More steps taken for uranium mining project in the Black Hills

The EPA issued permits for the Dewey Burdock Project
The EPA has issued permits for the controversial project.
Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 7:01 PM CST
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BLACK HILLS, S.D. (KOTA) - The Environmental Protection Agency issued final permits for the Dewey Burdock In-Situ Uranium Mining project in Fall River and Custer counties.

This project would drill six-inch holes down to the ore body and bring up water that has uranium. The uranium is stripped out by adding oxygen. Mark Hollenbeck, the project manager for the Dewey-Burdock Project, said this process actually cleans the water while collecting a valuable element.

Hollenbeck said Insitu mining is much safer because humans would not be at risk. He also said, environmentally, there is minimal risk, and he said, to-date in the United States, this method has never impacted a source of drinking water.

“And as we go forward to reduce and more and more effort is made to reduce greenhouse gases, nuclear energy has to be part of that mix,” said Hollenbeck.

The Black Hills Clean Water Alliance opposes the Dewey Burdock Project and disapproves of the EPA’s permits. They said the site is unsuitable for the type of uranium mine, the EPA did not consult with tribal governments, and said there are other environmental concerns.

“There’s no compromising about uranium mining in the Black Hills because it’s radioactive and it’s toxic, and it spreads through water,” said Lilias Jarding, Ph.D., with the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance. “We already 169 old uranium mines that have been left laying open from the 50s, 60s and 70s.”

Hollenbeck said the United States produces about 20% of our electricity with nuclear power. The country consumes about 100 million pounds of uranium annually, most of which is imported from Canada, Australia Kazakhstan.

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