RAPID CITY, S.D. — County officials in the western part of South Dakota say a company may continue mining at a limestone quarry as the state Supreme Court considers a dispute over a proposed expansion.

The county Planning Department said in a recent report that the current mining activity is permitted because activity is confined to an area that was disturbed before 1994, when the county began requiring construction permits for mining.

Residents near the quarry south of Rapid City have complained about mining that has continued since the county commission last year revoked a permit for a proposed expansion, The Rapid City Journal reported.

Quarry operator Croell Redi-Mix appealed the permit revocation and won in circuit court. The county has appealed that ruling to the high court, which hasn’t issued a decision.

During a recent Pennington County Commission meeting, resident Duane Abata said he has seen up to 30 trucks a day emerging from the quarry since the revocation of the expansion permit. He said he also has seen rock-crushers, scrapers and other equipment operating there.

“We asked the county to issue a stop-work order,” Abata said. “We felt it is important since the Supreme Court’s action is still pending.”

A motion to issue a stop-work order to Croell Redi-Mix until the Supreme Court appeal is resolved failed on a voice vote.

Tom Brady, an attorney for Croell Redi-Mix, said he believes the company could expand its mining now, but that it’ll stay within the previously disturbed area while the appeal in the permit case is pending with the Supreme Court.

The company also has a separate, $10 million lawsuit pending against the county for damages it alleges were caused by the permit revocation.

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