Canadian company drills for gold near Rochford

ROCHFORD, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Despite protests, a Canadian mining company has begun test drilling for a prospective gold mine in the Black Hills, near Rochford.

In its first phase of drilling on private land, Mineral Mountain Resources of British Columbia, says it plans to drill some 12 holes no deeper than 1,300 feet.

The company says in some of its promotional materials that it envisions a new "Homestake Mine" in the central hills. That has stirred some people to oppose it.

“If this gold mine comes in, not only are they going to destroy the wildlife habitat but they're 90 percent likely to destroy the water here too,” John Hopkins of Rochford said. “Yes, I'm real concerned about the potential gold mining in the Black Hills.”

Hopkins is actively working to recruit more people to his effort to thwart the mining; although he concedes the company is acting within the law and within its rights.

A small camp of Native Americans has popped up near the mining activity to protest what they say is a violation of Sioux treaty rights to the Black Hills.

“This is going to damage the water that goes into Rapid City and I'd hate to see the people of Rapid City suffer,” Wasu Duta of the Santee Sioux said. “That's poison that they're bringing up.”

Not everyone is upset to see the new mining activity, including one Rochford resident who points out this state was built in part on mining.

“If you’d had this same idea back in them days to shut everything down you wouldn't be enjoying the things that you do today. So therefore I'm in 100 percent in favor of the mining company,” Roy Schiefer proclaimed.