Release: Midas Gold’s Track Record on Social & Environmental Sustainability Speaks Volumes as Project Progresses

Release: Midas Gold’s Track Record on Social & Environmental Sustainability Speaks Volumes as Project Progresses

Company’s Dedication to Safety, Collaboration & Protecting the Environment Define Modern Mining

 

RELEASE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Midas Gold has designed a modern mining project that benefits the community, protects and restores the environment and prioritizes employees’ well-being.
  • Through a commitment to environmental responsibility, the company’s proposal unifies cleaning up an abandoned legacy brownfields mining site with modern day mining.
  • Since 2015, the company has given 841 presentations on its project and taken more than 1,800 individuals on tours of the site.
  • Eight communities have signed a community agreement with Midas Gold for open communication throughout the life of the project and established a foundation to share profits.
  • Community feedback led Midas Gold to make significant changes to its plan, including reconnecting salmon to their native spawning grounds early in operations.
  • Midas Gold has already started environmental work at site, for example planting nearly 60,000 trees to reduce erosion and restore habitat.
  • The company has gone more than 100 consecutive months without any reportable spills and 55 months without a lost time safety incident.

DONNELLY, ID – When Midas Gold Idaho, Inc. first started evaluating the historic Stibnite Mining District in 2009, the company decided its actions should be driven by its commitment to safety, environmental responsibility, community, accountability, integrity and transparency. The company has lived by these values for more than a decade and employees credit their success to incorporating them into every aspect of their work. Now, before the U.S. Forest Service releases its Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Stibnite Gold Project for public comment, Midas Gold is recommitting to these same core values as the project moves to the next stage.

“Our values are the foundation of Midas Gold,” said Laurel Sayer, President & CEO of Midas Gold Idaho. “They guide our actions and are deeply ingrained in the design of the Stibnite Gold Project.  As we move further along in the permitting process, we believe that it is important for Idahoans to know the values that got us to where we are today, and that will carry us forward into the future.”

The historic Stibnite Mining District has seen over 100 years of mining activity.  In 1938, the area became subject to large-scale mining to aid the coming war effort through the production of tungsten and antimony, minerals critical to the defense sector and industry.  Subsequently, it became the largest producer of these critical minerals through World War II and the Korean War.  Since then, limited environmental remediation has occurred in those areas, leaving major environmental impacts remaining without a long-term remedy. Today, the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River flows directly into an abandoned mining pit, blocking salmon from reaching their spawning grounds and halting passage of bull trout. Tailings and rock waste lie on the valley floor, threatening ground- and surface-water quality.  These are but a few of the legacy impacts.

To be clear, Midas Gold was not involved in any of the historic mining that occurred at Stibnite. However, from the outset, the company’s plan for the Stibnite Gold Project was designed to solve the legacy impacts that remain at site and fund full-scale restoration through modern mining.  If permitted, the project would also provide America with its only domestically mined source of the critical mineral antimony and bring more than 500 direct family-wage jobs to rural Idaho, plus numerous indirect jobs in the supplies, services and support sectors.

Mining companies have often been seen as profit driven and everything else, including the environment, worker safety and communities, was an afterthought.

“At Midas Gold, we take a different approach; we believe it is time for mining companies to be ‘purpose driven’ and we are leading the way,” said Stephen Quin, President & CEO of Midas Gold Corp. “It is no longer enough for projects to just meet basic regulatory requirements. We believe modern mining companies must encompass a holistic view of their enterprise.  Mines must be about more than profit, they need to be about employees, community and protection of the environment; mines must earn the support of the communities closest to their sites in order to operate. These concepts are at the heart of Midas Gold.”

In the past decade, Midas Gold has worked hard to become an active member of its community. The company has hired locally, supported local non-profits, invested in community projects, and provided educational opportunities for students across the region.

“Midas Gold has brought science to life for so many of our students throughout the years,” said Clete Edmunson, Council Schools Superintendent. “The hands-on learning opportunities have helped open some children’s eyes to career possibilities they never even knew existed.”

Midas Gold has always stressed the importance of safety with all of its employees and sought ways to help make the community safer.

“For years, first responders couldn’t communicate around certain parts of Yellow Pine because we did not have a radio tower. This prevented first responders from being able to share potentially lifesaving information or safety alerts with one another,” said Steve Holloway, volunteer firefighter and Yellow Pine Resident. “When a radio tower was donated, Midas Gold stepped up to help install the tower and cover installation costs. Their help has greatly improved emergency communications and made the community safer for recreationalists, families and visitors.”

