updated 5/18/22

Pennington County Planning Commission Meeting

When: Mon, May 23, 9am – 1pm (MNT)

This Planning Commission Meeting scheduled may give us another chance to give comments on the Hard Rock Mining Ordinance – Board Calendar

Where: Commission Chambers, 130 Kansas City St, Rapid City, SD 57701 Map

Monday’s Agenda HERE (check back on their link as this has not been updated yet)

PENNINGTON COUNTY’S STAFF REPORT ON THE DRAFT HARD ROCK MINING ORDINANCE WAS LAST UPDATED IN APRIL. (CLICK HERE TO REVIEW THIS REPORT) Note: A full online Commissioners packet can be found here, however the HRMO Staff Report started on page 215 so we extracted those pages (25) for your convenience.

See below for talking points and information on past meetings.

You can send comments to both and – ask that they be forwarded to all the members of the Planning Committee. 

Below are a few ideas of what to say. Introduce yourself. If you are a Pennington County resident, say so. Say why you care about this Ordinance. DO NOT copy the bullet points (below). Pick two and put them into your own words. Then explain why those two points are important to you. That will fill all the time you will have to comment. 

TAKING POINTS – Potential issues include:

  • I support the new Pennington County Hard Rock Mining Operations Ordinance, because it will help protect our water and our county.
  • With a few changes, this Ordinance can be even better. One is Section D.4.I – Definition of Hard Rock Mining Operation. We need to add waste rock disposal and settling ponds to the final version of this definition, so we have a way to regulate them. Both are dirty parts of the mining process. Waste rock disposal usually means a dam, a body of water, and the actual waste rock. This is a bad situation that could be made worse if it isn’t properly regulated – especially since in Pennington County it would probably be upstream from Rapid City. 
  • Section E.3.e should clearly say that a Water Reclamation Plan must be part of the Reclamation Plan. Right now, it isn’t included.
  • Tribal Historic Preservation Officers should have a clear role in the Ordinance process, not just be given notice that someone has applied to mine.
  • South Dakota government has never denied a mining permit. We need a strong, local Ordinance to protect us from the problems that mining often brings.
  • The final Ordinance should require that property owners within one mile should be notified of the mining application in Section F.1.A – not half a mile, as in the current draft Ordinance.
  • There should be better protection for historical and cultural resources in Section H. These resources are an important part of Pennington County’s past and present.
  • Important! The statement in Section A that permits mining anywhere in the county if someone has a patented mining claim means that people who already own mining land would get special treatment. This provides a special favor to one or a few hard rock mining companies – something that should not happen. Also, some zoning districts need to be fully protected from mining. This statement needs to be removed from the final version of the Ordinance. 

FEB. 9TH STAFF REPORT: Draft of the Hard Rock Mining Ordinance for review and download. This one also includes some comments made by the public.

See page 2 for the previous Public Comments, Meetings, etc.