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Company plans exploratory drilling for gold in Black Hills

Mineral Mountain Resources
An exploratory drilling rig operating in the Black Hills.

Another company wants to drill holes in search of Black Hills gold.

Dakota Territory Resource Corp., which has an office in Lead, filed a drilling plan earlier this month. The plan is publicly available on the website of the state Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The drilling sites are a few miles northwest of the Lead-Deadwood area in the northern Black Hills. The company wants to drill as many as 10 holes at seven drill pads on privately owned land, for a total of 70 holes. The depth or length of the holes could reach 10,000 feet.

Exploratory drilling produces core samples that are studied for their gold content, to determine whether an area might be a good candidate for a mine. After drilling, the holes must be plugged, and the drilling areas must be returned to a natural-looking state.

No permit is needed to conduct exploratory drilling on private land in South Dakota. A company only needs to file a notice of its intent to drill. State regulators can impose restrictions on the drilling.

Dakota Territory joins at least three other companies already exploring or planning to explore for gold in the Black Hills.

Mineral Mountain Resources has been drilling near Rochford since 2018. Another company, Agnico Eagle, has been drilling at the old Gilt Edge Mine, which is the subject of an ongoing cleanup led by the Environmental Protection Agency. If the company likes what it finds, it might seek a permit to re-mine the site.

F3 Gold has a pending plan to drill on Forest Service land near Silver City. The F3 plan, which is the subject of a draft environmental assessment, has faced opposition from critics who say the drilling could lead to a mine that would threaten nearby Pactola Reservoir and the broader Rapid Creek watershed with pollution.

Miners have been producing gold from the Black Hills continuously since the 1870s, and the former Homestake Mine in Lead was one of the most productive gold mines in the world. Currently the only active, large-scale gold mine in the Black Hills is the Wharf Mine near Terry Peak and Lead.

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