We Will Continue to Set the Record Straight on Stibnite Gold Project

We Will Continue to Set the Record Straight on Stibnite Gold Project

For the last decade, Midas Gold Idaho has worked closely with community leaders, policymakers, residents, and other stakeholders to develop the Stibnite Gold Project – an undertaking that would energize our economy and address longstanding environmental problems from legacy mining activity at Stibnite. Through redevelopment of a vibrant mining industry, we are committed to remedying the environmental problems of the past by applying modern, sustainable mining techniques to build a positive future for the Stibnite Mining District.

We’ve come a long way in this effort, but our work is only beginning. As we enter the next stages of the project, the public is entitled to a clear, transparent presentation of the facts, so each member of the community can make their own informed decision about the path forward.

That’s why we’re taking a moment to address an editorial that recently appeared in the Star-News. The piece calls attention to important considerations surrounding the Stibnite Gold Project. We welcome and encourage this type of analysis. And while the piece makes several points about our industry, unfortunately, much of what was said does not accurately portray our project, our company or the future of the Stibnite Gold Project.

The summary below addresses a few of the statements and inaccuracies in the piece in order to set the record straight and provide our community with the information they need to make an informed decision about our project.

If you have questions after reading this summary or any other information surrounding our project, we encourage you to reach out to us at community@midasgoldinc.com. We’d love to hear from you and are more than willing to talk through the facts about our proposed plan and our commitment to the community.

Claim 1: “My initial impression of Midas Gold was good and I was cautiously optimistic about their intentions for the Stibnite site and Valley County.”

THIS IS THE RIGHT IMPRESSION.

Our intentions for the historical Stibnite Mining District, Valley County and the surrounding area are good not just because we believe in our project, but also because we call this community home.

Midas Gold Idaho is based right here in Idaho and nearly everyone working on our plan lives here. We are dedicated to doing business the right way by caring for the environment, our community and our employees. We specifically designed our project based on the notion that we can be stewards of the environment, minimize our impact and leave the area better than we found it while creating significant local economic opportunity along the way.

We know this area and we know the site – and we know our plan is much more than an economic development opportunity. It also represents the only viable path to fixing the problems that already exist at the historical Stibnite Mining District given that Environmental Protection Agency absolved all the federal agencies responsible for the contaminated conditions.

Point 2: “Whether we like to admit it or not all of us are consumers of products that use materials from the mining industry. This fact will not change any time soon…”

THIS IS TRUE – AND IT IS UP TO US TO MEET CONSUMERS’ NEEDS WITH A RESPONSIBLE MINING INDUSTRY THAT IS AS SUSTAINABLE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS AS POSSIBLE.

While the U.S. has vast mineral resources, we aren’t currently meeting domestic demand with domestic supply. Our project can change that – and play a vital role in improving the strategic, economic, and environmental outlook not just of Idaho, but of the whole nation.

The Stibnite Gold Project site is the largest known deposit of antimony in the United States. And even if you’ve never heard of antimony, odds are you rely on it every day. Americans use 44,000,000 pounds of antimony each year. Antimony is used in batteries, from cell phones to hybrid vehicles, and is often blended with textiles, plastics and paints used in your home, office, vehicles and elsewhere to make them fire retardant and safer.

Unfortunately, the U.S. does not have a domestically mined source of antimony today. Instead, we rely on foreign countries – mainly China – for this mineral. By mining the Stibnite Gold site, we can bring our ethical standards to the minerals we use every day.

Point 3: “We can at least hold the mining companies accountable and not allow irresponsible exploitation of our state.”

WE COULDN’T AGREE MORE – AND THAT’S WHY WE’RE WORKING CLOSELY WITH POLICY, REGULATORY AND ENVIRONMENTAL STAKEHOLDERS TO ENSURE THIS ACCOUNTABILITY.

Since the moment we began to explore the historical Stibnite Mining District, we’ve been deeply committed to ensuring the highest level of accountability and responsibility. Mining projects in the United States today must meet some of the most rigorous standards in the world. In addition to navigating a rigorous permitting process, obtaining more than 50 different permits from local, state and federal agencies, we are also legally required to put up the necessary funds for reclamation before mining even begins. We’ve proactively worked with lawmakers to enact even more rigorous guidelines for our own project and Idaho’s mining industry in general. Midas Gold Idaho strongly backed a bill this year that increased reclamation bonding requirements for mining companies in Idaho. Instead of setting aside a flat fee per acre for reclamation, mining companies must now calculate and set aside what it would actually cost a third-party to come in and fully reclaim the site. This strengthens reclamation laws that would govern our project – and add an additional layer of protection for Idaho lands, waterways and taxpayers. This type of financial protection is a stark and dramatic change from what happened with mining projects even a few years ago.

