The United States Forest Service (USFS) and other regulators working on the review of the Stibnite gold project, in central Idaho, have released an updated permitting schedule, which indicates that the draft environmental-impact statement (EIS) will be released next month.
Once the draft EIS is released, the public will have an opportunity to comment on the project, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.
“We are confident that the draft EIS will clearly illustrate the remarkable opportunity we have to use responsible, modern mining as both a path to restore the ecosystem at the Stibnite site, and also provide the family-wage jobs, capital investment and critical minerals our nation so clearly needs,” says Midas Gold president and CEO Laurel Sayer, adding that almost a decade of work has gone into studying, designing and improving the gold project.
The updated schedule indicates that USFS anticipates releasing a final record of decision in the third quarter of next year.
The company is facing litigation over claims relating to water impacts owing to historical mining activity prior to Midas’ involvement in the site. The Nez Perce Tribe last year filed legal action in the US District Court of Idaho.
Midas Gold says it has continued to evaluate opportunities to further refine the project with the objective of reducing the project footprint, improving water quality and developing a sustainable ecosystem supporting healthy fish populations that can access spawning grounds in the headwaters of the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon river for the first time in more than 80 years.
Sayer says the historical mining district where the project is located is in “desperate need of environmental repair”.
“Mining operations undertaken by prior operators, particularly in the WWII and Korean War era, left heavy impacts on the site that were largely abandoned once mining concluded and only minimal reclamation undertaken.”
The Stibnite gold mine will produce an average of 337 000 oz/y of gold over its mine life, at an all-in sustaining cost of $616/oz.
A prefeasibility study estimates that the project, at a gold price of $1 350/oz, has a net present value of $832-million and an internal rate of return of 19.3%.
If permitted, the project will also provide the US with its only domestically mined source of antimony.