As Midas Gold developed its Plan of Restoration and Operations, it was important to the company to seek feedback from community members. We have held over 840 community meetings with hundreds of community members, including environmentalists, recreationalists, Tribal governments and individuals who live closest to the site.  Through these conversations, Midas Gold learned what was important to Idahoans and adapted their plan to prioritize these needs. The company’s plans to reconnect salmon to their native spawning grounds before mining even begins and formal commitment to implement a Dark Skies compliant lighting plan both came after conversations with a prominent Idaho conservation group. Changes to allow access through the site during operations came after meeting with multiple recreationalists and the closest community. The use of an alternate access route to site to reduce local impacts was suggested by a local citizen and quickly adopted by Midas Gold.

“Midas Gold did not seek feedback from the community to placate us. They took our feedback to heart and improved their plans for mining because of it,” said Mark Sabin, McCall Snowmobile Club. “Their willingness to listen and work alongside the community gives me great hope for what we can accomplish by working together in the future.”

“I’ve always believed actions speak louder than words and I think the actions of our company speak for themselves,”said Laurel Sayer, President & CEO of Midas Gold Idaho. “We’ve said from the beginning that we want to use modern, responsible mining to restore the ecosystem at the historic Stibnite Mining District and see economic benefits for the surrounding communities from a long-life modern mining operation. While we are still in the process of permitting our Project, some of this is already happening. We currently provide well-paying jobs to over 30 Idahoans. We have planted nearly 60,000 trees to help reforest and stabilize the site as well as repairing roads and replacing culverts and bridges. We’ve cleaned up and recycled more than 20 tons of materials that were left by past operators. And we’ve signed a binding agreement to work with eight communities closest to the site, so they can always address concerns and opportunities directly with our company, as well as establishing a mechanism for profit sharing with local communities now and in the future.” 

Midas Gold hopes its past and current work in the community and the historic Stibnite Mining District will give Idahoans confidence in how it will continue to conduct business in the future if the Stibnite Gold Project is permitted.  This public recommitment to its core values emphasizes that we are here to stay and to do it right.

The information below provides a more detailed look at how the company has lived out its values.

Environmental Studies

Previous mining activity in the district has left the site in need of repair.  Midas Gold has collected more than 3,700 samples of ground and surface water since 2012 to help determine the extent of the issues facing the site.  In certain areas, these samples have shown very high levels of arsenic and antimony, far beyond what is considered acceptable for drinking water or aquatic life standards. The Stibnite Gold Project is designed to address these water quality concerns, and we continue to strive for opportunities for further improvements.

This sampling is just one example of the enormous effort undertaken by Midas Gold, its consultants and through funding of government agencies, to characterize the site with $15.5 million spent on baseline data collection since 2009.  This work has quantified and qualified many of the legacy environmental impacts that are proposed to be addressed through the proposed Stibnite Gold Project, but we also are also looking to address impacts outside the proposed project area and are in discussions with the Environmental Protection Agency and others on a sitewide cleanup strategy.

These baseline costs are in addition to the approximately $36.4 million spent by Midas Gold on permitting. Of this, Midas Gold spent approximately $25.4 million on its consultants and approximately $11 million paying government and government consultant’s costs.

Environmental Undertakings

While these efforts have helped inform future solutions to address water quality at Stibnite that will be implemented during the redevelopment of the site, Midas Gold has already taken steps to help the environment at site today.

Midas Gold has already spent $1.7 million to date to reclaim some of the historic, as well as its own minor, impacts associated with studying the site.  For example, the company has planted nearly 60,000 trees, sourced from a local nursery, to reduce erosion at the site and repair habitat from years of wildfires and historic mining activity.  To further prevent erosion and protect the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River, Midas Gold worked to upgrade county roads off of its site, regrading, gravelling and repairing both the Stibnite and Johnson Creek roads at a cost of ~$225,000 in 2019 and 2020 alone.

To protect the environment, the company also monitors and maintains more than 198 best management practices sites, ensuring that environmental controls are maintained and disturbed areas properly recover.

To reduce its current environmental footprint, Midas Gold installed solar panels at the site in 2015 to power its activities.  The company has produced 45,075kWh of solar power to date, greatly reducing its need for fossil fuels at the project site, resulting in less spill risk associated with trucking fuel and lower greenhouse gas emissions from burning them.

