SOUTH DAKOTA Department of
Environment & Natural Resources

Protecting South Dakota's Tomorrow...Today!
Joe Foss Building
523 E Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501
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Minerals and Mining Program

Minerals and Mining Program

Mining Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need a mine permit to operate a dredge in South Dakota?

To operate any type of dredge in South Dakota to extract minerals such as gold, even for recreational purposes, an operator is required to obtain a mining permit.  Mine permits are also required for other mechanized equipment such as highbankers and heavy equipment.  To find out more about mine permits, click here.

If you use hand held equipment such as a pick, shovel, pan, metal detector, or sluice box for placer mining, no mine permit is required.  However, you are required to comply with South Dakota Water Quality Standards.  

You should be aware that a water right permit is required for placer mining activities.   However, some of the streams in the Black Hills have been fully appropriated.   Therefore, obtaining a water rights permit may not be possible.  For more information, contact the Water Rights Program.   


What state laws govern the filing of mining claims?

In addition to federal requirements, anyone filing a mining claim in South Dakota must comply with SDCL 45-4


Can you tell me if my stock certificate has any value?

Our office can review the history of the mining company on the certificate.  However, we cannot determine whether the stock certificate has any value.  You can contact the South Dakota Secretary of State office under "Corporations" to see if they have any information on the company.   It is possible that the company either went out of business or was absorbed by another mining company.  Even though the company may no longer exist, the stock certificate may have value as a collector's item.  Many coin stores buy stock certificates with unique art work.

To find out information on the stock certificate, contact Eric Holm.  


Where can I get a list of South Dakota mining operators?

You can either e-mail your name and address to Eric Holm or call (605) 773-4201 to request a list of mine operators in South Dakota.


Where can I find leasing or mineral rights information?

Although a valid lease is generally required before an oil or gas well permit, mine permit, mine license, or mineral or uranium exploration permit is issued, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources does not regulate or have any data pertaining to mineral rights, lease availability, or requirements for leasing state, federal, or private lands. The Register of Deeds office in the county where the property is located should have all the documents that have been filed in regard to the mineral rights on the land. You may also contact the following agencies for more information.

Federal Lands: United States Bureau of Land Management, Phone: 605-723-8714 (SD Office) or 406-896-5091 (MT Office)

Private Lands: Information available at each County Courthouse, Register of Deeds Office

State Lands: South Dakota Office of School and Public Lands, Phone: 605-773-3303


How do I maintain my severed mineral interests? How do I acquire the severed mineral rights underlying my property?

South Dakota Codified Law 43-30A is the South Dakota law pertaining to severed mineral estates and abandoned mineral interests.


Does the state of South Dakota have an abandoned mined land program?    

The DENR regulates the active mining industry, but does not have an abandoned mine reclamation program or funds to reclaim abandoned mine sites that warrant further cleanup attention.