The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued draft permits for wells (mining wells and waste disposal wells) at the proposed Dewey-Burdock in situ leach uranium mine in Custer and Fall River Counties.

This means we all need to move into a very active time on this issue. To read the draft permits and other documents, click here.

Once people have looked over the documents and determined what might be some important points to make, we'll put out ideas on how to comment on this proposal.

Put the following dates on your calendar, and start spreading the word to your local media, to your friends, and to any organizations you belong to:

Public Hearings:

All Comments Due: May 19


The federal government's Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) today supported the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board's (ASLB) 2015 decision in the case about the proposed Dewey-Burdock uranium mine in Fall River and Custer Counties by ruling that the process for identification and protection of cultural and historical resources was not done properly.

Click here for the full press release.


Recent research by two South Dakota School of Mines and Technology scientists and a scientist from California State University-Fresno confirmed what we have long suspected - that elevated uranium levels are present in Angostura Reservoir in the southern Black Hills. The study tested stream sediments along the Cheyenne River watershed from old abandoned uranium mines to Angostura Reservoir.

For the full CHEYENNE RIVER STUDY SHOWING ELEVATED URANIUM IN ANGOSTURA RESERVOIR press release click here, for the study, chick here.

Radioactive Legacy - the Rapid City Journal's Uranimum series shows importance of oversight:

Four decades after its first uranium mining boom ended, the Edgemont area remains scarred by unreclaimed mines, buried radioactive waste and health concerns.

The story of that first boom has gone largely untold and unreckoned with, even as regulators consider approving a new kind of mining in the same place.

Will the town fare better this time? Perhaps, if the lessons of the past are uncovered and heeded. Here, in five parts over the coming days, is the untold story of Edgemont's radioactive legacy. - See more at:

Azarga/Powertech statements face scrutiny by the British Columbia Securities Commission, and the stock price drops. In a related story Canadian regulators consider Azarga's preliminary assesments "too speculative geologically." Azarga acknowledged certain "deficiencies" in its filings relating to the Dewey-Burdock project. There should be NO deficiencies where OUR WATER is concerned!!

On August 6, 2015 over 600 motorcycles and riders formed the world's largest motorcycle sculpture in Buffalo Chip, South Dakota on the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Rally to honor veterans and call for the protection of water from uranium mining.The event was presented by the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance, and the Buffalo Chip and SpectralQ .


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) ruled today that testimony presented by Dr. Hannan LaGarry should be made public. Dr. LaGarry's testimony covered geological information about water protection on the proposed Dewey-Burdock in situ leach uranium mine site in Custer and Fall River Counties. Government agencies require that the in situ process - which involves pumping water through uranium deposits to chemically remove the uranium - must be confined to the mining area to avoid polluting clean water.

Dr. LaGarry's testimony says "there is no reasonable expectation that confinement remains in drilled areas." His research showed that there at least 7515 old drill holes on the site. (In its applications, Azarga said that there were about 4,000 holes.) This means that, if mining was allowed, contaminated mining water could easily move into what had been clean ground water. There are a number of ranches in the immediate area of the proposed mine that currently use this water for livestock and human consumption.

Dr. LaGarry's testimony also says that artesian water, which presses up from underground and pumps to the surface naturally, is present on the site. This, he says, could pump mining fluids to the surface, "and poses a significant risk of unexpected, serious contamination of the Cheyenne River and its tributaries." It also dentified "numerous faults present in the licensed areas," as well as a sinkhole, which could also allow mined water to move into clean water. Azarga has consistently said that faults and sinkholes are not present where they want to mine. Much of the information that Dr. LaGarry used to create his testimony was taken from documents that included driller's logs. These logs included notations that information should be withheld from maps and from landowners, and some data was missing from the files viewed by Dr. LaGarry. The records also indicated that 13 of the drill holes that Dr. LaGarry looked at were plugged with wooden fenceposts, and another 6 with broken steel. Clearly, these do not provide permanent protection for the groundwater.

Read Dr. LaGarry's full testimony here, and the joint press release from Dakota Rural Action and Clean Water Alliance here.


Powertech Uranium is now Azarga Uranium --Azarga is a Chinese company that has never mined uranium. Read more here.


