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Lancaster County approves gold-mine rezoning

The Lancaster County Council voted 7-0 Monday to approve the third, and final, reading of an ordinance to rezone 45 acres in Kershaw so that the property owner can incorporate the land into its adjacent gold-mining operations.

Haile Gold Mine Inc. requested to rezone three vacant parcels. Two of the tracts, at roughly 4 and 15 acres each, are near Gold Mine Highway and Snowy Owl Road. The largest parcel, at 25.5 acres, is near Haile Gold Mine Road and Gold Mine Highway.

The county’s planning staff and Planning Commission recommended approval of the rezoning, saying all three pieces of land are surrounded by properties zoned for mining.

The developer sought a rezoning to mining district from rural residential and intense agricultural designation. In Lancaster County, rezonings become effective after three readings and favorable votes by the council. The council approved the first and second readings unanimously at separate meetings in March.

Haile Gold Mine, which is owned by Oceana Gold Corp. of Australia, sits on 5,400 acres. It was discovered in 1827 and has operated on and off since then. Oceana Gold says it expects to begin production at the site early next year.

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