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DHEC-Mining Permits Review

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) advises the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC’s) Bureau of Land and Waste Management on the potential impact of mining operations on historic properties. Upon the SHPO’s recommendation, DHEC may require a mining permit applicant to conduct a survey of the proposed mining site to identify buildings, structures, sites, objects and districts that are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and to modify plans to avoid damage to historic properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register.

The SHPO requires full reports for mine permit surveys that identify eligible or unevaluated archaeological sites or other historic properties. In order to reduce the time and expense of cultural resource surveys performed for DHEC-Mining permits, the SHPO will accept letter reports for mine permit surveys that

1) do not identify any archaeological sites, or
2) identify only archaeological sites that are not eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

To ensure timely review, all letter reports must include the following:

  1. Project Title
  2. Agency Requiring Work
  3. Agency Project Number(s)
  4. Project Location (include a 7.5-minute USGS topographic map and project planning maps)
  5. Field Personnel and Dates of Survey
  6. Brief Statement of Project Goals and Objectives
  7. Field Methods - Field methods should be described in a way that lets reviewers and future researchers easily reconstruct what was done and why. The following information should be included under this section:


  8. a. Survey description - Specific techniques should be described and justified for the project area. Describe locations examined, intervals between transects, surface visibility, soils, and methods of collection, when applicable.
    b. Maps - Cartographic illustrations should depict pedestrian survey areas, subsurface tests and/or excavations, and any relevant field description (e.g. vegetative cover). All maps will include a north arrow (magnetic north, true north, or grid north), a map scale (e.g., 1:24,000), and a bar scale.
    c. Photographs - Include at least two color photographs showing the project area and a sample excavation unit.

  9. Summary of Results - For surveys that identify only archaeological sites that are not eligible, letter reports should also include sufficient information (i.e. artifact inventory, site descriptions, and statements of significance) for SHPO staff to make determinations of eligibility. Please refer to the South Carolina Standards and Guidelines for Archaeological Investigations for more details (Sections IV.C.10, 11, and 12). Letter reports for mining projects that find only not eligible sites do not need to include extensive environmental and cultural contexts. Include only relevant information that will be helpful in evaluating report recommendations.

    If SHPO is not able to adequately evaluate report recommendations, more information will be requested.

For guidance on hiring a cultural resources consultant, see Preservation Hotline #9: Selecting a Consultant for Cultural Resource Surveys and Evaluations (PDF), in addition to our Lists of Preservation Professionals.

To learn more about archaeological surveys and evaluations, see SHPO Guidance for Archaeological Surveys.