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Forest accepts comments on gold-exploration plan

A map of the proposed gold exploration drilling sites near Silver City
U.S. Forest Service
A map of the proposed gold exploration drilling sites near Silver City.

There may be gold near Silver City.

That's according to F3 Gold, a Minneapolis company that hopes to conduct exploratory drilling just north of the small Black Hills town.

The Black Hills National Forest is accepting formal public comments on the project's Draft Environmental Assessment until Oct. 22.

The one-year drilling project would be in the Jenney Gulch area, which feeds into the west end of Pactola Reservoir.

Drilling could be conducted 24 hours a day. The project includes up to 42 drill sites spread across 1,493 acres. The project would disturb up to 3.88 acres of land before reclamation.

The environmental assessment says the project could temporarily impact surface water, wildlife, noise levels, tourism and other aspects of the forest.

F3 Gold compares the disturbances to the damage caused by drilling a water well and says the land would be restored to a natural state by the reclamation process.

The company says it won't use dangerous chemicals or any water from the watershed.

Opponents to the project include the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance. The alliance fears a gold discovery will lead to actual mining, which could pollute drinking water from Pactola and Rapid Creek.

Comments can be submitted in multiple ways:

  • Email: comments-rocky-mountain- (add "Jenny Gulch Gold Exploration Drilling Project" in the subject line).
  • Mail: USDA Forest Service, ATTN: James Gubbels, 8221 S. Mount Rushmore Road, Rapid City, SD 57702
  • Phone: 605-343-1567
  • Fax: 605-343-7134
  • In person: Mystic District Office from Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Arielle Zionts, rural health care correspondent, is based in South Dakota. She primarily covers South Dakota and its neighboring states and tribal nations. Arielle previously worked at South Dakota Public Broadcasting, where she reported on business and economic development.
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