The Bureau of Land Management confirmed Wednesday that a Minneapolis gold exploration company does not have mining claims in the Black Elk Wilderness. 

Panic ensued Wednesday in many quarters of the Black Hills when it appeared mining claims had been filed in the Black Elk Wilderness, but it turned out to be a clerical error.

Wednesday afternoon, the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance issued a press release saying that based on its research, some mining claims staked by Minneapolis-based F3 Gold appeared to be in the federally protected wilderness area that includes Black Elk Peak. The Alliance told the Journal that the information was gleaned from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s online mining-claims database, the LR2000.

But F3 Gold told the Journal it had no mining claims in the Black Elk Wilderness. The company has instead been pursuing an exploratory drilling project in the Silver City area, which the Clean Water Alliance has criticized.

The Journal then contacted the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which cleared up the confusion.

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Lori “Chip” Kimball, of the BLM’s South Dakota Field Office in Belle Fourche, analyzed the information in LR2000 with the help of a BLM mining-claims office in Montana. They determined that someone in the BLM had typed incorrect information into the LR2000 database for some F3 Gold mining claims.

Someone had typed “S,” for south, instead of the correct “N,” for north, in the township portion of some of the legal descriptions, Kimball said.

The information is correct on the original claim documents, Kimball added, which means there are no actual F3 Gold mining claims in the Black Elk Wilderness. She said the information will be corrected in the online database.

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Contact Seth Tupper at seth.tupper@rapidcityjournal.com

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Enterprise Reporter

Enterprise reporter for the Rapid City Journal and author of "Calvin Coolidge in the Black Hills."