City council votes to pass resolution opposing gold exploration in Black Hills

RAPID CITY, S.D.  The city council voted to pass a resolution brought up by a member of a water activist group to oppose an F3 Gold exploratory drilling project near the Rapid Creek watershed and Pactola Reservoir on Feb. 3. 

The resolution was brought up by Lilias Jarding, an activist of the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance. Jarding fears exploratory gold mining would gravely affect the city’s main water source. Voices were present, especially those of the South Dakota School of Mines faculty, students, and alumnito speak out against the resolution claiming the environmental impact to be minimal and the overall benefits to be fruitful to the community. 

Thirty-one people submitted speaker request forms. Normally, each person who does this receives three minutes to speak for their cause. Mayor Steve Allender calculated this to be around an hour and a half of speaking. 

The council passed a motion to suspend the rule of giving each person who put in a speaking request form three minutes each to instead give ten minutes collectively to each the pro and con side of the resolution. 

“Everyone understand that this is nothing personal, but…[we’re] trying to expedite this to save on a couple of hours of time here,” said Allender. 

Speakers against the resolution included Andrea Brickey, Quinn Neff, Jay Nopla, Crystal Hawking, Matthew Minick, Mark Bowron, and Larry Mann. 

 

The proponents of the resolution spoke directly after the ten minutes given to the opponents. 

Speakers as proponents of the resolution were Lilias Jarding, Rick Bell, Justin Harriman, Jerry Munson, and Denis Yellow Thunder. 

A question and answer session occurred between several council members and South Dakota School of Mines faculty, Bowron and Brickey, speaking as registered professional mining engineers. Hawking spoke as an expert in Black Hills hydrology. 

A vote of six to four passed the resolutionThe resolution doesn’t stop F3 Gold from doing exploratory mining, but it gives the city a stance on the exploratory drilling in the area.