But this is just the beginning, we are prepared to do so much, much more, once permitted. For more details about its commitments, see the Environment section of Midas Gold’s Environmental, Social and Governance Policy:https://midasgoldcorp.com/esg/environment/.

Community Involvement

After several years of more informal discussions, in 2018, Midas Gold and Adams County, Cascade, Council, Donnelly, Idaho County, New Meadows, Riggins and Yellow Pine signed a community agreement. The agreement established the Stibnite Advisory Council and Stibnite Foundation. The advisory council created a venue for Midas Gold and the eight communities to regularly discuss the project and areas of concern or interest throughout the life of the project and mine. The Stibnite Foundation supports projects that benefit the communities surrounding the site. So far, Midas Gold has donated $300,000 in cash and given the foundation 1.5 million shares in its listed parent company and is committed to providing additional funding in the future, including a share of profits during operations. The foundation recently awarded its first $50,000 in grants to 14 local non-profit organizations, as well as providing emergency grants to several local food banks struggling with the COVID-19 crisis.

“The Community Agreement ensures Midas Gold will continue moving forward with the same spirit of collaboration and transparency,” said Julie Good, Stibnite Advisory Council Chair.  “It provides us with a clear path to bring forward any concerns we have with the project and allows us to work collaboratively to seek resolutions. Midas Gold has already taken feedback from the Stibnite Advisory Council members and incorporated that feedback into their plans. Residents should have peace of mind that our voices will continue to be heard and valued in the future.”

For more information, visit the Stibnite Advisory Council website (http://stibniteadvisorycouncil.com/) or the Stibnite Foundation (http://stibnitefoundation.com/).

Company employees have also given many hours of their time to volunteer and serve in the community. Since Midas Gold started tracking community engagement in 2017, employees have spent close to 1,600 hours teaching Idaho students about science, technology, engineering and math and has provided scholarships to 30 students to attend college.  The Company has also invested, outside of its contributions to the Stibnite Foundation, $524,000 to support local organizations and community events, including the McCall Winter Carnival’s Children’s Torchlight Parade and funding much needed upgrades in Gold Glove Park in McCall, Armstrong Park in Cascade and City Park in Riggins. The company has also provided more than 1,800 coats, gloves and scarves to local children in need and partnered with Idaho’s dairy farmers to convert unsold milk into cheese and butter and donate it to local foodbanks in Cascade, Council, Donnelly, New Meadows and Riggins.

Transparency

Midas Gold has sought out opportunities to share details on the Stibnite Gold Project with community members and listen to their feedback. The company has given 841 public presentations on the project since 2015 and, in the past six years, taken 1,827 individuals on 192 tours of the historic Stibnite Mining District to show them in person both the legacy impacts existing at site and Midas Gold’s vision for the future.  Midas Gold has also established a comprehensive website (www.midasgoldidaho.com) with a wealth of information, answers to some of the most frequently asked questions and fact checks on the Project, including videos for those unable to see the site in-person.

Safety

Midas Gold has always placed a high priority on safety. Employees have cumulatively gone through over 5,000 hours of safety training since 2014.  The dedication to safety is reflected in the company’s track record at the site. Midas Gold has gone more than 100 consecutive months without any reportable spills, despite the numerous drilling programs and other activities taking place.  The Company has also gone 55 months without a lost time incident and only had one lost time incident in the past 88 months, when someone sprained their ankle at the site.

Midas Gold’s commitment to safety extends to the community too, where it has provided people and equipment to undertake backcountry rescues near Stibnite and has provided Stop the Bleed kits to Valley County schools.

For more information, see page two of Midas Gold’s Environmental, Social and Governance Policy here: https://midasgoldcorp.com/site/assets/files/2335/2019-mgc-esg-policy.pdf.

Economic Investment

From the start of exploration through the end of March 2020, Midas Gold has invested more than $221 million to bring the Stibnite Gold Project to life. This money has gone to fund resource definition, conduct detailed scientific analysis, hire leading mining and environmental experts to consult on the project concepts and design and engage with the local communities. Of that money, more than $36 million has been spent on permitting, $15 million has been spent on scientific baseline studies to understand the current conditions of the site and more than $30 million on how to design a project to create lasting solutions for the future. A significant portion of this money has gone to detailed scientific analysis and hiring third-party experts for independent review of the data Midas Gold collected at site and paying some of the regulator costs. Approximately $60 million has been spent on exploration and resource and reserve definition drilling.

