A reminder to all issuers—both large and small—that own or operate any mine in the United States: The Securities and Exchange Commission's rules for mine safety disclosure took effect Jan. 27. The mine safety disclosure rules implement Section 1503 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Under the new rules, public companies that are operators—or have a subsidiary that is an operator—of a coal or other mine must disclose the following in all of its quarterly or annual reports:

  • The total number of health or safety violations the operator received citations for;
  • The total number of orders  for failures the mine has received from the Mine Health and Safety Administration, under numerous sections of the Mine Act;
  • Any warnings of patterns of failure to abide by health and safety rules for mine operations;
  • The total number of mining-related fatalities;
  • A summary of pending legal action from the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

Additionally, mine operators must also file a Form 8-K disclosure for the following two circumstances:

  • An imminent-danger order issued by the MHSA under Section 107 of the Mine Act:
  • Any warning from the MHSA that the mine either has a pattern of health or safety violations, or has the potential for such a pattern.

The required Form 8-K must be filed within four business days after the company receives one of the specified orders or notices, and it must include disclosure about the type of notice received, the date it was received, and the name and location of the mine involved.

The SEC additionally released a compliance guide for small mine operators, summarizing the final rules' requirements.  In that guidance, the SEC clarified: “The new rules do not require any particular presentation for the information, but the SEC encourages companies to use tables whenever possible if doing so would make the information easier for investors to understand.”

The SEC said the Division of Corporation Finance is available to assist small companies and others with questions regarding the amendments by going to: https://tts.sec.gov/cgi-bin/corp_fin_interpretive.