Proposed mine in Bear Lodge District draws concern from locals - KOTA Territory News

Proposed mine in Bear Lodge District draws concern from locals

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The proposed plan to construct a mine, processing plant and waste storage facility in the Bear Lodge District of the Black Hills National Forest, has got some concerned. Minerals mined would be those used in cell phones, TV's, lasers and wind turbines.

The Black Hills National Forest and the mining company Rare Elements Resources put on an informational meeting Wednesday to discuss their proposed plan to begin mining on land 12 miles north of sundance wyoming.

The mine area would be about 1,700 acres, and exploration and mining is expected to last for 43 years.

But some are concerned about how the project will affect residents in the area, as well as wildlife and the overall environment.

Ashleigh Smith, a senior at Black Hills State, says there are many factors involved in a project like this. "There's a lot of acting, with the dollar bill always being the bottom line, so I think that it's great for us to take into account sociological and environmental perspectives as well because if we don't take that into account now it'll be dire later," said Smith.

Steve Hunnt, a local rancher, says he has many concerns about the planned mine. "My concerns are toxic and chemical fall out that could affect humans and wildlife in the area and especially water," said Hunnt.

The public meetings are a part of an environmental impact study the National Forest Service is conducting on the project.

A final decision to go ahead with the mining operation is expected to be made by spring of 2016.

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