Homestake mine in Lead, SD

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Announcement of 4850 Lab Opening & Request for Letters of Interest for the
Homestake Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory

1 November 2005

The South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with Barrick Gold Corporation to transfer the Homestake Mine to the SDSTA.  The South Dakota Legislature, in special session on October 14, 2005, appropriated an additional $19.9 million for the establishment of the Homestake Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory. With this additional appropriation, a total of $45.6 million is available for the development and operation of this underground laboratory. Transfer of the property to the SDSTA is expected to take place December 15, 2005.

It is the intention of the SDSTA that the former mine will be developed in a manner that will make it competitive with other underground research sites in the world.  The laboratory will provide the scientific community an opportunity to conduct experiments at a location in the U.S. that is the second deepest site in the world and which offers a short timeline to science.

The SDSTA will manage rehabilitation of the site and will participate in the management of the operation of the lab. The SDSTA plans to open the 4850 ft level and some higher levels for beneficial occupancy in early 2007 for scientific and engineering experiments and other technical uses. The funds available from the State of South Dakota will cover rehabilitation and basic laboratory operations into 2012.

The South Dakota Science and Technology Authority is now soliciting Letters of Interest for experimental uses of the Homestake Lab for underground science and engineering experiments, R&D, and education and outreach programs.  These non-binding Letters will help us to establish the facility requirements and to work proactively with the proponents to ensure that Homestake fulfills their needs and is competitive with alternative underground sites.

Two main shafts provide access from the surface to the 4850 level (4200 mwe).  The underground terminations of these shafts are connected by a 2900 ft long tunnel.  This tunnel, which has a cross section of 13 ft by 15 ft, as well as a number of modest size existing rooms, will serve as the initial site for underground laboratories. The SDSTA is prepared to assist in the excavation of appropriate additional chambers at the 4850 ft level and to discuss additional infrastructure developments needed by experiments. 
The attached, detailed Request for Letters of Interest provides additional information about the Homestake Lab, its characteristics and this solicitation.

We would appreciate a brief, initial response letter by 10 December 2005 indicating:
1) Title of your proposal,
2) List of participants (a partial list is fine),
3) A brief description of your proposed program,
4) A rough estimate of your space requirements and specific or unusual technical issues involved in your proposal,
5) An estimate of when you will require access to the underground facility, and
6) Any other general requirements or questions for the experiment, research, or outreach activities.
The initial response letter is encouraged to initiate discussions, but not required. After receipt of your initial letter, the SDSTA and Homestake Scientific Collaboration (HSC) will contact you to help with the development of your proposal and plans, and to initiate a review of safety and compatibility issues.  We anticipate several iterations and discussions between proponents and the Homestake Lab before final proposals are completed. 

Although the receipt and processing of pre-proposal letters of interest and proposals is an ongoing process, we plan to submit the initial suite of experiments for the Early Implementation Program to a Program Advisory Committee for review in the spring of 2006.  Requested due date for Letters of Interest is 27 January 2006.

Please let us know if you have questions about this facility or if there are aspects of the facility that could be modified or enhanced to better suit your requirements.
Letters and proposals can be submitted electronically (preferred) to:, or by mail to:

            South Dakota Science and Technology Authority
            P.O. Box 8329,  Rapid City, SD 57709

Please note that SDSTA anticipates moving its offices to the Homestake Administration Building, 630 E. Summit Street, Lead, SD 57754 on or about December 15, 2005

Full Letter of Interest Documentation and Application Available here.

Useful Links:

Homestake Lab Reference Book

South Dakota Geological Survey

Homestake/AGU Meeting Website and Registration

South Dakota Science and Technology Authority

Homestake Lab Information


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