Haile Gold Mine 10 Year Update

Published May 22, 2019
Haile Gold Mine Update

10 years ago, the District was just beginning to work with an applicant on a gold mine in Lancaster County, SC. The permit for Haile Gold Mine was issued in 2014 and work commenced. Since then, the operation has been successful and the operators are now applying for a supplemental permit to expand operations. Learn more about the Haile Gold Mine project over the last 10 years.

The Haile Gold Mine permit decision is one of the Charleston District’s largest regulatory actions in the last 10 years, and it was an application that the Corps spent several years studying and reviewing to ensure that due diligence was done before issuing the final permit in October 2014.

The permit application, which was submitted to the District in January 2011, was a request to place fill in waters of the U.S. during reactivation of the mine and included opening new mine pits, building new ore storage and processing facilities. However, reactivating the mine meant that 120 acres of wetlands and 24,460 feet of stream would be directly impacted
where the mine was located in Lancaster County, South Carolina.

“Since the proposed project would make such a big impact, we spent three-years completing an Environmental Impact Study,” said Shawn Boone, project manager. “That included detailed data collection and mathematical modeling of predicted groundwater drawdown and potential effects on the wetlands and streams before issuing the permit.”

Mining operations began in 2016 and started producing gold in January 2017, 190 years after the original mine opened prior. The applicant had the intention of mining approximately 200 million ounces of gold but, since opening, has discovered that there is more gold below an open pit. To extract this gold, Haile Gold Mine will require a modification to their permit as well
as a supplemental EIS from the Corps.

Haile Gold Mine, Inc. has proposed to expand mining operations at their existing Haile Gold Mine located
in Lancaster County in north-central South Carolina. The proposed project would include expansion of surface
mining and associated mine pits and overburden storage facilities, initiation of underground mining at
the Horseshoe deposit, and increased ore processing through optimization of the mill and related infrastructure.
This includes expansion of the water management system and existing tailings storage facility.
A SEIS request was submitted to the District in April 2018, and since then the District has once again been
diligently studying and researching the impacts, which are projected to be approximately 90 acres of wetlands
and 14,000 linear feet of stream.

“During the SEIS, we will be analyzing groundwater hydrology and geochemistry to see what potential impacts the new construction could have on the surrounding environment,” said Boone. “In April 2019, we held a public scoping meeting to give the surrounding community the opportunity to provide comments and concerns they have for us to take into consideration
during the SEIS.”