The Facts: We Deliver on Our Promises

The Facts: We Deliver on Our Promises

As a company, we pride ourselves on being a good neighbor. To us, being a good neighbor means getting involved in our local community, working with each other to make the place we call home even better, being transparent about our plans for the future and seeking feedback from our neighbors.

In our continued effort to be a good neighbor, we want to make sure you have all the information about our company and project – especially because you’ll soon have a chance to weigh in on our project and provide feedback to regulators. In this blog, we want to give you the facts and directly address some claims that were made about our company in a recent letter to the editor published in the Star News.

Claim 1: Midas Gold’s first order of business was to install closed iron gates on a public road more than 10 miles away from their mining claims, locking the public out of public lands.

While there is a temporary gate briefly installed on Stibnite Road each spring, generally this statement is not true.

We know how much Idahoans love exploring our state. In fact, it is what many of our employees do in their free time. So, our company has worked to maintain and enhance public access near and around our site.

It is true that during spring runoff, a temporary gate is installed on Stibnite Road just outside of Yellow Pine, typically for around three weeks (sometimes it can be longer depending on the weather). The decision to install a gate during this short period of time was not made by Midas Gold but ordered by the U.S. Forest Service. The seasonal road closure is a regulatory condition handed down as part of our three-year exploration plan and we are obligated to comply.

The road closure is only during the muddy spring runoff season and only impacts full-size vehicles. We worked closely with regulatory agencies to minimize impact on the public and to ensure ATV and UTVs are still allowed to travel on the road, as well as private landowners who live upstream. As soon as the road dries out, the gate is immediately removed. It should also be noted that for years, this road was inaccessible for extended periods of time, until Midas Gold began maintaining year-round access, so public access has been improved, not reduced, by Midas Gold.

You can get more details on the temporary gate by reading our blog on spring road closures.

Claim 2: Valley County taxpayers paid to restore and upgrade Stibnite Road, primarily to benefit Midas Gold.

This is true and, at the same time, not true.

Early this spring, several large landslides wiped out sections of Stibnite Road. You can see the photos and learn more about the damage in our past blogs. Stibnite Road is a public road and controlled by Valley County. The road is not just used by Midas Gold but by many others. Still, over the last nine years, our company has been paying for road maintenance and upgrades. Taxpayers did help fund a portion of the work to reconstruct Stibnite Road this spring but we also helped.

Our company provided manpower and resources to help rebuild the road before the hot summer months, when it gets a lot of traffic from recreationalists. If the road hadn’t been repaired when it was, it would have been impossible to access to Thunder Mountain this summer or other public lands off of Stibnite Road. Thanks to the joint efforts between Midas Gold and Valley County, the road safely reopened before Harmonica Festival.

This year, the landslides were so large we needed to partner with the county to fix it. However, in years past, we’ve cleaned up many avalanches on our own in order to keep the roads open for everyone’s enjoyment. Since we first started exploring the site, our company has spent $400,000 upgrading portions of Stibnite Road and Johnson Creek. This work has included replacing culverts, cleaning out ditches, grading and re-graveling the road. We are not the only ones who benefit from this work; everyone who travels on these roads enjoys the improvements. In fact, many people in the local community have told us how grateful they are for our efforts.

Claim 3: Although the area near the Yellow Pine pit is very high in arsenic and mercury, time has capped most of the toxic sludge, old barrels of unknown chemicals left by decades of mining. Time and natural processes have brought the East Fork back to EPA levels safe enough for drinking water quality.

This is not true.

Current water samples taken from the historical Stibnite Mining District show the levels or arsenic, antimony and mercury far exceed what is considered safe for drinking water or aquatic life standards. It is not advisable to drink the  water up at site.  This information is publicly available here, here and here.

Claim 4: Midas Gold plans to drive a new tunnel through volcanic sediments high in arsenic and, sulfides and mercury.

While Midas Gold does plan to build a fish passageway to reconnect native salmon to their spawning grounds before mining begins, this claim is not true.

Firstly, there are no volcanic sediments in the historical Stibnite Mining District. The route of our proposed fish passageway is entirely through granite and goes around the main mineralized sections of rock on site. Out of an abundance of caution, we still plan to grout any areas on site where water is flowing to prevent any potential impacts on water quality.

Once we are done mining the Yellow Pine pit, we will backfill the area and rebuild the natural channel of the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River. This work will begin in year seven of operations. Reconstructing the old path of the river will allow us to leave the site better than we found it and permanently reconnect fish to their native spawning grounds for the first time since 1938.

The Yellow Pine pit is not pristine habitat for fish. In fact, the area desperately needs help and we have a plan to fix it.

Claim 5: Midas Gold was given over $100 million by other mining companies in just the past three years. But according to Midas’ investment information posted publicly, they have less than $12 million cash on hand and nothing to show for the $78 million they blew through in such a short time frame.

This is not true.

Over the last three years, our company has raised $56.2 million. The only mining company to invest in Midas Gold during this time has been Barrick Gold. Barrick Gold purchased $38 million worth of stock in our company in May 2018 and participated for $5 million in the June 2019 financing. This may sound like a lot, but individual and institutional investors own the most stock out of any shareholder group. On a fully diluted basis, Barrick Gold owns 13 percent of Midas Gold, while individual and retail investors own 33 percent.

All of the money our company spends is well documented and posted to our corporate website every three months. Most of the money we’ve spent to date has been on permitting and preparation of a feasibility study. These efforts are incredibly costly, but we are far along for both.

As of September, our company had $26.4 million in cash. Don’t take our word for it, check our public disclosure statements. This money will continue funding our permitting and feasibility study efforts.

As soon as we have our permits and a completed feasibility study, we will raise the funding necessary to develop the Stibnite Gold Project. This is the standard practice for mining companies. It would be highly unusual to have all of the money necessary for mining sitting in a bank account before a company received its permits.

We hope this information provided more clarity on our project and company. If you have a question about Midas Gold or the Stibnite Gold Project, please reach out to us. Come and visit with our team during our monthly office hours in Donnelly on the second Friday of each month. If you can’t visit us in-person, send our team an email at community@midasgoldinc.com. We are always happy to hear your feedback and answer your questions!