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June 19, 2017 09:24 AM

No Tax On Bentonite Mining In South Dakota

Belle Fourche (AP)

South Dakota has no tax on mining bentonite, even though neighboring states have generated millions of dollars from special taxes on the gray and tan clay.

Miners have been extracting bentonite from beneath South Dakota's soil for decades. State regulators are currently considering a company's application for additional bentonite mining northwest of Belle Fourche. Bentonite is used in numerous products, from cat litter to drilling fluid. It becomes a sticky paste when wet.

Sen. Gary Cammack can only venture a guess why the state doesn't tax bentonite. He says South Dakotans may think of bentonite as a useful mud more than a lucrative commodity.

Wyoming's special tax on bentonite generated $5.5 million last year.

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