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Buffalo Field Office
Release Date: 06/22/12
Contacts: Lesley A. Elser    

BLM Buffalo Field Office Announces Public Review of the Plan of Operations for the North Fork Bentonite Mining Project in Johnson County

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Buffalo Field Office announces the availability of a plan of operations for the proposed North Fork bentonite mining project northwest of Kaycee, Wyo.

Black Hills Bentonite, LLC, proposes to conduct new bentonite mining and reclamation on public lands located approximately 12 miles northwest of Kaycee, in Johnson County. Bentonite mining has been conducted in this area since the 1950s.

This project encompasses 120 acres, which includes 80 acres of public lands. All proposed disturbance of approximately 18 acres will be on public lands; no private or state lands are proposed to be disturbed. This project area also comprises the North Fork Amendment (NFA) to their current Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) Permit to Mine 339C.

Over the anticipated nine-year life of the project, surface disturbance on public lands will be limited to constructing mining areas and access roads, mining bentonite, and reclaiming these areas and features.

The BLM has been working with other agencies in permitting this project, including WDEQ, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Approval of the NFA to their WDEQ Permit to Mine 339C is also being processed.

To provide the public with an opportunity to review the proposal and project information, BLM has made this information available for viewing for 30 days at the Buffalo Field Office, 1425 Fort Street, Buffalo, Wyoming, and on the project web page at:

Written comments will be accepted until July 23, 2012. Comments can be mailed to the address above, attention Kerry Aggen, Geologist, or emailed to:, with the subject line: North Fork Bentonite Mine Plan, WYW-168310.

This 30-day public review will initiate the environmental review process for this project. The environmental review will include effects from the entire area included in Permit to Mine 339C, as well as other bentonite mining in the area. However, the main emphasis will be on the public lands within the North Fork plan of operations area, as that is the limit of BLM’s administrative authority in this project.

For further information, please contact Kerry Aggen, Geologist, at (307)684-1196 or

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Buffalo Field Office   1425 Fort Street      Buffalo, WY 82834  

Last updated: 06-22-2012