Permitting

Making Mining a Reality

Before the Stibnite Gold Project can move forward, even before we can lift one shovel of dirt to construct our proposed mine, our plan must undergo rigorous review by the federal government under the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), we must obtain more than 50 permits from federal, state and local agencies and set aside millions of dollars to guarantee reclamation.

NEPAis designed to make federal agencies consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of any proposed projects on public land, mining or otherwise. In our case, italso requires that the lead agency, the U.S. Forest Service, consider alternatives to the proposed Stibnite Gold Project that may reduce the environmental impacts. Community members have an opportunity to be involved in the decision-making process by providing comments about ourproject and offering up their thoughts on potential alternatives.

If you’d like to learn more on the permitting process, please check out this reference card we’ve created.

How NEPA Works

Step 1: Federal Agency Submits a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement

Since the Stibnite Gold Project will partially take placeon federally-managed public land, we needed to submit a plan to the U.S. Forest Service, the lead federal agency on our project. The NEPA process kickedoff when the U.S. Forest Serviceannounced it would prepare anenvironmental impact statement (EIS) for the project and give the community an opportunity to comment on the proposed plan.

In our case, there are also multiple other state and federal agencies working to review the project as well. These agencies include:

  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • NOAA Fisheries
  • Fish and Wildlife
  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Idaho Office of Energy and Mineral Resources
  • Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
  • Idaho Department of Lands
  • Idaho Department of Fish and Game
  • Idaho Department of Water Resources

Step 2: Agency and Public Scoping

Scoping identifies important issues that need to be addressed in the EIS. The U.S. Forest Service did an internal review on our project and then asked individuals and organizations to submit comments and provide recommendations during June and July 2017. Important issues that came to light through public feedback were project footprint size, public access through site and transmission line location, as well as concerns about protecting water quality and fish populations and habitat. After listening to this feedback, we’ve since submitted a number of alternatives and modifications to our original plan to the U.S. Forest Service that reduce the footprint of the project, provide seasonal access to site and reroute the transmission line away from residential property were possible. We have also submitted detailed plans for not just protecting, but enhancing water quality and fish populations and habitat.

Step 3: Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement

We are currently waiting for the U.S. Forest Service to complete a draft EIS (DEIS) for the Stibnite Gold Project. We expect this will be released at the end of 2019. The DEIS will include an analysis on how the proposed project will impact the environment and how we can offset or avoid those impacts. The DEIS will also include a number of alternative proposals to the original Plan of Restoration and Operations.

Many changes are made throughout the permitting process. Read our blog to find out why the process was designed so plans can continue to be refined.

Step 4: Public Comment on the draft EIS

As soon as the U.S. Forest Service releases the DEIS, they will invite the public to comment on it. If restoring the site is important to you, write to the U.S. Forest Service during the public comment period. Input during this period can influence the final design of the project.

Click here if you want us to alert you when the comment period starts.

Step 5: Final EIS is Released

As soon as the public comment period ends, the U.S. Forest Service will go back and analyze the comments they received and conduct any additional analysis needed to prepare the final environmental impact statement. The final EIS must address all substantive comments received during the comment period.

Step 6: Record of Decision

After all the steps above are completed, and an immense amount of data has been evaluated and the public has weighed in, the lead federal agency will publish their Record of Decision. This will give us the blueprint we will be required to follow for the life of the Stibnite Gold Project. Once it is released, the community will know exactly how we will be required to operate the site, as well as detailing the restoration and reclamation work we are required to complete.

The current schedule shows a Record of Decision on the Stibnite Gold Project will be released at the end of 2020.

Step 7: Financial Assurance

Before we can commence construction of the mine, agencies will determine how much money we will need to set aside in bonding to complete the important reclamation and restoration work at the site. Midas Gold and the lead regulatory agencies will take the Record of Decision, look at all of the outlined activities, and determine how much it would actually cost an independent, third-party contractor to come in and complete restoration work. This amount will be set aside in bonding before construction or mining can begin.

Want to know more about financial assurance? Read our blog to learn more about changes Idaho’s recently made to enhance protection of our lands.

Step 8: Permits

The Record of Decision to begin mining is not the end of working with federal, state or local agencies. We still are required to obtain over 50 permits for various aspects of our operations. These permits provide additional checks and balances to make sure we have the right plans in place to ensure the project is done right.

Only after we receive a Record of Decision and obtain all of the necessary permits, can the Stibnite Gold Project officially begin and start producing gold and antimony.

Learn more about the permitting process by visiting the U.S. Forest Service’s website.

Get all of the facts on our proposed Stibnite Gold Project.

Learn More

How to Submit Comments

Your next opportunity to comment on the Stibnite Gold Project will be when the U.S. Forest Service releases its draft Environmental Impact Statement. Currently, we anticipate the draft Environmental Impact Statement will be released at the end of 2019.

When it is released, you can submit written comments to the U.S. Forest Service.

Typically, community members have 45-days to submit their comments. Federal agencies are looking for comments that address specific elements of the proposed project and not just personal opinions. These comments provide new information that can help further analyze the plan.

When the comment period opens, we will provide a link on this page that will allow you to easily provide your feedback on the project to the U.S. Forest Service. You can also sign up with us to receive notice when the comment period opens.