Work on Midas Gold’s Stibnite Mine near Yellow Pine, ID could begin in about three years, The Associated Press reported.
The mine in central Idaho contains as much as 4 million oz of recoverable gold and about 2 million oz of silver.
Midas Gold Inc. Vice President Anne Labelle told lawmakers on the Senate Resources and Environment Committee on Feb. 9 that the site also has about 100 million pounds of antimony, a metal with a variety of uses. An important use is adding it to other metals to impart additional strength.
Labelle told lawmakers that if the mine were operating today, it would be the fourth largest in the country in terms of production. "This is a significant project not only for Idaho, but for the United States," she said.
The company owns the land and mineral rights on three areas where deposits are located, but it is working on getting permits from the U.S. Forest Service because some work will be on public land, Labelle said.
The company has been working to meet the concerns of area residents, she said, and it plans sometime this summer to submit its plan to the Forest Service. The process to get Forest Service permits takes three to five years, but she's optimistic it will be closer to three years, Labelle said.
Midas Gold Inc. is a Boise-based branch of Midas Gold Corp., headquartered in Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada.
The company's work will include getting gold out of tailings left by previous mining efforts over the decades that only recovered about 80 percent of gold, Labelle said. New technologies will let Midas Gold Inc. recover the other 20 percent, which she noted adds up to about 100,000 ounces.
Mining the tailings will fit in with reclamation efforts, which include removing the Yellow Pine Pit that blocks fish passage and making a more natural landscape, she said.
If approved, the length of the project is about 20 years. That timeframe includes about three years to get the mine running, 12 years of production, and some additional years to do reclamation work, Labelle said.