The federal Environmental Protection Agency has done a preliminary assessment of the old uranium mines in the southern half of Powertech's proposed project site. This preliminary assessment can be found here, and the Clean Water Alliance Press Release can be found here.

The EPA found that there was contamination on the site (no surprise there). And it said more formal testing is to be done in 2015 to determine whether the site should become a Superfund site. This would require clean-up of the old mines.

Usually, the EPA looks for the original mining companies to pay for the clean-up. If they can't be found or don't exist anymore (likely), then the site is cleaned up by the federal government, when money is available. However, if the site is designated a Superfund site, it might make it difficult for Powertech to start more mining until the site was cleaned up. The company would probably still have access to the northern half of its project area.

"Final" Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued by NRC - January 30, 2014

The "Final" Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) issued by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the proposed Dewey-Burdock uranium mine is substantially deficient. The mine, proposed by Chinese/Canadian company Powertech Uranium, would use 9,000 gallons per minute of groundwater from Black Hills aquifers, contaminate area water, and open the door for eight other uranium companies that have an interest in the Black Hills.

A Black Hills Clean Water Alliance Press Release warns that the NRC has put the cart before the horse - they have published a "Final" SEIS - and chosen a final alternative for project design - before they have completed the cultural resources analysis. This analysis is required by law to be completed before this document was issued. The SEIS notes that the analysis is "ongoing." This relegates the cultural studies to afterthoughts, and necessarily limits NRC's ability to protect these important resources.

The NRC is accepting public comment on the Final SEIS in the form of limited appearance statements. You can make your voice heard - click here to learn how.

COLORADO AND VIRGINIA REJECTED PROPOSED URANIUM MINING. South Dakota's legislature has done nothing but encourage it.

Don't just take our word for it. Check these links to experience for yourself what other concerned citizens, your neighbors, have to say about uranium mining.

Read the permit applications for yourselves!

South Dakota Department of Environment and Resources - Powertech (USA), Inc. - Environmental Permits




Watch our website and the media for any change in date. SPEAK UP AND OPPOSE THIS PROPOSAL


Educate yourself... Know the Hazards... Contact Your Representatives... Help.

There's uranium boom in the Black Hills region. Companies are buying up mineral and surface land rights from landowners in this area and are trying to get permits to mine uraniuam using in-situ leach mining. The time to act is NOW to prevent this from happening.

Foreign companies, most of them from Canada, want to mine local uranium. Currently, the largest markets for uranium are China and India.

Uranium One, which owns in situ leach uranium projects in eastern Wyoming, is being bought by ARMZ, a company that is controlled by the Russian government.

At least four companies are active in the Black Hills area - Bayswater, Uranium One, Cameco, and Powertech.

In-situ operations run by Cameco have a record of ongoing spills, leaks, and water contamination.

Power Resources Inc., is a company our neighbors in Wyoming and Colorado know all too well because of their "inordinate number of spills" and leaks.

Powertech wants to mine uranium in a similar fashion HERE in the BLACK HILLS Region.

Mining has an ugly past

Several executives of Powertech previously worked with other uranium companies that were cited for mining violations. One company went bankrupt and left tons of radioactive mill tailings along the Colorado River in Moab, Utah. That mill is now a superfund site whose cleanup is funded by your tax dollars.

Thousands of old uranium operations have been left unreclaimed in the upper Missouri River basin, including about a hundred in the Black Hills. Modern uranium companies employ people who were involved in past uranium operations. Why should we trust them to clean up future operations?

Mining is, by nature, a boom-and-bust economic activity. Short-term profits for companies are followed by long-term pollution and unemployment in mining areas.

Current, modern, operating in situ leach mines have spilled and leaked hundreds of thousands of gallons of contaminated water, both above ground and underground. These leaks have entered both above-ground and underground water bodies.

In Wyoming, state regulators didn't issue a Notice of Violation to Power Resources, Inc. (now Cameco Resources), until they had two three-ring binders full of spill reports.

South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources has conducted completeness reviews for two versions of Powertech's state application for an Underground Injection Control Permit. The state has twice found Powertech's application incomplete. Its second review comments dated April 19, 2010 includes 107 general comments and violations of South Dakota Administrative Rules, in addition to the August 6, 2009 completeness review comments left unaddressed by Powertech.

Why the rush to mine Uranium?

