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Mining claims in South Dakota

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The hardrock mining industry owns gold, silver, and other precious metals and minerals beneath an estimated 22,036 acres of U.S. public land in South Dakota, resources worth millions of dollars a year, acquired for as little as $0.84 per acre and held in perpetuity for a yearly rental fee as low as $0.62 an acre. Under a 132-year-old law originally intended to spur development of the West, an industry dominated by a handful of multinational corporations pays no federal royalties, and leaves behind a landscape of dramatically diminished value, scarred with tunnels, pits, and toxic waste piles.

Quick facts about mining claims in South Dakota

• Total number of claim-holders: 178

• Acres of public land claimed by the mining industry, estimated: 22,036 (18 times Mount Rushmore National Memorial (1278 acres))

• Dollars paid for each acre: as little as $0.84, and as little as $0.62 yearly rental fee

• Reimbursement to the federal government for gold, silver and other precious metals taken from public land: $0

• Percentage of claims held by foreign companies: 20%

• Land area ever claimed by the mining industry nationally, estimated: 79 million acres (the size of New Mexico)

EWG analysis of data compiled by the Bureau of Land Management.

Top Mining Claim Owners in South Dakota Ranked by Acres Claimed

Companies have been consolidated to account for subsidiaries. View this table without consolidation.

 Company/IndividualHeadquartersNumber of ClaimsAcreage ClaimedDate(s) Filed
1 GCC Dacotah Inc Rapid City, SD 200 4,000 2002
2 Gold Corp Inc World HQ in Canada 174 3,595 1981 to 1998
3 Pete Lien & Sons Inc Rapid City, SD 65 1,332 1965 to 2001
4 AMCOL International Corp Arlington Heights, IL 45 1,140 1920 to 1985
5 St Joe Richmond Hill Elko, NV 47 971 1980 to 1987
6 Barrick Gold Corporation World HQ in Canada 35 723 1983 to 2003
7 Bond Gold Richmond Elko, NV 29 599 1987 to 1989
8 Pacer Corp Custer, SD 26 537 1994 to 2003
9 Wee Trista Ter Spearfish, SD 4 480 1996
10 Wee Travis Ter Spearfish, SD 4 480 1996
See all claim holders in South Dakota

Some of the claimants in this table may be in partnership with other individuals or companies with a claim to the same land.


Counties in South Dakota Ranked by Acres Claimed

 CountyNumber of ClaimsEstimated Acreage  
1 Lawrence County 405 9,754 details map
2 Custer County 301 6,128 details map
3 Pennington County 151 4,139 details map
4 Butte County 45 1,140 details map
5 Fall River County 28 695 details map
6 Meade County 8 160 details map
7 Harding County 1 20 details map


Examples of Mines in South Dakota

Name of MineLocation of MineMine StatusMetal MinedOwner or Parent Company of Owner
The Wharf MineLawrence County, SDOpenGoldGold Corp.
Gilt Edge (brohm Mine)Lawrence County, SDClosedGoldDakota Mining Company
Golden Reward MineLawrence County, SDClosedGoldWharf Resourced Ltd./Dakota Mining Corp
Homestake Gold MineLawrence County, SDClosedGoldBarrick Gold Corporation

Source: EWG analysis.