RAPID CITY, S.D. – The U.S. Forest Service has given preliminary approval to a Minnesota company that wants to do some exploratory drilling for gold in South Dakota’s Black Hills.

The land involved is near the Pactola Reservoir in the Black Hills National Forest and is owned by the federal government.

Minneapolis-based F3 Gold has been seeking approval for its drilling project for several years. The Forest Service has now completed its final environmental assessment and issued a draft decision that would allow the drilling to move forward, but with numerous restrictions to protect cultural sites, water and other natural resources.

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