PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A proposal to make lithium mining subject to South Dakota’s 4.5% severance tax is no more.
The Senate Taxation Committee voted 4-2 on Friday to kill the legislation, after hearing from state Department of Revenue official Jason Evans that HB 1072 was incomplete, even after several rounds of amendments, and that there’s time to work on a new version for next year.
Also testifying against it was South Dakota Mineral Industries Association president Kwinn Neff.
Republican Rep. Kirk Chaffee had worked to get the bill passed through the House last week on a 57-13 vote. He testified to the Senate committee Friday, rather than the lead Senate sponsor, Julie Frye-Mueller, who was censured earlier in the week for harassment of a legislative employee.
Among the major new uses for lithium-based batteries are cell phones, laptops and motor vehicles, according to Chaffee. There is one small lithium mine operating in the Black Hills. He said nine applications are pending.
Mike Lees, administrator of the state’s minerals, mining and Superfund program, said any of those would likely need five years or longer before production could start.