50-72-202. Inspections and investigations — when authorized. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), as long as the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 is administered and enforced with respect to metallic and nonmetallic mines in Montana by means that include regular inspection of mines by federal inspectors, the department is not authorized to make inspections in those mines. If inspections of Montana metallic and nonmetallic mines by federal inspectors in the enforcement of the federal act are discontinued by federal action, the department is authorized to make inspections and investigations that are necessary in surface and underground mines that are subject to this chapter:

(a) for the purpose of obtaining, using, and disseminating information relating to health and safety conditions in mines, the causes of accidents involving bodily injury or loss of life, or the causes of occupational diseases originating in surface and underground mines; and

(b) for the purpose of determining whether or not there is compliance with a health and safety standard or order issued under this chapter.

(2) The department is authorized to make inspections and investigations with respect to sand and gravel mining operations for the purposes prescribed under subsections (1)(a) and (1)(b).