How does the uranium mining process work? - KOTA Territory News

How does the uranium mining process work?

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Some say it will affect their water, but others say it will bring more jobs to the area. The debate about whether or not to mine for uranium in the Southern Hills continues.

On Tuesday people heard from engineers, hydrologists, and geologists at the uranium hearing. Mining for uranium could come to land near Edgemont. If it does, how would the process work?  

"We use the water that's in the ground. We inject it with oxygen and carbon dioxide, which dissolves the uranium, and we pull it out of the ground," said Mark Hollenbeck, Powertech's Dewey–Burdock project manager.

Hollenbeck said the impact on the environment would be minimal.  

"This is the least invasive form of mineral extraction there is and that's one of the reasons I've endorsed it, supported it, and work here," said Hollenbeck.

Hollenbeck also said energy security is extremely important.  

"Nuclear power provides 20 percent of our electricity, yet we only produce about 7 to 10 percent of the uranium that we use in this country, so we're importing a huge amount of that energy and I think we need to be more energy independent."  

Those against the project are afraid mining uranium will contaminate their water.  

"There's been numerous incidents of uranium mining that is not safe, that goes unchecked. And really the State of South Dakota has a beautiful gift in the Black Hills. It's beautiful here. We have a great quality of life and I just don't want to see our water and our quality of life put at risk," said Nancy Hamack of Keystone.

The last day of the uranium hearings will be at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center on Friday, September 27.

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