Mineral industries including mining, metallurgy, and geology play an important role in the economy of South Dakota. Advancements in technology are changing the way the mining industry operates. South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is one of only five universities that offer degrees in the mineral industries in the United States. With its central and convenient location, South Dakota Mines is well-positioned to become a hub that fosters innovation leading to more sustainable use of Earth’s natural resources, increased productivity and efficiencies in industrial operations, and foster growth of economic development in South Dakota. But we need help to accomplish those goals.

The current Mineral Industries Building on campus is in desperate need of replacement. Much of the education and research happening in this facility supports the technology needed to advance the mining industry in South Dakota for the 21st century. However, the outdated facility slows the speed of progress we make toward helping the nation meet its strategic need for critical mineral resources, securing our country’s energy independence, and creating new jobs in the region.

Not only would a new facility provide the needed resources for our existing earth science programs to thrive, but it would also increase economic development in the area. Industry leaders from across the nation recognize the opportunities that exist by collaborating with established local businesses and our university to develop new technologies. Rapid City has the potential to become the center of mining technology that could forge the future of science, engineering, and technology in the nation.

Executive Order

The Department of the Interior identified 35 critical minerals, which include many minerals we use in items every day, ranging from cell phones, cars, computers, plumbing, and other household materials. Currently, the United States relies on imports for 31 of the 35 of these critical minerals.

To address this problem and reduce the risk of losing our supply of these minerals, President Trump issued Executive Order 13817, A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.

The Department of the Interior outlined six items in its federal strategy to take action on the Executive Order. A new mining technology center on the South Dakota Mines campus would directly contribute to three of the six items listed below (bolded). 

  1. Advance Transformational Research, Development, and Deployment Across Critical Mineral Supply Chains
  2. Strengthen America’s Critical Mineral Supply Chains and Defense Industrial Base
  3. Enhance International Trade and Cooperation Related to Critical Minerals
  4. Improve Understanding of Domestic Critical Mineral Resources
  5. Improve Access to Domestic Critical Mineral Resources on Federal Lands and Reduce Federal Permitting Timeframes
  6. Grow the American Critical Minerals Workforce

State Impact

South Dakota Constitution

Article XIV
State Institutions

§5. Mining and metallurgy to be taught. The Legislature shall provide that the science of mining and metallurgy be taught in at least one institution of learning under the patronage of the state.

Article XXI

§1. Seal and coat of arms. The design of the great seal of South Dakota shall be as follows: A circle within which shall appear in the left foreground a smelting furnace and other features of mining work.

South Dakota State Seal
The mining industry makes a significant economic impact to South Dakota, which has long been recognized by the state constitution and seal. More than $522 million in minerals, oil, gas, and metals are extracted from South Dakota each year. The spin-offs from this industry, including job creation in auxiliary services, equates to $2.5 billion in annual economic impact to the state. Investing in mining education at South Dakota Mines will create even more economic development opportunities in South Dakota.

Total Value Of Products Infographic

"If it can’t be grown, it must be mined."

The Average Persons Usage of Mined Materials Infographic

Project Cost

The total project cost for the new Mineral Industries Building Replacement would be $34 million. The university has committed $3 million for the building and is working with Foundation staff to secure $12 million from industry or private donors. We are hopeful the state will support this initiative and provide $1 million from Future Funds and $18 million over ten years from the existing state mineral tax.

This investment from the state would not come from a new tax. Mining businesses support a portion of their existing tax dollars going toward this investment. They recognize that this investment provides them with a highly skilled workforce, and the research conducted at South Dakota Mines adds to their bottom lines.

Proposed Funding Sources Infographic