Gold mining near Rochford faces tribal opposition

Published: Feb. 7, 2018 at 2:47 PM CST
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A Canadian company has secured permits to drill test holes for a possible gold mine near Rochford in the Black Hills and opposition is growing among tribal leaders and members in KOTA Territory.

Mineral Mountain Mining from Vancouver, Canada, has until May 1, to test the area to determine if a profitable mining operation could be built.

The proposed drilling site along Rapid Creek is very near the federal Indian Trust land known as Pe Sla that the Indians hold as sacred. Native leaders fear the mining activity would pollute the waters of the creek and cause other harm to the environment. They hold that the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty grants the tribes sovereignty over the Black Hills and say they have not given permission to Mineral Mountain.

They took their concerns to the Pennington County Commission this week.

"I'm here today to present a letter from our president, William Kindle, on behalf of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe to let the Pennington County Commissioners know that we are opposing Rochford mining activities on land adjacent to Pe Sla," said Phil Two Eagle from the Sicangu Lakota Treaty Council in Rosebud, S.D.

Added Regina Brave from Oglala, S.D: "I'm taking a treaty stand on this. The 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty is a nation-to-nation treaty. We are sovereign and we have every right to oppose this mining in the Black Hills."

Mineral Mountain says on its website that, "There are a number of clear opportunities in Rochford District, in the right geological setting that have not been systematically followed up." The company believes there could a profitable mine at the site.