Cheyenne River citizens plead against water permit for Pe’ Sla gold prospecting
Native Sun News
Native Sun News
PIERRE – South Dakota state officials announced on Nov. 13 that they will take testimony from four Cheyenne River Sioux tribal members who want to nix a permit for temporary use of Rapid Creek water in gold exploration near the sacred Pe’ Sla trust in the Black Hills.
Witnesses A. Gay Kingman, Steven C. Emery, James Picotte, and Robin Zephier filed a petition requesting the South Dakota Water Management Board refuse to approve the water application from Mineral Mountain Resources Ltd, because the Canadian owned company does not have the authority to explore for gold in South Dakota.
The plaintiffs lost a similar case they filed in state Circuit Court regarding the temporary water permitting for the gold prospecting, due to jurisdictional procedure arguments. The latest filing alleges that issuing a temporary water permit would be “arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to the laws of the state of South Dakota.”
The tribal members say that “the proposed water use and gold exploration will pollute or otherwise adversely affect the land, natural resources, and water in the Black Hills and will pollute or otherwise adversely affect the flow of water in Rapid Creek, which feeds Pactola Reservoir, which is the largest reservoir in the Black Hills and provides drinking water to residents and persons who visit Rapid City, South Dakota, and the proposed water use and gold exploration will cause noise and disruption and interfere with the solitude of the Black Hills.”
People who want to comment to the water board about the petition’s points must register with the state no later than Nov. 26. Testimony then will be received here in the state capital at a hearing open to the public on Dec. 5.
The Vancouver-based Mineral Mountain Resources Ltd. and its wholly owned subsidiary Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc. is prospecting for gold with its third temporary permit for the free use of public water from Rapid Creek since 2017.
Prospectors vow they will prove “North America’s Largest Gold Discovery” and promise it could produce the equivalent in pay-dirt of the record-setting, now defunct legendary nearby Homestake Gold Mine.
Phase I contractors punched and plugged nine of the 120 exploration holes the state has permitted them for prospecting in a 7,500-acre area of unceded 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty territory.
The results showed enough promise for them to proceed to the current Phase 2 in the same area, surrounding the historic former Standby Mine on the outskirts of Pe’ Sla and Rochford in Pennington County.
In the company’s report on “Phase 2 Mother Pilot Hole & Multiple Cross Cuts: Winter 2018-2019,” it claims the “world’s richest banded-iron-formation-hosted gold belt.”
Projected in this phase are a 4,000-foot deep pilot hole with cross cuts made by directional drilling to intersect high-grade zones, using this modern technology to offer investor savings.
However, the tribal members’ petition contends the state originally issued the mineral exploration permit to the foreign company when the company had no authority to do business in South Dakota, making both the exploration and the water permits illegal.
For the Oceti Sakowin, Pe’ Sla is the heart of the Black Hills and the center of the universe, reflected in the heavenly constellations, according to Oglala Sioux Tribe Natural Resources Director Kyle White. The exploration may impede access to Pe’ Sla and religious practices, he fears.
The hearing will be at 11 a.m. Central Time at the Floyd Matthew Training Center, Joe Foss Building, 523 E. Capitol Ave., in Pierre.
Talli Nauman is the Health & Environment Editor for the Native Sun News. Email: Talli Nauman at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, including registration to testify and the process for filing a petition, consult ****denr.sd.gov/wrimage/pub/MMRdecrulingrequest.pdf**.*