Mining and Energy Law

The Black Hills Gold Rush began in 1874.  Since that time South Dakota has enjoyed a rich mining history primarily focused on gold and silver.  More recently, critical minerals have captured the attention of the world economy.  Critical minerals are metals and non-metals that are considered vital in the manufacture of mobile phones, flat-screen monitors, wind turbines, electric cars, solar panels, and many other high-tech applications.  South Dakota also enjoys substantial opportunities to produce oil and gas and to expand on wind and solar power. 

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The State of South Dakota alone, through the Office of School and Public Lands, administers 5.2 million mineral acres and 760,000 surface acres.  Private land in South Dakota adds countless additional options for the production of minerals and energy. 

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (“DANR”) regulates mineral exploration, mining, and oil and gas development in South Dakota.  Hearings on contested permit applications  are heard in front of the Board of Minerals and Environment.  Most operations will also require a water permit for commercial use.  DANR’s Water Rights Program is responsible for issuing water rights permits.  Contested water rights permits are resolved by the Water Management Board.  Our team has many years of experience appearing in front of the Board of Minerals and Environment and Water Management Board.    

The process of obtaining leases and permits can be complex and time-consuming.  The attorneys on our Mining and Energy Law team have the experience necessary to help you navigate this process from beginning to end.  We also employ an experienced lobbyist and advocate to assist you with legislative and public policy issues.  Our team is ready to help you with any area of Mining and Energy law including:

  • Leasing land (including solar and wind opportunities), leasing mineral acres and obtaining oil and gas rights
  • Filing exploration notices of intent (EXNI)
  • Obtaining mine permits and mine licenses
  • Reclaiming abandoned mineral interests
  • Obtaining oil & gas permits
  • Applying for and obtaining water rights permits
  • Other contract and lease issues
  • Mining and Energy Law litigation