ICL opposes Midas Gold mine on Salmon River tributary

The Idaho Conservation League has made public its opposition to a proposed gold mine in the headwaters of the Salmon River in Valley County.

Midas Gold, a Canadian company, is seeking to open a mine that would have three open pits, one of which would require dewatering the East Fork of the Salmon River and routing it in a pipe while mining. The Forest Service has authorized construction of 139 drill pads and 178 drilling holes in the headwaters of the East Fork of the South Fork Salmon River.

The Idaho Conservation League is appealing that decision.

“The South Fork of the Salmon is one of the prized rivers of Idaho and already worth its weight in gold,” said John Robison, Public Lands Director of the Idaho Conservation League said in a press release. “Idaho’s clean water and prized fisheries deserves the highest level of scrutiny, every step of the way.”

The South Fork of the Salmon is critical habitat to chinook salmon and steelhead, which makes any mine have to clear a high bar. The state and federal government and past miners spent millions to clean up after historic mining but the water remains contaminated.

The ICL has worked with Formation Capital on its cobalt mine northwest of Salmon in the Salmon River Basin and on Monsanto’s proposed Blackfoot Bridge phosphate mine in eastern Idaho. It did not oppose the Gold Hill Mine near Centerville after it was assured environmental impacts would be minimal.