PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A state panel is considering an expansion request from South Dakota’s last large-scale gold mine

The South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment planned to start hearing arguments on Thursday for what’s called the Boston Expansion at the Wharf Resources mine near Lead in Lawrence County.

Wharf applied to the state Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources for the permit. The company originally filed on June 12, 2022. After three rounds of changes, DANR’s Roberta Hudson declared the application complete on March 10, 2023

DANR Secretary Hunter Roberts formally recommended conditional approval of the permit on April 17, 2023.

Letters formally supporting the expansion came from a variety of government and business organizations, including the Lawrence County Commission and Black Hills State University. A handful of opponents sent correspondence against the expansion.

One of the opponents, Carla Marshall of Rapid City, then petitioned to intervene on April 25, 2023. She said the area is unceded treaty territory under the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty and wants government-to-government consultation and cultural surveys to be completed. She cited other concerns such as water pollution.

According to DANR’s summary, “The proposed 48.2 acre expansion involves mining to the south of Wharf’s existing open pit gold mining operation. Topsoil will be stripped and stockpiled for use during concurrent and final reclamation. Waste rock will be used to backfill mine pits. Ore will be processed through cyanide heap leach methods. The proposed postmining land use is woodland grazing.”

KELOLAND News plans to cover the hearing.