In encouraging the Lawrence County Commission last summer to delay the Deadwood Standard Project's proposed Spearfish Canyon gold mine, Senator Stan Adelstein (R-32/Rapid City) said he planned to propose legislation to increase the bonding requirements on mining companies.
Senator Adelstein has placed that legislation in the hopper. He takes Senate Bill 141 to Senate Commerce and Energy tomorrow. SB 141 tightens accountability for South Dakota's mining companies in a variety of ways:
- SB 141 requires an applicant for a mining permit to deposit surety at twice the amount necessary to reclaim the affected land before receiving that permit.
- It expands additional financial assurance requirements from use of cyanide leaching or any other chemical or biological leaching process to include "any hazardous material" used in the extraction process.
- It defines the financial assurance required for the use of such hazardous extraction materials as "at least one hundred thousand dollars plus three times" the cost of cleaning up a spill of said materials (Stan! Check the language in section 2! You may need to add "any other hazardous material" after that line as well.)
- It adds a five-year review to ensure that the bond posted is still enough to satisfy these requirements.
Mining companies have left South Dakota holding the bag before on environmental clean-up of mine messes. Senate Bill 141 is a reasonable attempt to hold mining companies accountable the damage they may cause as they exploit our natural resources.