Minerals and Mining Program

 

VMC, LLC - Special, Exceptional, Critical, or

 

Unique Land Determination

 

 

VMC, LLC has submitted to DENR a "Request for Determination of Special, Exceptional, Critical, or Unique Lands and Notice of Intent to Operate" for a proposed large scale gold mine and processing facility. The proposed mining and processing area is located about seven miles west of Lead, SD.  The legal location of the proposed operation is portions of Sections 29, 30, 31, and 32; T5N-R2E, Lawrence County.  The Request is being submitted as the first step in obtaining a large scale mine permit for the mine and process facility.  The proposed operation, referred to as the Deadwood Standard Project, involves an open pit mining operation for gold.  VMC, LLC would excavate shallow flat-lying ore bodies from a limestone plateau in the upper portion of the Madison (Pahasapa) Limestone.  Ore would be transported to an on-site enclosed mineral processing facility where gold would be recovered.  The spent ore would be neutralized and used with overburden to backfill mined areas which would be reclaimed to approximate original contours.  The life of the mine is expected to be over 10 years, with an overall project life of 15 to 17 years.  The area will be reclaimed to wildlife habitat after mining is completed.

 

Any prospective mine operator is required under ARSD 74:29:10:02 to request the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to determine whether the lands included in the proposed mining operation have special, exceptional, critical, or unique attributes by submitting a notice of intent to operate to the department.  As part of the notice of intent to operate, the mine operator must include a detailed assessment on whether the lands in the proposed mining operation meet the following criteria of SDCL 45-6B-33.3:

 

     (1)  The land is so ecologically fragile that, once it is affected, it could not return to its former ecological role in the reasonable foreseeable future;
     (2)  The land has such a strong influence on the total ecosystem of which it is a part that even temporary effects felt by it could precipitate a system-wide ecological reaction of unpredictable scope or dimension; or
    (3)  The land has scenic, historic, archaeologic, topographic, geologic, ethnologic, scientific, cultural, or recreational significance.     

 

VMC, LLC will publish a notice notifying the public that is has submitted a notice of intent to operate to the department.  The public notice will indicate that any citizen, organization, or agency may nominate lands described in the notice of intent for inclusion on the preliminary list by submitting a nominating petition to the department complying with the requirements of ARSD 74:29:10:16 and ARSD 74:29:10:20 within 60 days after the publication date of the notice.  However, since the proposed mine site is already within the boundaries of the Spearfish Canyon Watershed which was placed on the Preliminary List of Special, Exceptional, Critical, or Unique Lands on March 5, 1991,  any new nominating petitions for this area need to specifically address the attributes or any unique characteristics of the site.  Also, portions of the proposed operation lie within the permit boundaries of Large Scale Mine Permit No. 416 and were under the mine permit by the effective date of ARSD 74:29:10 (special, exceptional, critical, or unique lands regulations) and are exempt from the provisions of this chapter until final reclamation has been completed and the reclamation surety has been released.  As a result, the lands covered under Mine Permit No. 416 will not be considered for inclusion on the preliminary list.    

 

Since the proposed mining operation is located within the Spearfish Canyon Watershed, which was placed on the preliminary list of special, exceptional, critical, or unique lands on March 5, 1991, a final determination on whether the lands should be designated as special, exceptional, critical, or unique will be made by the Board of Minerals and Environment during the hearing on VMC LLC's large scale mine permit application.  Any new nominating petitions will be considered at this hearing.  If the board designates the area as special, exceptional, critical, or unique, it will not necessarily preclude mining in the proposed area.  The board may require VMC, LLC to comply with special mine permit conditions to protect any special, exceptional, critical, or unique attributes of the area during mining.

 

DENR Status

  • On March 18, 2013, VMC, LLC submitted its Request for Determination of Special, Exceptional, Critical, or Unique Lands.  The department is currently reviewing the Request for Determination for completeness. 

 

VML, LLC's Request for Determination of Special, Exceptional, Critical, or Unique Lands and Notice of Intent to Operate

 

Request for Determination of Special, Exceptional, Critical, or Unique Lands and Notice of Intent to Operate Application Form, Cover Letter, General Mine Plan, and Special, Exceptional, Critical or Unique Assessment - (27,235 KB pdf) 

 

Note: As requested by the State Archaeologist office and in accordance with SDCL 1-20-21.2, the cultural report submitted with the Request for Determination which shows locations of archaeologic sites is considered confidential and is not available to the public.

 

 

 - March  18, 2013

          

 

VMC, LLC Correspondence

 

 

 

 

DENR Correspondence

 

DENR Comment Letter

 

 - March 26, 2013

 

   

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