There may be more gold in those hills. So say at least five companies that are either currently drilling holes in the Black Hills to search for gold, or could soon start. Representatives from several of those companies and other industry experts say the price of gold is a primary factor driving the renewed interest in exploratory drilling. After being below $1,400 per ounce for several years, the price of gold has been above that level for several months.
“When a down market hits, the exploration sector is the first one to suffer,” said Rob Bergmann. “When the market comes back up, then the money finally starts funneling down into the exploration sector.”
Bergmann is a partner in F3 Gold, of Minneapolis, which is funding an environmental assessment that it hopes will culminate in approval of its plan to drill on Black Hills National Forest Service land near Silver City.
Another factor driving exploration interest in the Black Hills is its well-known history as a gold-producing region. Nelson Baker, president and CEO of Mineral Mountain Resources in Vancouver, Canada, said, “We look at the Black Hills as actually pretty largely under-explored. The potential to find other Homestake-style deposit is definitely real.”
“Homestake” is the former Homestake Mine near Lead, which became the largest and deepest gold mine in North America and produced 40 million ounces of gold during its 126-year life, before it closed in 2002 and became an underground research facility. Homestake’s roots were in the Black Hills gold rush of the 1870s.