We welcome and support a strong regulatory and policy framework capable of overseeing our efforts in the most transparent way possible. We are also committed to making sure that our own oversight practices are as strong and sound as possible. To that end, we updated our Plan of Restoration and Operations in 2019 to ensure this project does even more to protect and restore the environment, now and in the future.

We have even established a unique system of accountability and communication with the communities around the project through the Community Agreement Process. We want to hear from our neighbors who share our home, and we have incorporated an effective and actionable pathway to capture their feedback into our project design. The agreement also established a direct path of communication and feedback with communities through the life of the project.

Point 4: “…believe it or not there are mine owners that are both good stewards of the environment and responsible members of the communities they impact.”

HE’S RIGHT – AND THAT IS WHAT WE ARE.

As outlined above, we’ve built our plan with the clear, stated commitment to go above and beyond what is required of a mining company. We’re doing this because it is the right thing to do, and because we believe our plan can achieve the simultaneous goals of restoring our environment and meeting our nation’s mineral needs. We believe transparency is critical to the process and success. We listened to stakeholders and the local community when designing our project. We will continue to do so as the project moves forward. We’re committed to working with the community to make sure this project moves us toward the bright future we all seek.

Point 5: “I became discouraged and disappointed when I read that Barrick Gold had bought into the project since I am all too familiar with their track record in South America and in Chile in particular.”

BARRICK OPERATIONS IN SOUTH AMERICA ARE NOT COMPARABLE TO THE STIBNITE GOLD PROJECT.

The author has experience in the mining sector, and this experience means he understands that operations across companies, countries and jurisdictions can vary widely. He is also correct that Barrick Gold Corporation has a stake in the company, but not the project – unfortunately, misinformation in the public has created unfounded concern.

In 2018, Barrick Gold Corporation purchased approximately 19.9 percent of the total common shares of Midas Gold Corp. However, upon conversion of some existing convertible notes, their ownership will be reduced to less than 13 percent. This would leave them far short of being the largest shareholder of the company, and far from able to alter the plan we have already worked with the community to develop. In fact, if the plan we proposed is approved, we will be required to follow that plan no matter what happens. Those opposed to the project try to use the investment by Barrick to frame our project as owned by outside interests. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

It would be more accurate to associate Midas Gold Corp. with the tens of thousands of individual shareholders from the U.S. and around the world—who own more shares of the company than any single entity. These shareholders, like all shareholders, are investing in our project because they believe in the project and how we as a company are committing to environmental restoration and community partnership.

Midas Gold Idaho is an American company that operates the project and retains 100 percent ownership of the Stibnite Gold Project. Our plan is – and will continue to be – to oversee the permitting process, manage construction and maintain operational control of the Stibnite Gold Project. Decisions regarding the future of the Stibnite Gold Project will continue to be made by Midas Gold staff and our Idaho board. Access to global capital will continue to play a role in Midas Gold Corp.’s future – and in the future of countless other public companies – but the Stibnite Gold Project will remain an Idaho endeavor.

Point 6: “They have already begun the predictable process of selling out to the big international mining interests… Barrick now owns 20% and as the project moves closer to approval they will likely increase their share.”

THIS IS NOT TRUE.

Barrick Gold has a 13 percent stake in Midas Gold Corp., not the project, on a fully diluted basis, or 19 percent of distributed shares. Individual investors own more shares than any other entity.

We are judicious with every penny and have invested in the science behind our project design, in hiring the best team possible and in being a good neighbor. It is also a simple fact that we have now spent well over $180 million in getting the project to where it is today. We need strategic partners to help us continue to fund the work until we have the permission to move forward with the project.

These are the facts.

We earnestly support public engagement, and the feedback and insights offered in the piece have value. But that value is diluted when the narrative diverges from the facts.

We are as committed today as we were when we first began evaluating this project ten years ago. We believe that we – in partnership with stakeholders across Idaho – can improve the Stibnite Mining District, create real and lasting economic opportunity and help bring a productive and environmentally sustainable future to this important – and beautiful – part of Idaho.

We’re an Idaho company run by Idahoans. We’re committed to doing what’s best for the state we call home. That is what drives us today, and that’s what will guide us as we move into the future.