Mineral Exploration Operation conducted by Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc.
Exploration Notice of Intent. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) received an application for a Notice of Intent to Conduct Mineral Exploration Operation on April 21, 2017, from Mineral Mountain Resources Ltd. in accordance with South Dakota Chapter 45-6C. Under the Notice of Intent, the company will conduct only exploration drilling for gold and associated minerals on private land located in the West half of Section 24, and the Northwest quarter of Section 25, Township 2 North, Range 3 East. Exploration drilling was previously conducted in the general area by four other companies. All drill holes will be plugged as required under state regulations, and all surface disturbance will be reclaimed. After reviewing the Notice of Intent, it was found to be procedurally complete, and DENR issued a restriction letter on June 9, 2017. The Notice of Intent to Conduct Mineral Exploration was transferred to Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc. by the Board of Minerals and Environment on January 18, 2018. The Exploration Notice of Intent does NOT allow mining. In the event the company decides to pursue a mining project, a mining permit is needed which requires public notice and the opportunity to petition and participate in a contested case hearing.
- Notice of Intent to Conduct Mineral Exploration Operation
- Amendment to Notice of Intent to Conduct Mineral Exploration
- Exploration Notice of Intent (EXNI 427) Restriction Letter
- Board Hearing on Transfer of Approval to Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc
- Board Approval of Transfer to Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc
- Map of Exploration Area
Temporary Permit to Use Water. Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc. also applied for a temporary permit on December 19, 2017, to use water from Rapid Creek for mining exploration purposes as required by South Dakota Codified Law 46-5-40.1. After reviewing the application for a temporary permit, the chief engineer issued a temporary permit with qualifications on January 2, 2018, with an expiration date of May 1, 2018. The temporary permit allows use of up to 1.8 million gallons of water at a pump rate of 200 gallons per minute for exploration drilling for testing to assess mineral potential. Monthly reporting of the amount of water pumped is to be provided to the chief engineer and will be posted to this webpage. The temporary permit does NOT allow water use for production mining. In the event that production mining is pursued, a regular water right permit would be needed which requires public notice and the opportunity to petition and participate in a contested case hearing.
- Application for Temporary Permit (including map) received Dec 19, 2017
- Temporary Permit with Qualifications issued Jan 02, 2018
- Application for another Temporary Permit (including map) received Apr 05, 2018 (see Project Status Updates section below for more information)
- Withdrawal of April 5, 2018, Application for Temporary Permit received Apr 30, 2018
Questions and Answers About the Project. If you have a particular question or concern concerning Mineral Mountain's exploration activities under EXNI-427 or the temporary water right, an answer may be found in the Mineral Mountain EXNI-427 and Temporary Permit for Use of Public Water Q&A Summary.
Appeal of Transfer of Notice of Intent to Conduct Mineral Exploration. The final decision of the Board of Minerals and Environment transferring Exploration of Notice of Intent EXNI 427 from Mineral Mountain Resources LTD, to Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc. has been appealed to the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court in Pennington County. The original appeal was filed in Hughes County and later revised to Pennington County along with the addition of one plaintiff. A Statement of Issues on Appeal was also filed with the court.
Project Status Updates
- June 14, 2018. Mineral Mountain resumed exploration drilling the week of June 4. Drilling on the fourth hole was completed, and the hole was plugged on June 12. The hole plugging was witnessed by a DENR inspector, and no problems were encountered plugging the hole. After the hole was plugged, Mineral Mountain began moving its drill rig to another drill pad. Source: DENR
- Apr 30, 2018 DENR has been notified by legal counsel for Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc that alternative arrangements have been made for a water supply and the pending April 5, 2018, application to use water from Rapid Creek is withdrawn. Read the withdrawal letter and DENR's press release.
- Apr 25, 2018 -- update regarding April 5, 2018, Application for Temporary Permit to Use Water
A number of requests have been received by DENR requesting that the Chief Engineer either deny the application or defer issuance of the temporary permit to the Water Management Board to allow for a public hearing by the board. Administrative Rule of South Dakota 74:02:01:34 gives the authority to the Chief Engineer to defer issuance of a temporary permit and present the application to the Water Management Board for action. As requested, the Chief Engineer is deferring the decision to the Board on this pending application. Therefore, the May 2 & 3, 2018, agenda of the Water Management Board includes an administrative item requesting the Board to set a date and location to consider the temporary permit application from Mineral Mountain Resources. The Chief Engineer will suggest the Board set a hearing date in Rapid City, but the Board will make the final decision on when and where to meet. If the Board sets the date and location, a meeting room will be secured, and the public will be notified of the date, time, and place of the Board meeting by posting the details on the DENR One-Stop Public Notice webpage, on this webpage, and by press release.
- Apr 06, 2018. DENR received a temporary permit application to use water from Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc. on April 5, 2018.
- SDCL 46-5-40.1 requires DENR to make decisions on applications for a temporary permit based on impacts to downstream senior water rights.
- DENR established the expiration date of May 1, 2018, on the current temporary permit issued to Mineral Mountain Resources to enable a review of Rapid Creek flows and the water levels in Pactola Reservoir before the irrigation season begins because senior water rights downstream are held by the irrigation ditches in Rapid City and Rapid Valley. Consequently, DENR will not make a decision on this new application from Mineral Mountain Resources until closer to the May 1, 2018, date. Source: DENR
- Apr 04, 2018. Total water usage in March 2018 is 234,629 gallons. Source: Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc
- Mar 30, 2018. On March 28, 2018, Mineral Mountain finished plugging two holes which were drilled from the same pad. Both plugging operations were successful and witnessed by a DENR inspector. This brings the total holes drilled and plugged under Exploration Notice of Intent 427 to three. Mineral Mountain will temporarily shut down drilling operations due to spring thaw and muddy conditions. Mineral Mountain reports that drilling operations may resume in May. Source: DENR
- Mar 16, 2018. As of 7:00 PM, Mar 9, water usage for the month of March is 60,428 gallons, total usage is 288,303 gallons. Source: Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc
- Mar 09, 2018. Drilling on the second hole continues. No problems noted. Source: DENR
- Mar 06, 2018. Total water usage in February 2018 is 227,875 gallons. Source: Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc
- Feb 27, 2018. Drilling on the first hole was completed, and the hole was plugged with a bentonite grout. The hole did not encounter any aquifers or water sources. The hole plugging was witnessed by a DENR inspector, no problems were encountered plugging the hole. After the hole was plugged, Mineral Mountain began moving its drill rig to another drill pad. Source: DENR
- Feb 22, 2018. As of Tuesday morning, Feb 20, water usage is 136,758 gallons. Source: Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc
- Feb 20, 2018. Drilling continued over the weekend. DENR on-site inspectors reported no problems. Source: DENR
- Feb 15, 2018. Drilling continues. Source: Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc
- Feb 14, 2018. Drilling continues. Source: DENR
- Feb 13, 2018. Mineral Mountain Resources begins drilling. Source: Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc
- Feb 12, 2018. The lines froze yesterday afternoon soon after priming the pump. Virtually no work accomplished and drill was quiet last night. Another attempt will be made to unfreeze the waterline this afternoon, prime the pump and hopefully drill tonight. Source: Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc
- Feb 09, 2018. Pump has been placed in the vicinity of the water withdrawal site with pumping to begin late morning on Sunday, Feb 11, including a possible night shift. Source: Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc
- Feb 07, 2018. Mineral Mountain Resources begins mobilizing equipment to the site. Mineral Mountain unloading heavy equipment on Rochford Road to move safely across Rapid Creek bridge on Bloody Gulch Road. Source: US Forest Service
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