Richland County won’t fight permits

dhinshaw@thestate.comSeptember 18, 2013 

Romarco Minerals is trying to reopen the historic Haile Gold Mine near downtown Kershaw but environmental concerns stand in the way. The plan would include employing about 300 workers.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com Buy Photo

Richland County Council has cancelled 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.

The council also took steps to approve $100,000 for new exhibits at the EdVenture children’s museum and an extra $47,000 for this weekend’s Capital City Classic football game. The money will come from hospitality-tax revenues.

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