Powertech Looking To Resume State Permit Process For Edgemont-Area Uranium Mine

      Powertech Industries is resuming the state permit process for its proposed Dewey-Burdock Uranium mine north of Edgemont. The mine would use the in-situ leach method used at the Crow Butte Mine near Crawford

      Powertech, now a subsidiary of Canadian-based Azarga Uranium, began applying for permits and licenses in 2013, but all parties agreed to table the state permit process until final decisions were made on federal permits.

      The last of the federal permits were approved last November, leaving 3 state permits: the groundwater discharge plan, water rights permit, and large-scale mine plan. All would be from the merged Dept of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

       Powertech has been granted a status hearing at tomorrow’s state Water Management Board meeting in Pierre where it would update the board on its federal permits and in turn get guidance on resuming the state permit process. 

       Powertech has leases for mineral or surface rights for nearly 17,000 acres but need the water rights permit to operate. It’s asking for up to more than 9,000 gallons a minute from 2 aquifers that also provide water to Edgemont and Hot Springs.

       Most of the water would be recycled, but over 52-million gallons would be used to produce more than 14-million tons of uranium over the projected 14-year life of the mine, which opponents say will destroy the area’s water supply. 

       Edgemont rancher Susan Henderson is a formal opponent or intervener in the permit process told the Rapid City Journal the uranium mine will “probably destroy” Fall River County while benefiting none of its residents. 

      In-situ mining pumps a chemical solution similar to bicarbonate of soda into an aquifer to dissolve the uranium deposits, then pumps out the water for processing to remove the uranium.