Black Hills Threatened by Mining

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Black Hills Threatened by Mining

Date: 05/23/2023     State: SD     Issues: Mining, Watersheds, Wild Lands     Partner: Arizona Mining Reform Coalition Airport Origin : Rapid City, SD    


Support community members and leaders advocating to protect the stunning Black Hills through a mineral withdrawal.

We examined the rugged region and the degradation caused by numerous mining operations, as well as the further threat of proposed large-scale mining. Mineral extraction harms the Black Hills and threatens drinking water, culturally significant lands, and recreational opportunities.

The Black Hills contain stunning cliffs, crystal-clear lakes, forested mountains, and the tallest U.S. peak east of the Rockies.

HeSapa or Paha Sapa refers to the Black Hills in Lakota.  This unique landscape is the ancestral territory of the Lakota people who have an ancient spiritual connection to the Black Hills.  Other indigenous peoples of the region also hold the HeSapa in deep reverence. 

Mining in the Black Hills National Forest near the Rapid Creek poses massive risks of pollution to the drinking water of Rapid City, a community that is largely opposed to this mining. Hundreds of people recently attended a public input meeting hosted by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management in opposition of the mining. Concerns focused specifically on Minnesota-based F3 Gold's project. The proposed project would begin with 39 exploratory drill sites in the heart of these precious public lands, beloved for wildlife viewing, recreation, and solitude.

There is widespread community support for a 32 square mile mining ban that would protect Pactola Reservoir and public lands near Rapid Creek from proposals like F3 Gold's. If approved, the mineral withdrawal would protect 20,574-acres, about 10% of the upper Rapid Creek drainage, from new mining claims and exploration. Many believe the proposed mineral withdrawal should be larger, protecting more of the watershed and the National Forest. EcoFlight's partners are working to protect drinking water, culturally important areas, and public lands from mining.

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