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Forest Service seeking public comment over Stibnite gold mine proposal

The project would be located in portions of the Payette and Boise National Forests, located east of McCall in Valley County.
Credit: AP
This Sept. 19, 2018 photo shows the Yellow Pine Pit open-pit gold mine in the Stibnite Mining District in central Idaho, where a company hopes to start mining again. Documents show the Trump administration intervening in a U.S. Forest Service decision so that a Canadian company could write a key environmental report on its proposed open-pit gold mines in central Idaho. (Riley Bunch/Idaho Press-Tribune via AP)

BOISE, Idaho — The Payette and Boise National Forests are seeking public comment regarding environmental impacts of the recent Perpetua Resources proposal on the Stibnite Gold Project.

The project would be located in portions of the Payette and Boise National Forests, located east of McCall in Valley County. Nearly 500 acres of patented mining claims and 2,900 acres of unpatented claims are involved. 

The Forest Service is preparing an environmental impact statement under the National Environment Policy Act, as it is required by law to do so. The agency began collecting public comments on Friday, Oct. 28. Three in-person meetings are scheduled for December at the following locations.

  • McCall: Dec. 6, 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.
    Best Western Plus Lodge, 211 South 3rd Street
  • Cascade: Dec. 7, 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.
    American Legion Hall, 105 W. Mill Street
  • Boise: Dec. 9: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. and 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.
    Holiday Inn Express Airport, 3050 South Shoshone Street

Conservation groups have been actively encouraging members of the public to review the SDEIS and voice their concerns. In a press release sent Friday, the Idaho Conservation League said:

“Despite the alleged improvements to Perpetua’s mining plan, the South Fork of the Salmon River watershed will end up more degraded if the mine plan proceeds,” said Julie Thrower, attorney for Save the South Fork Salmon. “The area is also adjacent to protected Wilderness, is of great cultural significance, and contributes to the local recreation economy. This fragile ecosystem is no place for an open-pit gold mine.”

Perpetua Resources estimates the project to take approximately 21-28 years. This would include the redevelopment and construction (2-3 years), mining and processing (12-15 years), initial closure and reclamation (2-3 years), and post-closure and monitoring (5-7 years).  

In a press release sent Friday, Perpetua Resources CEO Laurel Sayer said:

“The Stibnite Gold Project is one step closer to restoring an abandoned mine site, providing hundreds of family-wage jobs for Idahoans, producing the only domestic mined source of antimony to protect our national security, and supporting America’s clean energy transition. Perpetua submitted an initial plan of restoration and operations six years ago and our team has worked tirelessly to develop a responsible, modern mining project that can have a positive impact on Idaho and our nation. We have listened to community feedback and the process has made our plan even better.”   

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