South Dakota


The estimated value of nonfuel mineral production for South Dakota in 2001 was $255 million, a decrease of about 9% from the amount reported in 2000, and down 24% from the record $337 million of 1993. Most of the decrease was due to a significant decline in gold prices. Metals, including iron ore and silver, accounted for over one-third of the total nonfuel mineral value. Gold remained the leading commodity by value, followed by cement (portland and masonry), construction sand and gravel, crushed stone, and granite dimension stone.

The 125-year-old Homestake Mining Company mined its last gold ore in South Dakota at the end of 2001, closing what was at one time the Western Hemisphere's largest gold mine. Homestake was planning a merger with Barrick Gold Corporation, which would create the world's 3rd-largest gold mining company. In 2000 the major gold-mining operations in South Dakota processed 8,230 kg (worth $74.2 million) of gold. In the same year, 1 metric ton (worth $227,000) of silver was recovered.

According to preliminary figures, in 2001, South Dakota quarries produced 11.5 million metric tons of construction sand and gravel, and 5.4 million metric tons of crushed stone, with respective values of $42.5 million and $26 million. South Dakota ranked 2nd nationally in production of granite dimension stone, 5th in gold and crude mica, and 7th in feldspar. Milbank Granite, a dark- to medium-red granite found in the northeastern part of the state, has been quarried continuously since 1907 and is the major source of dimension stone in the state.