Richland County won’t fight permits for gold mine company

September 18, 2013 

Richland County Seal

Richland County Council has reversed a decision to fight environmental permits for an Upstate gold mine wanting to buy a natural landmark in Lower Richland County,

Tuesday, the council struck from the record of last week’s meeting a reference to appealing a federal wetlands permit and state water quality certificate “if necessary.” The council left its staff to negotiate with state and federal regulators and the mine’s owners, however, over public access to Cook’s Mountain.

Romarco Minerals wants to buy the unique property to compensate the state for environmental damage from its proposed Lancaster County gold mine, one of the largest in the eastern U.S.

Last week, the council emerged from a closed-door meeting with a vote to explore S.C. Department of Natural Resources plans for the site. At the time, the council expressed willingness to appeal permits for the mine.

Some members said later they didn’t mean to open the door to appeals.

On an 8-2 vote, with members Norman Jackson and Kelvin Washington dissenting, the council reversed itself Tuesday.

-- Dawn Hinshaw

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