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F3 Gold gets year to drill for gold near Custer

Drilling pad locations for the Newark Exploratory Drilling Project
Black Hills National Forest
Drilling pad locations for the Newark Exploratory Drilling Project

The Black Hills National Forest is giving a Minnesota-based company one year to explore for gold near Custer.

The federal agency is issuing a categorical exclusion to the company F3 Gold for the Newark Exploratory Drilling Project.

The Forest Service cannot approve or deny an exploratory drilling project. Rather, they can set restrictions to protect natural resources and minimize surface damage.

F3 Gold is proposing drilling boreholes to collect subsurface rock samples at up to 36 proposed sites on National Forest land.

Drilling operations are expected to take place 24 hours a day.

The project was the subject of a tense public hearing in Custer in February of 2023, with a room full of over 100 residents voicing concern about the project.

The Forest Service says major aquifers of the Black Hills do not exist in the project area.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.
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