Rochford residents unhappy about continued drilling for gold mining project

Published: May. 25, 2018 at 9:25 PM MDT
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"This is public land, it doesn't belong to any commericial outfits I know of, and my real question at this point is why are we giving it away period to anybody?" asked John Hopkins.

John Hopkins is one of the few residents in Rochford, South Dakota and one of those concerned there about the gold project they believe is taking over their town.

The project carried out by Mineral Mountain Resources spans over approximately 7,500 acres surrounding the Homestake Gold Belt that underlines the town's history. On the other side of it is a drill site known as a Standby Mine Target, one of the private areas purchased by the company.

"They have permission to drill up to 120 holes in here up to 5,000 ft. deep in each one of them," Hopkins continued.

He says what is stopping the company now is the lack of water to support their drilling but says they have another plan which he believes to be high-risk.

"If they wind up getting water and they're going to have to haul it in, you can imagine trucks coming down through this territory here and tearing up the roads," Hopkins expressed.

Apprehensive about the drilling and the use of private and public lands being used for the project, he says it's an all around bad idea.

"It means open pit, it means thousand of tons of ore taken off the hill every day, it means no employee to speak of, it's very manpower unintensive, and it will destroy the habitat and it will destroy the habitat for elk,deer turkey, fox, mountain lions, I've even seen a timber wolf out here."

Mineral Mountain Resources said in a news release that the remaining nine holes of its twelve-drill program is scheduled to resume within the next week. Mineral Mountain did not return a call requesting comment on the project on Friday. Hopkins argues that the continued drilling is an action that is unnecessary for the area.

"There are other ways to properly use the forest and still create revenue for the state, I just don't want to see miners out," he concluded.