Company renews mining effort in Spearfish Canyon

Zac Archer, Contributor

A mining company is once again attempting to obtain a permit to mine in Spearfish for gold.

VMC LLC’s manager, Don Valentine, previously sought to mine Spearfish Canyon for gold. The company has renewed their application for mining that will be presented and evaluated on Nov. 7 in front of the Lawrence County Planning and Zoning Board, according to the Rapid City Journal.

VMC LLC Mining Company states on the new application that they will move the mining site back 500 feet from the canyon’s edge. This potential project, called the Deadwood Standard Project, would be a cyanide leach gold mine that would be located on lands that the State of South Dakota has classified as special, exceptional, unique or critical.

Black Hills locals are worried about the Deadwood Standard Project due to the track record of cyanide leach mining. South Dakota’s Wharf mine, for example, has an extended history of cyanide spills and water quality violations, according to Earthworks. Another major superfund site in South Dakota is the Brohm (Gilt Edge) cyanide leach mine, which has severe acid mine drainage.

Currently, VMC LLC is not performing any mining, but has conducted exploratory drilling in the area. The company has been fined for drilling deeper than they were allowed and not producing the correct paperwork for the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.