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Thurston County Comprehensive Plan

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Project Manager:
Maya Buhler,
Associate Planner

Mineral Resource Lands FAQs

What are mineral resource lands?

Areas where geology and other factors may support the commercial extraction of minerals (mining), including sand, gravel, rock, and metals.

Sand and gravel, also known as aggregate, and bedrock are our primary resources. These materials are the building blocks used to manufacture cement, concrete, asphalt, and other materials used in the construction of roads and buildings.

In Thurston County, precious metals, such as copper or silver, are not available in significant quantities.

What is under review?

The County is currently considering designation criteria for mineral resource lands. Inventory and classification of mineral resources was reviewed in May 2017 as part of this update. There will be opportunities for public input regarding designation criteria and policies in the upcoming year. These policy decisions will be considered in the update to the Comprehensive Plan, in 2018.

I received a letter from the County indicating my property may be affected. What does it mean?

We sent letters to landowners whose properties overlap or are near the boundary of areas identified in the draft inventory as having potential mineral resources. This does not mean that mining will be permitted on that property. The letter was intended to inform you about the potential change in how we map mineral lands. Click here to learn what the letter means.

Why does the draft inventory map show mineral lands that overlap areas that are already developed or have environmental resources, such as wetlands or shorelines?

The mineral lands inventory must show where mineral resources may exist, based on available geologic information, regardless of other land uses. The next step in the project will be to screen the inventory against designation criteria that take into account numerous land use and environmental considerations. Some properties may be excluded from designation based on these criteria. Property owners with designated lands will still be required to apply for a permit and must comply with applicable land use and environmental regulations prior to conducting mining activities.

Click here for more frequently asked questions on mineral resource lands.


Contact for Mineral Lands Inventory:
Maya Buhler, Thurston County Associate Planner
buhlerm@co.thurston.wa.us or 360-754-3355 x5578.


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