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May 17, 2012     The Adams County Record
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The Adams County Record Wednesday, May 16, 2012 Page 15 Golden Meadows Exploratory Drilling Project EA To Be Released This Week Document discloses effects of 3-years of drilling in Stibnite BY LAURA PRAMUK USFS The Golden Meadows Exploratory Drilling Project Environmental Assessment (EA) is expected to be released this Xhursday. This EA will disclose the environmental effects of continued exploratory drilling in the Stibnite Mining District for the next three years. Midas Gold has been exploring for gold, antimony, silver, and tungsten since 2009 on private and Payette National Forest (PNF) lands. The PNF has approved activities related to the operations via a series of one-year Categorical Exclusions. Depending on the results of this exploratory drilling Midas Gold may submit a Plan of Operations for surface and underground mining, and milling, which would trigger the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement. "The PNF wants this project to be one that the community and the Forest can be proud of now and in the future. To that end 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. The PNF is ensuring that the project meets all applicable requirements. Once a Plan of Operations has been accepted, it is not a question of whether the Forest Service will approve the Plan or not. "[he regulations related to mining locatable minerals on .National Forest Land gives the District Ranger options on how to protect surface resources. With that in mind, the District team of resource specialists are working hard, in partnership with the mining company, to develop mitigations and design criteria that both meets the needs of the company, while minimizing disturbance to sensitive surface resources such as soil, water quality, fish or their habitat, recreation, etc. Midas Gold hired a third party consultant to prepare the EA for the Forest Service so that deadlines could be met this summer. The resulting EA is a high quality document that discloses the effects of the - Plan of Operations and proposes mitigations that minimize or eliminate impacts. The draft Plan of Operations was receivet by the Forest Service in November 2011 and the final was accepted in February 2012. "Typically these types of enwronmental analyses take 1-2 years of planning. Because of our close working relationship with the proponent, our relationships with our partners, local and Tribal Governments and the hard work from the team of Mining District by Midas Gold specialists, I am proud of who may recreate, work or the progress we have made live in the area, as well as to date on this project" environmental, tribal, and said Botello. hunting interests. Midas The PNF is working Gold has worked with cooperatively with the Idaho Department of regulatory agencies, Environmental Qualify, such as the U.S. Fish the Idaho Division of and Wildlife Service Water Resources and the (USFWS) and the National Corps of Engineers to Oceanic and Atmospheric permit their domestic Administration (NOAA), well, wastewater system, the state of Idaho, and water rights, stream many organizations alterations, and septic that have interest in field that services their this project. We are also existing camp and drilling working with stakeholders operations. Experts at NOAA and USFWS help the Forest Service make sure that sensitive fish and wildlife resources will not be adversely affected by the project. This "pre-decisional" EA is not a draft. It will be followed by a Decision Document. However, comments are encouraged from the public during the 30-day comment period so that if there are issues not addressed in the EA they can be addressed via mitigations, design criteria or other means in the Decision Document. The EA and instructions on how to comment will be posted on the PNF website at: www.fs.usda. gov/projects/payette/ landmanagement/projects The comment period will end 30 days from the day of the release of the EA. A decision on the project is expected in mid-July. Xhe public may call Jim Egnew at 634- 0756 with questions about the EA or the project in general. 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