Government helicopters to fly around St. Louis looking for precious metals


by Russell Kinsaul / News 4 | @RussellKinsaul

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 11 at 7:40 PM

 (KMOV) – Low flying government helicopter in the St. Louis area are making some nervous. The flights will barely clear treetops and will start soon.

The flights will start February 24 and will scour the countryside in three counties to the west of St. Louis; Franklin, Washington, and Crawford Counties.

The US Geological Survey will be using sensitive hi-tech equipment to look deep in the ground for precious minerals but some residents in the area of these over-flights are suspicious.

Soon, the skies over Franklin County will be the sight of a search for precious metals like iron, copper, cobalt and gold.

“Missouri is a very special place and that we’re going to try to produce images that will allow people to explore this further,” said Larry Meinert with the US Geological Survey.

Resident, Jack Thomas said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s none of their business.”

“”If they find it, they want it and if they want it, they’re going to get it at the expense of others,” said Cindy Bauwens of Franklin County.

This helicopter, equipped with high tech sensors will be able to see down several hundred feet into the rocks in a way impossible just 20 years ago; and produce images like these that will tell experts if the right rock formations exist for finding these precious metals.

“So this survey will be a real state of the art survey. We’ll be able to see things that people have never seen before,” said Meinert.

The sensors will also look for the possibility of rare earth metals that are used in smartphones, lasers and flat screen TVs. Political and military leaders are nervous that China controls most of the world’s production of them. But who will make money from the metals that might be found.

“Would they tell you or would they keep their mouth shut. And send somebody out to try and buy your property, you know I don’t trust anybody,” said Jerry Bauwens.

News 4’s Russell Kinsaul did some checking and if precious metals are found on your property and a company wants to mine them,  most property owners own their property rights and would profit, unless those rights were sold off years ago and you would have had to be notified about that when you bought your property.