Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 8, 2022

Stop Gold Mining in Sacred HeSapa, Black Hills

Pactola Reservoir is located 15 miles west of Rapid City. It is the largest and
 deepest reservoir in the Black Hills National Forest
Forest Service Finds ‘No Significant Impact’ in F3 Gold’s Proposed Exploration in Black Hills

By Stop Gold Mining in Sacred HeSapa
Censored News
French translation by Christine Prat:

Early this morning, July 4, 2022, water protectors dropped banners at the Pactola Reservoir island in opposition to F3 Gold (a Minneapolis company)’s illegal attempt to desecrate sacred sites and poison water at Jenny Gulch, near the headwaters of Rapid Creek in the Black Hills of "south dakota."

F3 threatens Rapid City’s water supply and the entire downstream Missouri River basin.

Demanding the Forest Service deny F3’s gold exploration permits. F3 Gold is trespassing on stolen land—1980 Supreme Court decision—and does not have permission for their illegal activities from any of the dozens of tribes with treaty-protected and ancestral connections to the He Sapa.

F3 is part of a legacy and ongoing reality of toxic mining destruction and desecration, and we’ve had enough. How can the Amerikkkan settler state celebrate independence when it only works through exploitation and oppression?”
Forest Service Finds ‘No Significant Impact’ in F3 Gold’s Proposed Exploration in Black Hills

By Alex Binder
Unicorn Riot
July 7, 2022

Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota – On Thursday, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) released their draft decision and findings on a new gold exploration project by Minneapolis-based F3 Gold. Jim Gubbels, the Mystic District Ranger in the Black Hills, compiled the 29-page report summarizing the project, and the potential effects on the environment and cultural resources, and came to the conclusion that “the Selected Alternative will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment. As a result, no EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] will be prepared.”

This decision does not give an immediate green light for F3 to begin drilling, however it does indicate “the intent of the agency to approve the final PO [Plan of Operations] once required criteria have been met.”

The final Environmental Assessment (EA) (PDF) was also released, which outlines the three actions the Forest Service could take with the proposed project—Alternative A would have shut it down, and Alternative B and C were two varying plans to move forward with it. Gubbels chose Alternative C “to minimize Project impacts across evaluated environmental issues.”

However, the report then goes on to say that Alternative C “proposes more potential drill pads and associated access routes, and subsequently greater surface disturbance than the Proposed Action.” So instead of the initial proposed project of a maximum of 42 drill pad sites, Alternative C has a maximum of 47 drill pad sites.
Table 3-1 in the USFS Draft Decision Notice showing the differences between the three Alternatives.

The draft decision also states that “Alternative C has been developed to minimize effects by avoiding cultural resources,” but for the Indigenous people to the Black Hills, every single grain of dirt, particle of air and water, and animal are sacred cultural resources.

Steven Gunn and Harold Frazier, both of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, submitted comments during the public comment period expressing that “the Tribe is opposed to any exploration or development of minerals in the Black Hills that would harm our sacred Paha Sapa, including out sacred Pe’ Sla, and our traditional cultural and religious use of those lands.”

The two also called for government-to-government consultations, adding that their tribe is opposed to any activity in the Black Hills “that would infringe on our rights under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and other Federal laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”) and the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”).”

Jon Eagle Sr., the NHPA preservation officer for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, commented stating the tribe’s objection to the project. Kip Spotted Eagle, the Yankton Sioux Tribe THPO Director commented stating that the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) “does not agree with this project set forth. We are opposed to any extraction in Treaty lands and do not [think] proper consultation has been met with the Yankton Sioux Tribe.”

STOP Gold Mining in Sacred HeSapa


Today, July 7, 2022, The Forest Service has published its final Environmental Assessment for the proposed Jenny Gulch gold drilling project by F3 Gold. Documents are available here: We need everyone to submit OBJECTIONS by AUGUST 19, 2022.

F3 wants to drill at up to 42 drill sites, and drill holes would range from 500 to 6,000 feet in depth. Each drill rig (they would use 1-4 of them) would use 5,000 to 10,000 gallons of water per day. F3 is a company out of Minneapolis, MN, looking for gold. There is already a gold Superfund site (Gilt Edge) which will be contaminated for FOREVER, and the large-scale operating Wharf covers over 5000 acres and can be seen from space.

District Ranger Jim Gubbels says: "I have reviewed and considered the EA and documentation included in the Project record, and I have determined that the Selected Alternative will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment. As a result, no EIS will be prepared." Gubbels also says: "The potential effects on cultural resources have been considered in this analysis. No adverse effects are anticipated." No mention of treaty rights. No mention of ceremonial use or water rights. No mention of protections for ACTIVE, ALIVE spiritual practitioners.

The proposed drilling area is near Silver City, just north of Jenny Gulch picnic area at Pactola. This is a bighorn sheep lambing area and in the Rapid Creek watershed, which provides drinking water for Rapid City. The Forest Service says that consultation took place with Crow Creek, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Three Affiliated Tribes (MHA Nation), and Yankton Sioux Tribe--certainly consent for this contamination was not granted by any of the tribes connected to the Black Hills.

CALL TO ACTION: EVERYONE needs to send in a letter or an email objecting to this proposed toxicity:

Jonathan Manning
Black Hills National Forest All Units
1019 North 5th Street
Custer, SD, 57730

Use subject line "Jenny Gulch Gold Exploration Drilling Project Objection." Objection letters must be received by FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2022. Sending in these objections is very important for legally documenting how many people are opposed to this desecration.

Please message this page if you need help writing your comments. Black Hills are not, never have been, never will be for sale.

Gold Mining Devastation 

Homestake Gold Mine closed in 2001 after over 125 years of operation. It was the largest and deepest gold mine in America. Homestake Gold Mine is located in Lead, South Dakota, about an hour from Rapid City.

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