COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A Canadian company has proposed a land swap to develop a gold mine in Lancaster County.

Romarco Minerals Inc., of Toronto, has proposed allowing nearly 3,700 acres in Richland County to become part of a publicly accessible nature preserve, The State newspaper reported.

That would be in exchange for the company being allowed to dig up or fill 120 acres of wetlands in Lancaster County as it looks for gold.

The Cook's Mountain and Goodwill Plantation lie along the Wateree River in Richland County.

The proposed gold mine area is near the town of Kershaw in Lancaster County.

"These new properties that have been added to the plan are properties with important conservation values," said Chris DeScherer, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans a meeting in Kershaw on Tuesday night to answer questions about the plan.

Romarco would help establish a $4.5 million fund to manage the properties.

The plan to dig for gold involves a series of open pits, some more than 800 feet deep. The work would be at the old Haile Gold Mine, which was in operation for parts of 200 years until it closed in the early 1990s.

Romarco wants to reopen and expand the mine to dig out tiny flecks of gold that past mining companies could not reach.


Information from: The State,