We are the Children of Stibnite

We are the Children of Stibnite

The following is a special guest blog from Don Bailey, Kay Meir, Jim Collord, Elizabeth Hill, Robin Sandy McRae, Betty Prinz, Bob Bailey, Lorie McRae Icenhower, Curtis Clarkson, Craig Demoss, Lynn Coleman and Claudia Clarkson King  – all of whom spent part of their childhood living in the Stibnite Mining District. 

We are the children of Stibnite.

Our families lived at Stibnite during the peak years of the mining district’s long history, primarily through the Second World War and Korean War.  Our fathers worked for the mining company and some of our mothers, besides raising families, worked as nurses, teachers, mail runners and more.   Every family at Stibnite was working toward the same goal, we were unearthing gold, tungsten, and antimony to support our Nation.  According to the Federal Munitions Board, as stated in the Congressional Record, the work they did to produce tungsten and antimony at Stibnite shortened World War II by a year and saved a million American lives.

Because of our parents’ important work, we spent our childhood years tucked away in the remote mountains of Idaho. We fished in the creeks and lakes, went to school together in a new, four classroom grade school and celebrated community events in the “rec” hall.  Stibnite made us into who we are today.  Being at Stibnite instilled in us a sense of adventure, taught us hard work and showed us the power of being part of something bigger than ourselves.

When Stibnite was our home it was alive with activity.  People worked hard.  Every day when they went to work, they wanted to do their part to help protect our country.  We look back on those years at Stibnite with fond memories and pride.

When the war was over and our parents’ jobs were done, our homes were packed up and our families moved on.  But the work started generations ago is not yet finished.

The story of Stibnite is not complete because of the way our parents left the site.  They were amazing people, did amazing things for our country and followed the letter of the law.  But, back in those days mining and reclamation did not go hand in hand.  The environmental regulations and standards required today simply did not exist.  And, quite frankly, our country’s expectations for the way industry should care for the land was drastically different than it is today.  If there had been strict environmental standards, our parents would have followed them.  However, there were few standards; as result, there are legacies at Stibnite that need to be addressed now.

Today, the area has two option. It can sit, as it is today, with waste and damaged rivers. Or, we can invite a new generation of Idaho miners to help complete the story. Midas Gold Idaho has identified an opportunity and developed a project our parents would surely support.  The company has a plan to continue the mining at Stibnite, while also addressing legacy issues. This project would produce the only domestically mined source of antimony in the United States. Antimony is still vital in supporting our national security as it was during World War II.  Today, it also has new applications in the energy sector and aerospace industries.  Having access to this mineral at home will help our nation secure its future.

Besides having a large deposit of antimony, the site also has significant deposits of gold.  And it is these deposits, when properly mined and processed, which will provide the funding to complete the needed site reclamation.

As the children of Stibnite, we understand better than anyone that mining created the problems facing Stibnite today.  However, we also know mining practices and requirements on how to restore the land have evolved from what they were generations ago.  The American mining industry faces the toughest regulatory oversight and scrutiny in the world.  Under current laws, no mining can occur at the site until all the funding needed to properly reclaim and restore the land is set aside, guaranteeing Stibnite will not be abandoned.  The site will finally get the attention needed.

When our parents set out to mine at Stibnite, their goal was to help produce the minerals our country needed to win the war.  They met that goal.  Today, Midas Gold Idaho has a different goal.  Yes, they want to help secure our nation’s mineral future like the past generations, but they also want to prove mining and the environment can work together.  They want to leave the site better than they found it. We believe they will be able to meet their goal – just like our parents.

Stibnite deserves a new chapter in its history.  In this chapter, mining would be brought back to the site, hundreds of jobs would be created, the economic benefits for Valley County and the State of Idaho would be immense, and the site will be carefully restored.  With this opportunity, Midas Gold will prove mining can be done here at home in America in accordance with today’s mining and environmental rules.