as mineral processing wastes) and would not, in any event meet the high volume criterion." 54 Fed. Reg. 36,616 (September 1, 1989).

3 Reportable quantity substances, limits, and requirements are found at 40 C.F.R. § 302 (1993).

4 See the specific list of 20 mineral processing waste in 40 C.F.R. 261.4(b)(7) (1993).

Report to Congress, Wastes from the Extraction and Beneficiation of Metallic Ores, Phosphate Rock, Asbestos, Overburden from Uranium Mining and Oil Shale, EPA Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, 1985.

For example, the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, 3rd Edition, lists over 300 non-mining chemical and industrial processes that use the term solvent extraction, which is one of the beneficiation activities on the list.

Environmental Defense Fund v. EPA (EDF II), 852 F.2d 1316, 1329 (D.C. Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 109 S. Ct. 1120 (1989).

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