Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Longhorn Mountain Limestone Mine Has Stalled, Tribe Says

Longhorn Mountain near Coopertown, Okla. has major deposits of limestone and cedar Kiowa Indians use for ceremonies.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Longhorn Mountain near Cooperton, Okla. has major deposits of limestone and cedar Kiowa Indians use for ceremonies.

In August, tribal members and farmers near Cooperton were worried that limestone mining was about to start on Longhorn Mountain.

The mountain is a sacred site for the Kiowa Tribe, which uses the mountain as a temple for vision quests and a source of ceremonial cedar.

Material Service Corporation has had a permit to mine the site for nearly a decade, and the Cushing-based company has leased land from several property owners. The tribe told StateImpact they were blindsided by the mine, and, conversely, the company’s attorney says it didn’t know the mountain was sacred to the Kiowas.

A farmer who lives less than a mile from the mountain told StateImpact his family — which wrote a letter to the Oklahoma Department of Mines, protesting the operation — would likely be forced to move once mining started.

In May 2013, locals heard Material Services was hiring — and assumed mining was imminent. But, so far, no mining has started on Longhorn Mountain, KGOU’s Susan Shannon reports:

“There’s no equipment being moved there,” Kiowa historian Phil “Joe Fish” DuPoint tells KGOU, a StateImpact partner. “Actually nothing has really started yet as far as bringing in equipment to start making roads to start the mining.”

“They said would want to start in mid-August and we was kind of shook up about it, had to start moving the ball fast and everything, but we’ve been going out there, oh I’m going to say at least every two weeks to see if there’s any kind of movement going on out there,” Dupoint said.

“So I don’t know how much longer it will be, whatever but we’re still in the process of…we’re ready I guess.”

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership among Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »