Midas calls ICL opposition to gold mine uncompromising

A Canadian mining company that hopes to mine gold in a tributary of the Salmon River called the Idaho Conservation League’s opposition “uncompromising.”

A Midas Gold official said in a letter released Monday, the company is still only in the exploration phase and hasn’t determined the extent of its mining plans in the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River near Yellow Pine. The ICL appealed the Forest Service’s approval of construction of 139 drill pads and 178 drilling holes for exploration.

Already the company has planted 12,800 trees, reclaimed five acres, reduced dust, replaced culverts and co-funded a water quality study. Its exploration employs 100 people in recession-hit Valley County.

“We believe that our voluntary efforts to remediate legacy environmental disturbance created by prior owners of the properties have improved the environment at the site,” said Anne LaBelle, Midas vice president of legal and sustainability.

She said the company as designed the project around the goal of a completely reclaimed site where the Stibnite Mine had destroyed habitat for salmon and other species.

“Our conceptual design of a possible mining operation incorporates extensive remediation programs that are intended to thoroughly reclaim legacy environment disturbance at the Golden Meadows site, to restore fish migration to the East Fork of the Salmon River for the first time in 80 years and to create extensive fish enhancement projects and wetlands that would result in a substantially enhanced environmental situation versus the status quo,” LaBelle said.

The ICL said in a press release last week it opposed the project’s plans to dig three pits, including one that would require dewatering the East Fork of the Salmon River and routing it in a pipe while mining.

LaBelle said despite the opposition, Midas still seeks to collaborate with the ICL.