Idaho Lawmakers Send Message to D.C. to Support the Stibnite Gold Project

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Idaho Lawmakers Send Message to D.C. to Support the Stibnite Gold Project

Idaho’s House of Representatives and Senate overwhelmingly passed a joint memorial asking the President of the United States, Idaho’s congressional delegation, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the secretary of the Interior and the secretary of Agriculture to take the steps necessary to approve Midas Gold’s Stibnite Gold Project in a timely cost-effective manner. An unprecedented 71 lawmakers signed on as co-sponsors of the joint memorial, including leadership in the Republican and Democrat caucuses in both houses. This is a huge step forward for our company as we work with the U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies to permit our project.

We appreciate the support we’ve received from Idaho’s Republicans and Democrats and thank them for their request for a timely review and approval of the Stibnite Gold Project. We strongly believe the Stibnite Gold Project needs to be permitted the right way and follow every step of the process under the National Environmental Policy Act in order to protect the environment, gather input from Idahoans and ensure all of the rules and regulations are followed. However, permitting a mine in the U.S. can take considerably longer than other countries with comparable environmental standards. A timely review of our project will allow environmental restoration work to start sooner and for Idahoans to see the economic benefits of this project.

 

The Stibnite Mining District was abandoned after more than a century of mining activity prior to Midas Gold becoming involved in the area. Much of the mining took place in the 1920s to 1950s, well before modern state and federal regulations existed, so the area was never properly reclaimed. Today, millions of tons of unconstrained tailings remain at the site, native fish have been unable to swim through the site for more than 80 years and waterways and water conditions in the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River are damaged. With modern mining techniques, we can redevelop the site and finally restore it, correcting the legacies of the past. The plan of restoration and operations we filed with the U.S. Forest Service in September 2016 outlines how we will reconnect salmon to their native spawning grounds, rehabilitate 13-miles of stream channels and improve water quality in the area by reducing erosion from disturbed areas, reprocessing and safely storing the tailings that are a likely source of metals leaching into surface and groundwater.

Regulations in place today would require Midas Gold to set aside all of the funds necessary to cover the cost of environmental cleanup prior to the start of mining. This ensures that even if the unexpected happens the historic Stibnite Mining District will finally be restored. Our project also prioritizes repair and restoration of legacy impacts from the very beginning. Without the project and the private investment it brings, there is little hope on the horizon that Stibnite will be restored.

The Stibnite Gold Project will provide a huge opportunity for Idahoans and be an economic boon for the state. The project will be a $1 billion investment in Idaho and bring hundreds of well-paying jobs to rural communities. During operations, the annual payroll will be $40 million. As an Idahoan and mother myself, I know this would be a game changer for many families.

The Stibnite Gold Project will produce gold, silver and antimony. Antimony is considered a critical mineral for the United States because of its use in flame retardants and as a metal strengthener – which makes it essential to the defense and energy sectors. When permitted, the Stibnite Gold Project would be the only domestic source of mined antimony. The U.S. currently imports most of this mineral from China – which controls 83 percent of the world’s antimony production. According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, American dependence on foreign minerals has doubled in the last 20 years.

In the joint house and senate memorial Idaho lawmakers sent to the President and other federal officials, they wrote they believe that Midas Gold’s commitment to mine in a way that restores and protects the environment can serve as a global template for the industry. The memorial also recognized our involvement in the community and the fact that we are the right team to undertake this project. They ended the memorial by asking federal agencies to commit adequate resources and knowledgeable staff to thoroughly review our permit under the National Environmental Policy Act requirements and to move forward to approve the Stibnite Gold Project in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Currently, we expect the next comment period on our plan of restoration and operations to be in late 2018.