The South Carolina Board of Health and Environmental Control has declined to consider the Sierra Club’s request for a Final Review Conference on the decision to issue a an operating permit for Romarco Minerals’ Haile gold mine. The department’s decision to issue the permit has now become the final agency decision.

“The Department of Health and Environmental Control stood by its thorough science-based review and the results of a lengthy, public process that culminated in the Mine Operating permit, including the reclamation plan and financial assurance package,” said Diane Garrett, president and CEO, Romarco Minerals. “We are pleased with the decision and continue to believe all questions and concerns raised over the past four years have been fully addressed, including the reclamation plan and associated financial assurance.”

The Sierra Club filed its Request for Board Review on November 19, stating it had concerns over the amount of money required for the reclamation bond. The permit had been approved on November 7 and would become effective on November 21. Under the mine operating permit, Romarco would be required to provide $60 million in reclamation bonding. The Sierra Club wanted $100 million to $500 million. Romarco responded that it did not believe the Sierra Club request had technical merit and that the Haile project’s reclamation plan and reclamation bonding had been adequately addressed throughout the permitting process.

An appeal can be filed with the South Carolina Mining Council within 30 days. The Mining Council is required to set a hearing within 20 to 40 days of the appeal and shall give a written decision within 30 days of a hearing. Within 30 days of the Mining Council written decision, an appeal can be filed with the Administrative Law Court.