Potential mine could be first gold and copper mine in Wyoming in decades
U.S. Gold Corp. has begun collecting data for a potential gold mine about 12 km (20 miles) west of Cheyenne, WY. While development of the mine could be years away it could mark the first steps for the development of the first gold and copper project in the state in decades.
The CK Gold Project would be located at the site of the dormant Copper King Mine, which neighbors Curt Gowdy State Park.
Wyoming News reported that a pre-feasibility study is close to completion and a plan to work on a more detailed feasibility study sometime next year. These steps will led to the permitting process.
“The more we get into it, the better it looks,” U.S. Gold Corp. President George Bee said.
The mine would likely operate for 10 to 12 years, followed by restoration of the land for cattle grazing, which it’s currently used for.
The potential mine would be partially located on state land allocated to help fund public schools. A 2012-13 estimate put revenues for K-12 education from this project at about $36 million, and at that time, gold prices were lower than they are today, said Jason Begger, who leads communications for the project. The amount also doesn’t include additional tax revenues the state would receive if the project pans out, he said.
The potential project would also create jobs. Bee estimated 1,000 to 1,500 people could be hired to develop the mine, with 150 to 200 working permanently at the site once mining began.
For Bee, a career mine developer, it’s a goal for any project to keep money within the state where it’s located. He also hopes to leave Wyoming’s economic situation better than it was, and to minimize the mine’s impact on the environment.
“I think this is a very viable project, which is going to create a lot of opportunity and, if approved, it would be mined successfully, reclaimed successfully and have a net benefit,” Bee said.
Begger said there’s been a huge effort this year to engage the community, from nearby landowners to statewide organizations. He’s tracked 48 meetings with about 130 people in an effort to be as transparent as possible, he and Bee said.
The company also recently negotiated a “critical” agreement with a private landowner that, if the project goes forward, would allow the company to access part of his land.
“If he didn’t want to do that, probably the mine wouldn’t be able to happen,” Begger said.