(a) In addition to other reclamation plan requirements of this chapter and regulations adopted by the board pursuant to this chapter, a lead agency may not approve a reclamation plan for a surface mining operation for gold, silver, copper, or other metallic minerals or financial assurances for the operation, if the operation is located on, or within one mile of, any Native American sacred site and is located in an area of special concern, unless both of the following criteria are met:
(1) The reclamation plan requires that all excavations be backfilled and graded to do both of the following:
(A) Achieve the approximate original contours of the mined lands prior to mining.
(B) Grade all mined materials that are in excess of the materials that can be placed back into excavated areas, including, but not limited to, all overburden, spoil piles, and heap leach piles, over the project site to achieve the approximate original contours of the mined lands prior to mining.
(2) The financial assurance cost estimates are sufficient in amount to provide for the backfilling and grading required by paragraph (1).
(b) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Native American sacred site” means a specific area that is identified by a federally recognized Indian Tribe, Rancheria or Mission Band of Indians, or by the Native American Heritage Commission, as sacred by virtue of its established historical or cultural significance to, or ceremonial use by, a Native American group, including, but not limited to, any area containing a prayer circle, shrine, petroglyph, or spirit break, or a path or area linking the circle, shrine, petroglyph, or spirit break with another circle, shrine, petroglyph, or spirit break.
(2) “Area of special concern” means any area in the California desert that is designated as Class C or Class L lands or as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern under the California Desert Conservation Area Plan of 1980, as amended, by the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, pursuant to Section 1781 of Title 43 of the United States Code .
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