The South Carolina Mining Act and Regulations were enacted in 1975 to regulate mining activities in South Carolina. Since that time, three separate mine operating permits (I-000214, I-000440, and I-000601) have been issued for this area in Lancaster County. In April 2010, all three permits were consolidated into one (I-000601) under Haile Gold Mine, Inc.
In 2014, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) completed an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and issued a Department of Army permit with conditions for the proposed Haile Gold Mine (HGM) project. This EIS and permit allowed HGM to reactivate the existing gold mine, expand the area for open pit mining and construct associated facilities. At that time, DHEC Mine Operating Permit I-000601 was also modified to affect 2,465 acres across eight pits, several overburden storage areas, one tailing storage area, and a processing plant with accompanying administration and logistical areas. The DHEC mine operating permit has had five modifications since 2016 to increase storage areas, create borrow pits for infrastructure enhancements, and increase pit development.
In June 2019, DHEC’s Bureau of Land and Waste Management (BLWM) received a permit application from Haile Gold Mine, Inc. to modify Mine Operating Permit I-000601 to support the proposed expansion. This modification (Mod 19-2) is considered substantial. The proposed modifications submitted by Haile Gold Mine, Inc. include:
- Increasing the volume of gold-bearing ore that previously would have been uneconomical to mine.
- Performing underground mining operations in the area known as the Horseshoe Deposit. Here is a short video on the underground mining operations that Haile Gold Mine is proposing.
- Optimizing mill operations by removing several operational bottlenecks to increase capacity from approximately 9,100 tons/day to approximately 14,400 tons/day (from about 3.3 M tons/year to 5.1 M tons/year).
- Expanding the permitted boundary by roughly 832 acres to include adjacent properties. Total acreage of the site from approximately 4,552 acres to approximately 5,384 acres. (See Figure A-3 for a comparison of the currently permitted site boundary and the new proposed site boundary.)
- Increasing Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) capacity (with HDPE liner and underdrain collection system) from approximately 40 million tons to approximately 72 million tons by adding additional lifts to the existing TSF.
- Increasing above ground Potentially Acid Generating (PAG) storage (with HDPE liner and contact water collection system) from approximately 100.1 million tons to approximately 150.1 million tons by expanding the existing JPAG facility (now called “West PAG”);
- Increasing above ground green OSAs from approximately 147.5 million tons to approximately 207.0 million tons primarily by adding a large green OSA facility along the southern border – South OSA.
- Expanding Contact Water Treatment Plant (CWTP) average capacity from approximately 1,200 gallons per minute (gpm) to approximately 2,400 gpm.
Additional details and documents related to the modification application are posted below. Additionally, USACE, along with DHEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are currently engaged in the National Environmental Policy Act process in order to create a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
DHEC and USACE held a joint virtual public hearing, to accept written and oral comments, on April 01, 2021. DHEC and USACE will accept written comments on these proposals until April 23, 2021. The hearing's presentation and recording can be found on DHEC’s Haile Gold Mine page - Community Engagement page.
Mod 19-2 Detail Documents
- Cover Letter
- Appendix A – Modification Details
- Alternatives Analysis
- Monitoring and Management Plan
- Emergency Management Control Plan
- Health, Safety, and Environment Compliance Standards Manual
- Site Wide Water Balance Report
- Reclamation Plan
- Public Hearing Notice and Memo
DHEC Mine Operating Permit Modifications
|Date||Modification Type & Number||Description|
|November 5, 2014||14-1||Re-initiated mining activities at the site.|
|June 7, 2016||Minor
|Added two tracts of land (McDonald and Hilton), relocated the administration building and reconfigured the Run-of-Mill pad.|
|June 1, 2018||
|Approved the land use change to temporarily allow Potentially Acid Generating (PAG) material to be stored on the future Ledbetter Pit. This land use change was never implemented, and the Ledbetter Pit is currently being developed as originally planned in Mod 14-1. Acreages were updated based on recent surveying projects.|
|August 22, 2018||
|Approved the land use change to convert the old parking lot into a temporary PAG storage area and to allow a haul road through the newly acquired Gregory Property. This land use change was never implemented, and the parking lot area is a laydown area for general mining equipment.|
|May 27, 2019||Substantial
|Approved the land use change to convert Roberts non-PAG overburden storage area into a lined PAG storage area called East PAG (Phase I). This area is currently being used as said PAG cell.|
|September 8, 2020||
Approved several minor requests to the mine plan, including: