Despite local residents supporting a new project led by Perpetua Resources Corp. (NASDAQ: PPTA) (TSX: PPTA) at an abandoned gold mine in Idaho, environmental groups are arguing against the project.
On Wednesday, Perpetua announced that the United States Forest Service’s 75-day comment period on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for the state’s Stibnite Gold Project had closed and yielded over 15,000 letters from locals supporting the company’s exploration endeavour.
The development marks a significant milestone in the permitting process for Perpetua, and the company now awaits a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) on the project (expected mid-way through this year) before commencing full-scale operations at the Idaho site.
Perpetua has had to make several modifications to its mine plan in response to public and agency feedback about Stibnite in order to minimize the environmental impact of the proposed project before eventually attaining the FEIS and ROD needed to proceed.
However, environmental groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity, the Idaho Conservation League and Advocates West are not pleased about Perpetua’s project and have a very different perspective.
A coalition of local and national conservation groups they are part of says that the planned open-pit cyanide leach gold mine would be harmful to endangered species, dangerous to public health and the supply of clean water, violate Indigenous treaty rights and permanently damage thousands of acres of public land.
On Monday, the coalition listed multiple reasons why the U.S. Forest Service should reject the proposed mine plan. They include a failure to minimize the environmental impact required by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and Organic Act; a failure to demonstrate compliance with the Clean Water Act; conflicts with established treaty rights; and an inability to adequately comply with the Endangered Species Act.
A "restoration" opportunity? Please. The proposed Stibnite Gold Project would threaten harm to fisheries, wildlife, and water quality. Today, January 10, is the last day for comments! Learn more➡️ https://t.co/921bvVz6yz
— Advocates West (@AdvocatesWest) January 10, 2023
In addition to producing gold, the project will also provide the United States with a domestic source of antimony that will help the country to stop relying on China and Russia for the mineral.
“The Stibnite Gold Project can secure the only domestic antimony reserve to protect our national security and support America’s clean energy transition, restore an abandoned mine site and provide hundreds of well-paying jobs to Idahoans. Today, we are proud to say we are one step closer to making all these benefits a reality,” said Laurel Sayer, CEO of Perpetua on Wednesday.
“Antimony is needed for information technology products, weapons systems, medical uses, a component of mobile phones, and countless other uses. Antimony is critical to our national security,” said Cecilia Tyler, a retired U.S. Army Colonel.
Over 15,000 people showed their support for the Stibnite Gold Project during the Supplemental Draft EIS comment period 🎉
We want to take a moment to thank every single one of you for showing up in support of this project! Your voice was heard loud and clear. pic.twitter.com/q5sOeX4uZy
— Perpetua Resources (@Perpetua_Idaho) January 11, 2023
The proposed project would restore an abandoned gold mine into production once again
“While Perpetua has been telling the public that this is a restoration project, when we actually read through the environmental analysis, we learned that the proposal would severely degrade habitat for species like bull trout and wolverine instead of improve it,” said John Robison with the Idaho Conservation League.
“Despite the company’s promises for restoration, the environmental review predicts that the mine plan will leave a pit lake polluted by arsenic and mercury,” added Bonnie Gestring, Northwest Program Director at Earthworks.
Calibre Mining (TSX: CXB) (OTCQX: CXBMF) is another North-American gold producer that has a mission to help protect the environment. The company is actively engaged in a series of environmental initiatives in Central America. Calibre recently released a short documentary showcasing its sustainability work in Nicaragua.
Calibre Mining is a sponsor of Mugglehead news coverage