The Biden administration has come close to banning mining in South Dakota’s woodlands near cultural and natural resources for 20 years.
In a joint announcement on Friday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service said they would consider a 20-year evacuation of 20,574 acres in the Black Hills National Forest near the Pactola Reservoir and Rapid Creek watershed.Proposed action Prohibit new mining claims Issuance of a new two-year federal mineral lease while the agency considers the proposal.
“Whether in northern Minnesota, southern Arizona, Alaska, or now South Dakota, land restrictions of this sort by the anti-mining Biden administration would prevent domestic access to minerals needed for national defense, energy technology, and daily life. It’s impeding development,” Pete said. Stauber, R-Minnesota, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Natural Resources, Energy and Minerals, told Fox News Digital.
“We need to use the resources here with our employees instead of taking them offline,” he continued.
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The action could protect drinking water supplies in nearby Rapid City, South Dakota, and Ellsworth Air Force Base from the negative effects of mineral exploration and development, according to the announcement.
The two agencies will formally publish the proposal on March 21, beginning a 90-day public comment period during which stakeholders can comment on the action. Under federal law, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is authorized to revoke mining leases on public lands for up to 20 years.
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“BLM is pleased to be working with the USDA Forest Service on this effort,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning in a statement. “This proposal will help protect South Dakotan’s primary source of drinking water as the Forest Service evaluates her 20-year withdrawal.”
“We intend to investigate the possibility of clearing land in this area because any activity that could affect these important resources deserves a thorough investigation,” added Randy Moore, Forest Service Chief. rice field.
The potential 20-year exit comes amid a multi-year approval process for gold exploration projects in the area proposed by Minneapolis-based mining company F3 Gold. Months after the Forest Service issued a draft decision, the company was allowed to explore three acres and build some infrastructure under some restrictions after an extensive environmental review. rice field.
F3 Gold has pledged not to extract water from the Rapid Creek Basin or use hazardous chemicals, adding that it will not “start any projects” that pose risks to local water sources. It also made a series of land use and ecosystem management commitments.
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The company said its so-called Jenny Gulch Exploration Drilling Project will produce precious metals needed for green energy technologies such as solar panels, electric vehicle batteries, aerospace equipment and communications equipment.
“Gold is everywhere,” the company says on its website. “Its versatile properties make it an integral part of technology in nearly every sector of the U.S. economy, making it strategic and important to our future.”
In addition, several companies have expressed interest in conducting exploratory drilling in the region for lithium, another important component of electric vehicle batteries, and uranium, which is essential for zero-emission nuclear power. increase. Copper and silver deposits have also been found in the Black Hills.
“We agree that renewable energy is key to combating climate change, but we don’t think the Black Hills is a good place for a new, large-scale mine,” said local eco group Black Hills Energy. The Clean Water Alliance said on its website. “And mining is a major contributor to carbon emissions and climate change. The Black Hills are ecologically, culturally and historically unique and home to the Lakota Convention.”
“Current local economies based on agriculture, tourism, and outdoor recreation are far more prosperous than those based on mining, and are far less damaging to local lands, wildlife, and water.”
In a statement on Friday, the BLM and Forest Service acknowledged that “responsible development of the country’s mineral supply is critical to the transition to a clean energy economy”, but it is also important to protect natural resources. I said yes.
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Overall, the US produced about 170 tonnes of gold in 2022 despite its vast reserves of precious metals, federal data showed. By comparison, China has mined 330 tonnes of her gold, surpassing all other countries’ production levels for the second year in a row.
The International Energy Agency has repeatedly warned that aggressive green energy targets will only be met if countries strengthen their critical mineral supply chains. Green energy technologies such as electric vehicle batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines rely on lithium, cobalt, copper, nickel, graphite, zinc, and precious metals such as gold and silver.