About 70 former mine workers now work for the lab. Greg King, a lifelong Lead resident, is one of them.
"The whole town was built up around the Homestake," King said. "As the property closed and people left, a lot of employees left. Now, there's a lot of excitement in town. People are very thrilled that the Homestake is once again, albeit not as a mine."
Liz Tiger, who owns a consignment store on Main Street, said the resurrection of the mine represents hope for Lead, a town of about 3,100 residents about a half-hour from the Wyoming border. Three generations of Tiger's family worked for the mining company.
"The economy up here really died after Homestake shut down," she said. "It was absolutely devastating."
Had it not been for Deadwood, Lead's higher-profile neighbor that draws about 2 million tourists a year, the town might have gone under, she said.
"I was raised through Homestake. I was very sad when it was shut down. (The mine) definitely needed to be used for something."