Minerals and Mining Program
Powertech (USA), Inc. - Exploration and Mine Permits
Powertech (USA), Inc. is a uranium company that plans to develop an in situ uranium mining operation in Custer and Fall River Counties in southwestern South Dakota (see Powertech's web site at http://www.powertechuranium.com. In 2007, the Board of Minerals and Environment issued Powertech a uranium exploration permit for the area. Powertech submitted an additional uranium exploration application in July 2008. The company has also started the process to obtain a large scale mine permit application. In August 2008, Powertech submitted a Request for Determination of Special, Exceptional, Critical, or Unique Lands and Notice of Intent to Mine, which is the first step in the mine permit process. In April 2009, the Board of Minerals and Environment determined the proposed mine area did not have special, exceptional, critical, or unique characteristics.
Powertech submitted a large scale mine permit application on October 1, 2012. The department completed its review of Powertech's mine permit application and supplemental information and determined it was procedurally complete on January 16, 2013. On April 15, 2013, the department recommended conditional approval of Powertech's permit application. A contested case hearing on Powertech's mine permit application was held before the Board of Minerals and Environment from September 23-27, 2013 in Rapid City, SD.
The hearing was continued to the week of November 11-15, 2013. However, the Board of Minerals and Environment issued an Order postponing the hearing until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have ruled and set the federal surety, and the state Water Management Board has decided the water rights. The Order further states that until those areas are completed “…the BME cannot conditionally approve the permit and fulfill its statutory duties.”
Powertech needs several local, state and federal permits before proposed in situ uranium mining can begin near Edgemont in southwestern South Dakota.
In 2011, the South Dakota Legislature tolled (put on hold/suspended) the in situ leach mining rules (ARSD 74:29:11). As a result, Powertech is not required to comply with the rules.
To help disseminate information on these environmental permits, DENR will post the following permit applications submitted by Powertech on this page and will provide updates on the status of DENR reviews of the applications. Please click on the type of permit application you are interested in:
Special, Exceptional, Critical or Unique Land Determination
DENR's Mine Permit Application File
Uranium Question and Answer Fact Sheet
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