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Gold exploration project proposed southwest of Spearfish

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US Forest Service Sign

Forest Service, Department of Agriculture sign on U.S. Highway 16.

Solitario Zinc Corp. has submitted a proposal for gold exploration within the Black Hills National Forest.

The proposal is for the Golden Crest Exploration Drilling project for gold mineralization in locations southwest of Spearfish on National Forest System land.

According to a Friday news release from the Black Hills National Forest, the corporation has the legal mining claims in the area and a right to explore for sub-surface minerals on those claims, under the General Mining Law of 1872. The Forest Service must consider the plan of operations and determine the potential environmental impacts of the proposed action.

The proposed drill sites would be west of Spearfish Canyon, from the Big Hill area south to the Limestone Plateau. No drilling would occur within the canyon.

Up to 25 exploratory drilling sites are proposed for the exploration. Each drill site would measure about 25-by-75-feet for an estimated one acre. Drill holes would be about four inches in diameter and be drilled to a depth of about 1,300 to 1,600 feet. Some sites may have up to four additional angled holes from the same site.

Primary access would be along National Forest System roads and trails, primarily Tinton Road, Timber Gulch Road, Limestone North Road, Timon Road and FS motorized trails 8101 and 8051.

According to the release, all sites would be reclaimed following drilling activities. Project activities would take about two years and three months, and would include exploratory drilling.

There would be no mining, processing of ore or storage of tailings. If the corporation chooses to pursue mining, a new plan of operations and separate environmental analysis would be required.

The earliest date for the project to begin is late spring or early summer of 2023.

The Forest Service will hold a public open house from 5-7 p.m. Aug. 17 at Black Hills State University Joy Center in Spearfish. There will be no formal presentation given.

Comments on the project can be submitted through a form on the project website at and by mail to Attn: Golden Crest Project, Northern Hills Ranger District, 2014 North Main St., Spearfish, SD 57783 or via fax at 605-642-4156. Comments must be submitted by Sept. 2.

Questions about the project can be directed to Steve Kozel or Chris Stores by phone between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 605-642-4622.

The Black Hills National Forest is currently considering a separate exploratory drilling project in the Jenny Gulch area by F3 Gold. The department found the project would have no significant impact in its environmental analysis. The Rapid City Council approved a resolution Aug. 1 opposing the project.

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