(1) When a coal mining lease is
applied for on land where mining operations have been carried on by a former
lessee and there are surface or underground improvements on the land used at
the former operations, disposition of the improvements satisfactory to the
board shall be made before a new lease is issued. If the owner of such
improvement desires to sell the same to the new lessee, then the new lessee shall pay him the reasonable value thereof
to the extent they are suitable for the new mining operations. If they fail to agree on the value of
such improvements, then such value may be ascertained and fixed by 3
arbitrators, one of whom shall be appointed by the owner of the improvements,
one by the new lessee and the third by the 2 arbitrators so appointed.
(2) The reasonable
compensation that the arbitrators may fix for their services shall be paid in
equal shares by the owner of the improvements and the new lessee. The value of
the improvements so ascertained and fixed is binding on both parties. However,
if either party is dissatisfied with the valuation so fixed, he may within 10
days appeal from their decision to the department. The department shall examine
the improvements and its decision shall be final. The department shall charge
and collect the actual cost of the reexamination to the owner and the new
lessee in such proportion as in its judgment justice demands.
(3) Before the new lease
is issued, the applicant shall show to the satisfaction of the board that he
has paid the owner for the improvements as agreed upon between them or as fixed
by the aforesaid arbitrators or the department, that he has tendered payment
as so fixed, or that the owner desires to remove his improvements.