Midas Gold has always been committed to hiring and purchasing goods locally whenever possible. Through the end of March 2020, the company has spent nearly $86 million in Idaho, purchasing everything from tree seedlings to trucks, and the fuel to keep them moving, from local enterprises.  If the Stibnite Gold Project is permitted, the company would invest another billion dollars in the project, a significant investment for Idaho.

For more information, visit Midas Gold Idaho’s economic resources page: https://midasgoldidaho.com/resource-library-economic-impacts/.

Advocating for Improved Regulations

Midas Gold, working closely with the Idaho Mining Association, was one of the mining companies to lead the charge in 2019 to update Idaho’s financial assurance laws related to environmental bonding for mining sites. House Bill 141 required mining companies to calculate the actual costs for environmental reclamation, rather than using the state’s old model of a $15,000 flat fee per acre.  The new law is designed to ensure the right amount of money is set aside to ensure proper reclamation.  The new regulations also allow for regular updating of bonding estimates, to ensure that the reclamation cost estimates remain current.

“We felt it was important for Midas Gold to help strengthen state financial assurance laws in order to protect Idaho’s lands and taxpayers,” said Sayer. “By supporting the passage of this legislation, we will be required to set aside more money for reclamation efforts than under the old rules. However, we felt this was critical to creating a brighter future for Idaho and helping reform our industry.”

Midas Gold has also been working with the mining industry, led by the Idaho Mining Association, to update the antiquated cyanide rules for Idaho. Cyanide has been safely used in mining for decades, but the lack of gold mining in Idaho since the 1990s means that the regulations have lagged current best practices and should be updated. Midas Gold is committed to manage its cyanide use following the international standards.

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Forward-Looking Information

Statements contained in this news release that are not historical facts are “forward-looking information” or “forward-looking statements” (collectively, “Forward-Looking Information”) within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation and the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-Looking Information includes, but is not limited to, disclosure regarding possible events, next steps and courses of action including actions to be taken by the USFS and cooperating agencies, the State of Idaho, tribes and other state, federal and local government agencies and regulatory bodies; the timing and procedure for the next steps in the regulatory process; the impact of, and the evolving situation surrounding, the COVID-19 pandemic; and the updated schedule for the Draft EIS. In certain cases, Forward-Looking Information can be identified by the use of words and phrases or variations of such words and phrases or statements such as “ensure”, “looking to”, “plan”, “potential”, “prepared to” and “want to”  in relation to certain actions, events or results “could”, “if”, “may”, “will”, “would”, be achieved. In preparing the Forward-Looking Information in this news release, Midas Gold has applied several material assumptions, including, but not limited to, assumptions that, notwithstanding the evolving situation around the COVID-19 pandemic, the current objectives concerning the Stibnite Gold Project can be achieved and thatits other corporate activities will proceed as expected; that general business and economic conditions will not change in a materiallyadverse manner; that the formal review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) (including a joint review processinvolving the USFS, the State of Idaho and other state, federal and local  agencies and regulatory bodies) as well as the public comment period, Environmental Impact Statement and Record Of Decision will proceed in a timely manner and as expected; that agency engagement, cooperation and collaboration as contemplated under the interagency Memorandum Of Understanding will follow the mutually agreed upon schedule set out therein and proceed as expected and that all requisite information will be available in a timely manner.Forward-Looking Information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Midas Gold to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressedor implied by the Forward-Looking Information. Such risks and other factors include, among others, changes due to the COVID-19  pandemic, changes in laws and regulations and changes in the application of standards pursuant to existing laws and regulations whichmay result in unforeseen results in the review process under NEPA; uncertainty surrounding input to be received pursuant to the public comment period; risks related to dependence on key personnel; risks related to unforeseen delays in the review process including availability of personnel from the USFS, State of Idaho and other state, federal and local agencies and regulatory bodies (including, but not limited to, future US government shutdowns); risks related to opposition to the Project including litigation involving the Nez Perce Tribe; risks related to the outcome of litigation and potential for delay of the Project, as well as those factors discussed in Midas Gold’s publicdisclosure record. Although Midas Gold has attempted to identify important factors that could affect Midas Gold and may cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in Forward-Looking Information, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that Forward-Looking Information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on Forward-Looking Information. Except as required by law, Midas Gold does not assume any obligation to release publicly any revisions to Forward-Looking Information contained in this news release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.