Who owns the west?

Mining claims in Lawrence County

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The hardrock mining industry owns gold, silver, and other precious metals and minerals beneath an estimated 9,754 acres of U.S. public land in Lawrence County, 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 Lawrence County

• Total number of claim-holders: 84

• Acres of public land claimed by the mining industry, estimated: 9,754 (975 typical city blocks)

• 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: 44%

• 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 Lawrence County 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 Gold Corp Inc World HQ in Canada 174 3,595 1981 to 1998
2 St Joe Richmond Hill Elko, NV 47 971 1980 to 1987
3 Pete Lien & Sons Inc Rapid City, SD 38 783 1965 to 1995
4 Barrick Gold Corporation World HQ in Canada 35 723 1983 to 2003
5 Bond Gold Richmond Elko, NV 29 599 1987 to 1989
6 Charles E Mckinney Spearfish, SD 3 360 1996 to 2001
7 Richard F Brandiger Rapid City, SD 6 300 1987 to 1995
8 Kirk E Smith Newcastle, WY 4 240 2001 to 2002
9 Donna Shrader Newcastle, WY 4 240 2001 to 2002
10 Richard E Hubbard Sundance, WY 2 240 1995 to 1997
See all claim holders in Lawrence County

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


Examples of Mines in Lawrence County

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

Source: EWG analysis.



Source: EWG analysis of Bureau of Land Management's Land and Mineral Records 2000 (LR2000) data system. For claims, acreages are estimated based on maximum allowable size of claims. For patents, acreages are taken directly from the LR2000 database where available, and are estimated based on maximum allowable size of claim that preceded the patent where acreages are not noted in LR2000. All notices are assumed to be five acres in size, and the size of plans are calculated directly as the size of the land represented by the legal land description in the LR2000 database. The acreages we estimate through these methods would tend to overestimate the actual amount. We welcome corrections here, and would welcome a federal data management system that included the acreages involved in these important federal land transactions.