Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sacred Black Hills now a sacrifice zone

South Dakota is no stranger to ecocide because it's a way of life in the chemical toilet. Under the General Mining Act of 1872 even foreign miners have carte blanche to rape the Black Hills, so they are.

The Board of Minerals and Environment is an arm of the South Dakota Republican Party that ceded regulatory authority to the US Environmental Protection Agency for uranium mining after the legislature realized there is no competent oversight from state agencies. Acknowledging there will always be acid mine drainage in the Black Hills the board recently met in Pierre to announce its plans to continue the war on the Black Hills Gilt Edge Superfund site as EPA becomes a tool of the extraction industry.
With the Oglala Sioux Tribe set to argue Aug. 28-30 for its kind of protection of cultural resources from unprecedented uranium mining in the southern Black Hills, the tribal government and local groups urged members of the public to attend proceedings here and participate in a simultaneous outdoor cultural event to raise awareness about the issue. A panel of administrative judges from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) is supposed to be in town on these dates to hear from the tribe, the commission staff and intervenors in the case, which is focusing on the “reasonableness” of their divergent approaches to surveying tribal cultural, religious, and historical properties at the proposed 10,000-acre Dewey-Burdock in situ leach mine and mill. The slated project site is located on 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty land in Custer and Fall River counties adjacent to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and upstream on Cheyenne River tributaries, a factor that motivates appellants who have joined together as the Consolidated Intervenors. [OST ‘fighting back’ to protect Black Hills from uranium mine]
It’s been 38 years since attorney Mario Gonzalez filed the federal court case stopping payment of the Black Hills Claim award to the Oglala Lakota Nation. Gonzales contends that the commission charged to make peace with tribes inserted language into the Fort Laramie Treaty signed in 1868 that Red Cloud had neither seen nor agreed to in negotiations. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has passed resolutions condemning what they say are abuses of the General Mining Law of 1872 that led to the Custer Expedition's discovery of gold in the Black Hills.
The remaining life of the only large-scale, active gold mine in the Black Hills is estimated to be seven years, so its owner plans to drill 125 holes in search of more gold around the edges of a nearby mine that was closed for polluting water. The Wharf Resources project is one of several exploratory gold-drilling projects that are either ongoing or planned in the Black Hills. Canada-based Mineral Mountain Resources drilled in the Rochford area last year and hopes to do more drilling there; Minneapolis-based F3 Gold is working on the terms of an environmental assessment that could allow it to drill near Silver City; and Reno, Nev.-based Dakota Territory Resources Corporation has said it hopes to conduct drilling in the Lead area. [Rapid City Journal]
Rochford area residents say Vancouver-based Mineral Mountain Resources destroyed Black Hills National Forest Service Road 184A during their drilling of some 7,500 acres in the Homestake Gold Belt on public lands and at a private site known as the Standby Mine Target.

At least 23 prehistoric sites near Devils Tower National Monument in the Wyoming Black Hills, some of which are archaeological treasures eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, are also at risk to an 8000-acre expansion of Australia’s largest US aquifer uranium mining operation.


  1. "Wharf Resources, operator of the only functioning large-scale gold mine in the Black Hills, has filed (with the S.D. DENR) a Notice of Intent to do exploratory drilling in a new area close to the current mine.

    It is important to know that Wharf’s parent company is Coeur Mining of Chicago, and that its history of adherence to environmental protections is perhaps marginal. In one recent incident, Coeur Alaska was fined $534,500 by the EPA for violations including unauthorized discharge of acid rock drainage into a lake, failure to repair a containment structure, failure to conduct required monitoring, and many more. Mine water discharges can harm water quality and aquatic life by introducing high concentrations of toxic metals or by harming the sediment in which fish lay their eggs.

    Exploration and mining in the Black Hills should be of concern to citizens, as daily mining operations and accidents threaten drinking water, as well as fishing, recreation, tourism and agriculture. Of special concern are the exploratory permits being sought for the areas directly surrounding Pactola Reservoir, and a currently permitted area near Pe’Sla/Rochford.

    Concerned citizens should raise the alarm regarding these threats to the Pennington County Commission, and the state DENR.

    Carol Hayse

  2. Valentine Mining Company, LLC is resurrecting the zombie Deadwood Standard Project: Black Hills Pioneer.

  3. "A public meeting will be held on January 16, 2020 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm to discuss an exploratory gold drilling proposal by F3 Gold, LLC (F3). The meeting will be held at the Black Hills National Forest, Mystic Ranger District Office, 8221 S. Mt. Rushmore Rd., Rapid City, SD 57702.
    F3 is proposing the Jenny Gulch Exploration Drilling project (project). The project involves exploratory drilling in up to 42 locations north of Silver City, Pennington County, South Dakota in Sections 19, 30, 31, T2N R5E and Sections 13, 14, 24, 25, T2N R4E." [press release, Black Hills National Forest]


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