A group of former miners’ exhaustive knowledge of the Homestake Gold Mine will aid the search for cosmic particles like dark matter and neutrinos.
Homestake, with 370 miles of tunnels that plunge up to 8,000 feet underground, was once the largest and deepest gold mine in the western hemisphere. During its 126-year operation in Lead, South Dakota, a tiny Black Hills mountain town, the mine provided thousands with jobs and produced around $3.5 billion worth of gold. But in the late 1990s, gold prices dropped dramatically, and the mine started losing money -- tens of millions of dollars a year. The mine was closed in 2003, by which time most of its employees had been laid off.