There is a lot of money to be made.

The price of uranium went from $20/lb to $135/lb in 2007. It was the "new gold rush". Companies plan a number of projects in the Black Hills in hopes of a "nuclear renaissance" that would bring their companies billions of dollars and leave us with the mess. Are their profits worth your health? Our water?

What is uranium?

Uranium is a naturally-occurring element. It generally poses no danger when it is left in the ground. However, when it is brought to the surface and concentrated, it emits dangerous levels of radiation. Once uranium begins to emit radiation, it breaks down into other heavy metals in a process that cannot be stopped and lasts millions of years.

What is in-situ leach mining?

In-situ leach mining (ISL) is a method of uranium mining where hundreds of wells are drilled in a "grid pattern" over an ore body that is located in a groundwater aquifer. Water mixed with sodium bicarbonate concentrate is pumped down into the aquifer, across the uranium ore bed, and them up and out other wells. The mining solution is injected into the aquifer under pressure in order to leach the uranium out of the ground. The leach solution strips the uranium out of the aquifer. Along with radioactive uranium, arsenic, selenium, radium and lead are also extracted.

In situ leach uranium mining must be done directly in a water-bearing aquifer. Water-bearing aquifers are where we get our drinking water from.

Water at an in situ leach uranium mine has never been returned to its original condition. Pollutants that have been left in the water at in situ leach uranium mines after "restoration" include toxic heavy metals and radioactive materials.

Just one proposed mine -- the Powertech Uranium project near Edgemont -- would consume over two and a half billion gallons of water during its lifetime. This is according to the company's own figures.

What are the hazards of uranium mining?

The environmental and health risks are high.

Radiation cannot be seen, smelled, felt or tasted. Damage from radiation is at the cellular level, with a higher risk to children and seniors.

Spills, leaks, mechanical failures and transportation accidents are common with uranium mining.

Ingesting uranium leads to bone, liver and blood cancer. Inhalation of radon gas causes lung cancer.

"The primary radiation health effect of concern is an increased probability of the exposed individual developing cancer during their lifetime. Cancer cases induced by radiation are generally indistinguishable from other naturally occurring cancers and occur years after the exposure takes place."

- Argonne National Laboratory, Dept. of Energy

What are the economic hazards?

We've already experienced uranium mining and milling in our region. Towns that welcomed uranium mining as "economic development" are now near-ghost towns or toxic sites. The uranium industry took their profits and left - leaving radioactive wastes, unreclaimed mines, and thousands of open drill holes.

The uranium industry would temporarily add less than 2% more jobs in the southern Hills and would take away from the area's main industries - agriculture and recreation. We need more clean long-term jobs, not short-termed jobs that will permanently harm our land.

"Although these 'in-situ' leach mining techniques are considered more environmentally benign than traditional mining and milling practices they still tend to contaminate the groundwater."

- U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2007

How will uranium mining affect our water?

Uranium mining would use huge amounts of our precious water. It would pollute our water and expose human, livestock, wildlife and agriculture to radiation and heavy metal poisoning through air, water and food. Wind, flooding or tornados could spread radioactive materials throughout the area.

According to studies by the SD School of Mines and Technology, old uranium mines in western South Dakota are already contaminating our water. There are at least 272 old sites in the Black Hills, and the majority have never been cleaned up. Mining should not be restarted when the messes from past uranium mining have not even been cleaned up.

It's all about our WATER.

This is not just a local issue.

Once water aquifers are contaminated, they can never be restored.

Water is life.

What can you do? You can: If you are interested in volunteering your time or money or other resources to stop uranium mining, please contact Clean Water Alliance:



The first applications for mining permits have already been filed. Those in charge of the permitting process need to become aware of public disapproval NOW in order to act on your behalf and stop uranium mining.

Uranium mining has been stopped before in the Black Hills. We need to stop it now!

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

- Margaret Mead

Who are we?

We are a diverse collection of citizens concerned about the health, environmental and economic impacts that proposed uranium mining projects would have on our communities, people, economy, and natural resources.

After much research and investigation, we are convinced uranium mining would have dire consequences. Our goal is to prevent uranium mining in the Black Hills region and protect our valuable resources - especially our water - for future generations.

Stop Uranium Mining in the Black Hills

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