- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

LEAD, S.D. (AP) - Lead’s City Commission has given South Dakota’s Science and Technology Authority the clearance to build an elevated conveyor system over the community’s Main Street.

The enclosed conveyer belt will be used to clear 800,000 tons of waste rock from the Sanford Underground Research Facility to make way for a science experiment that’s expected to cost at least $1 billion.

The planned experiment involves scientists shooting a beam of neutrinos from an Illinois lab to the Lead lab. Neutrinos could give scientists clues about the mysterious “dark matter” of outer space. The experiment is backed by the federal Energy Department, and is to involve hundreds of scientists from around the world.

The City Commission’s unanimous decision to grant an easement for the conveyor system came after three public meetings over the past six weeks, the Rapid City Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1XmMlRK ).

The conveyor was a preferred option to the estimated 40,000 round-trips by truck it would take to transport the crushed rock to a disposal site in an old gold mine pit, Mayor Ron Everett said.

“We’ve talked about dust and visibility, and the Sanford Lab knows the city will be watching it closely and discussing any concerns as they come up,” he said.

The lab already has reached a rock disposal agreement with the owners of the old gold mine pit and has received permission from the state Transportation Department for the conveyor to also cross a state highway, according to Science and Technology Authority Executive Director Mike Headley.

“We will continue to provide further information about the project as our designs progress toward construction,” he said.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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