Canadian exploration company Midas Gold has consolidated ownership of the main gold deposits in the Stibnite-Yellow Pine area along the East Fork of South Fork of the Salmon River. It has mapped millions of ounces of gold in its Golden Meadows project and is seeking to learn even more.
So the Payette National Forest is beginning the environmental review process for more exploratory drilling in the area where millions of dollars were spent a decade ago to clean up past mining messes. It's also alongside one of the state's top chinook salmon spawning rivers.
U.S. Forest Service officials are expected to release a an environmental assessment of the effects of continued exploratory drilling in the Stibnite Mining District for the next three years Thursday.
Midas Gold has been exploring for gold, antimony, silver, and tungsten since 2009 on private land and the Payette National Forest The Forest Service has approved activities related to the operations via a series of one-year categorical exclusions, documents that say they don’t need a full environmental review.
If Midas Gold decides it has hit pay dirt it will submit a plan of operations for mining, and milling, and the Forest Service would have to begin a full environmental review.
“We are working with all of the parties involved to help make the project a success – success meaning that the company can accomplish its goals and the surrounding land and water resources are safeguarded from potential effects from exploratory drilling and associated activities”, said District Ranger Anthony Botello.
This project will get a lot of attention if it moves forward because of its location. But unlike projects in the Boise Basin, the state's environmental community doesn't automatically oppose mining in the Salmon River drainage.