Unless clearly indicated otherwise by the context, as used in this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) AFFECTED LAND. The area of land from which overburden has been removed or upon which overburden has been deposited after October 1, 1970.
(2) CONTEMPORANEOUS. Occurring at the same time as a surface mining operation and in conjunction with the grading activities at the site.
(3) CONTIGUOUS. In actual contact, touching, as contrasted with being near but not in contact.
(4) DEPARTMENT. The Department of Industrial Relations of the State of Alabama or any department, bureau, or commission as may lawfully succeed to the powers and duties of the department relating to mining operations.
(5) DIRECT SEEDING. The planting of seeds by hand sowing, machine sowing, or aerial seeding.
(6) DIRECTOR. Director of the department or officer, bureau, or commission as may lawfully succeed to the powers and duties of the director.
(7) HIGHWALL. The unexcavated face of exposed overburden or mineral in an opencast mine or the face or bank on the uphill side of a contour surface mine excavation.
(8) INSPECTOR. Any authorized employee of the department under the direction of the director.
(9) OPERATOR. Any person, firm, partnership, association, or corporation engaged in or controlling one or more surface mining operations.
(10) OVERBURDEN. All of the earth and other materials which lie above natural deposits of clay, sand, gravel, ores, and other minerals except limestone, marble, and dolomite, and also the earth and other materials disturbed from their natural state in the process of surface mining.
(11) PEAK. A projected point of overburden created in the process of surface mining.
(12) PERMIT PERIOD. A one-year period commencing on the issuance of a permit to engage in surface mining.
(13) PERSON. Any natural person, firm, corporation, association, partnership, joint venture, or representative of any kind or any other group acting as a unit.
(14) PIT. A tract of land from which overburden has been or is being removed for the purpose of surface mining.
(15) RECLAMATION. The reconditioning or rehabilitation of affected land in accordance with the requirements of this article.
(16) REFUSE. All waste material, exclusive of overburden, directly connected with the mining, cleaning, or preparation of substances mined by surface mining.
(17) RIDGE. A lengthened elevation of overburden created in the process of surface mining.
(18) SETBACK. An undisturbed buffer strip adjacent to watercourses, lakes, easements, adjoining property, perimeter property lines, road rights-of-way, residences, or other features which could be adversely affected by mining.
(19) SURFACE MINING. The mining of clay, sand, gravel, ores, and other minerals except chert (or similar type pits from which construction materials are obtained, which involve five acres or less and do not involve excavation below the surrounding area in such a way as to create a pit that will accumulate water), limestone, marble, dolomite, and coal, by removing the overburden lying above natural deposits thereof and mining directly from the natural deposits thereby exposed or by mining directly from deposits lying exposed in their natural state.