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South Dakota Mining Company Approved To Search For Gold In Northern Black Hills

A South Dakota mining company has been approved to search for gold and other minerals in the northern Black Hills. South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources has given the VMC, LLC rights to search in two private locations. But, as South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Jilanne Doom reports, the company hopes to uncover things other than just gold.

The state’s National Resources Engineering Director Mike Cepak says any company that comes in and fits the required statutes is generally approved by officials. The two areas VMC, LLC will explore are about six miles west of Lead and northeast of Ragged Top Mountain. While gold is their focus, Cepak says the company also mentioned retrieving samples for metallurgical and geochemical testing.

“They’re still primarily looking for gold, says Cepak. And what they’re doing is with the samples for the metallurgical testing, they’re just looking at the best way to extract the gold from the rock. And the geochemistry, they’re looking at what’s in the rock, like heavy metals and things like that, that might cause environmental problems later on. So they’re looking at those issues.”

Cepak says, while many permits have been approved over the years, some environmental groups still voice their opposition. Action for the Environment contacted the department with their concerns. Cepak says their opposition has been noted, but there are no opportunities for intervention. For South Dakota Public Broadcasting, I’m Jilanne Doom.