Proposed exploration drilling project has local people concerned

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 6:57 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - On June 8 forest officials are asking for public comment on a proposed exploration drilling project, the comments will be considered in the final decision by the U.S. Forest Service. The site is on forest service land just south of Nemo.

Pete Lien and Sons Inc. submitted a proposal in April 2021 to search for iron-bearing minerals near Nemo. The proposed project would include up to 32 exploratory drilling sites.

“So the entire area of disturbance is expected to be roughly, you know one and a quarter acre. Each drill platform would be roughly 30 by 50 feet and then the holes themselves are only about three inches in diameter,” said Chris Stores, a natural resources planner with the Northern Hills Ranger District. “So, the amount of disturbance into the ground is really pretty small into the overall project area.”

The project’s goal is to find what lies beneath the surface. While Pete Lien and Sons have claims for below ground, the U.S. Forest Service manages the surface and will make the final decision.

Before any mining could be done, Pete Lien and Sons would have to start the permit process over again, “If they did reach a point where they found a sufficient amount of material, where they wanted to go into extraction or mining, that would require them (Pete Lien and Sons) to start this whole process over again. They’d have to submit a new plan of operations for mining activities, we would have to do a whole separate, more in-depth environmental analysis. So, we are really just in phase one right now, the exploratory phase.”

The proposed project just outside of Nemo has some people concerned about the potential effects on their community.

Justin Hand, a homeowner in Nemo said, “You know I’ve been in the mining industry for 17 years and that’s some of my concerns that I’ve seen through the years. You know with like reclamation and people are going to be affected differently, with the trucks traveling down the road and the dust. You know we have a lot of people, a lot of tourists come out here for the trail rides and stuff. I mean that’s another concern; we have a lot of people out here in the summertime.”

People around Nemo have questions about the changes that could be made to their surroundings like roads, traffic, and air quality, and The Northern Hills Ranger District are asking for their comments and concerns.

Join the U.S. National Service, Pete Lien and Sons, and the drilling company on June 8 from 5:30-7:30 pm.

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