Statement on USFS Being Added to Clean Water Act Lawsuit

Statement on USFS Being Added to Clean Water Act Lawsuit

Published on August 19, 2020


“Since the beginning of its involvement in the Stibnite Mining District, Midas Gold has been working collaboratively with the state and federal government to find ways to address legacy environmental issues left by previous mining operators. Last summer, the Nez Perce Tribe filed a lawsuit against Midas Gold for alleged water quality concerns on or near the Stibnite Gold Project site that, if true, appear to stem from activities that occurred decades ago, long before Midas Gold even existed. Midas has never mined at any of the locations where the Nez Perce Tribe allege these water quality concerns. Further, some of the specific environmental issues mentioned in the lawsuit are alleged to be taking place on land owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service, including some areas outside of the proposed Stibnite Gold Project footprint.

In response to a court deadline, yesterday Midas Gold reluctantly took steps to add the U.S. Forest Service as a party in the Tribe’s lawsuit.  In June, we notified the Forest Service of the possibility that we might have to take this action notwithstanding that for over two years now, we have worked tirelessly with them and other regulators on an approach that could have led to real action on the ground and avoided today’s action entirely.  We have been in close contact with the U.S. Forest Service throughout this process and, with the litigation deadlines looming, this action was a necessary step to protect Midas Gold from being held responsible for alleged water pollution from lands owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

This was a step we hesitated to take for our company.  We strongly believe that a comprehensive environmental solution for the site is best developed on the ground in a partnership with the state and federal governments working collaboratively with other stakeholders, and not in the courtroom.

While we have been compelled to take action to address this ongoing litigation, we have also continued to advance a multi-year effort with the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, state agencies and Tribes to address legacy issues at site while working, in parallel with multiple federal, state and local agencies to complete the permitting for the comprehensive redevelopment and restoration of the site.  Both processes are still ongoing. We remain hopeful we will soon reach agreement with EPA so we can act as soon as possible on a site cleanup strategy and avoid the need for any further litigation.” Laurel Sayer, CEO of Midas Gold Idaho

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