Release: Midas Gold Continues to Advance Solutions to Address Pre-existing Contamination in the Stibnite Mining District

Release: Midas Gold Continues to Advance Solutions to Address Pre-existing Contamination in the Stibnite Mining District

Published on August 9, 2019


Midas Gold Corp. understands that the Nez Perce Tribe has followed on from its Notice of Intent to sue (as reported by Midas Gold on June 6, 2019) by filing suit in federal court on essentially the same matters as discussed in the June 6, 2019 release. Midas Gold will vigorously defend the unwarranted and misguided lawsuit over water quality in the Stibnite Mining District related to historical mining activity dating back over 80 years and long before the Company acquired any rights to the site. Midas Gold is not, and has never, operated on site and is not responsible for the existing contamination but has proposed the Stibnite Gold Project (“Project”) as a means for providing the much-needed cleanup of historical waste polluting the area today. The lawsuit ignores the fact that Midas Gold Idaho has been actively working with regulators to gain permission to begin addressing water quality concerns even before the Project begins.

“It is unfortunate that we are now adversaries in ligation instead of partners in restoration,” said Laurel Sayer, CEO of Midas Gold Idaho. “Midas Gold and the Tribe are aligned on our concerns over water quality in the historic mining district and believe something must be done. This is why we’ve been working with the federal and state environmental regulators for well over a year and half on solutions, and for much longer on permitting the permanent solution. And, while we agree the site needs immediate attention to clean up the damage of the past, make no mistake – the problems outlined in this lawsuit were not caused by Midas Gold. We agree there is a problem, but a far better path would be for the Tribe to spend its energy and resources working with us on a solution rather than filing lawsuits. Filing a lawsuit at this stage merely impedes the process of the site getting the attention it deserves.”

Midas Gold has never conducted any mining operations at Stibnite and therefore has no control or responsibility for any pollutant discharges at the site. The Company’s actions have been limited to studying current conditions, evaluating the optimal solutions for remediation and restoration and presenting those solutions to the regulators responsible for permitting the site.

Water quality in the historical Stibnite Mining District has been impacted by more than a century of mining activity, most of which took place before modern environmental regulations existed. There are over three million tons of tailings from the World War II era laying unconstrained in the Meadow Creek Valley, capped by an additional seven million tons of spent heap leach ore, and numerous other open pits and waste rock dumps across the site. It is not unexpected to see elevated levels of metals in ground and surface water with these conditions.

Midas Gold developed its Plan of Restoration and Operations, which is currently under review of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), to improve water quality and fix the long-standing environmental issues facing the site as part of its proposed Stibnite Gold Project. The proposed Project would reconnect fish to their native spawning grounds, fix the largest source of sedimentation in the river and remove tailings and waste rock that degrade water quality.

Midas Gold has been studying the water quality of the site for almost a decade. Water quality sampling undertaken by the Company as part of its characterization of the site showed very high arsenic and antimony levels, far beyond what is considered acceptable for drinking water or aquatic life standards. The Company has regularly submitted this and other water quality information to the USFS and state and federal environmental regulators as a part of Midas Gold’s continuing obligations under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). Under CERCLA, the Company is required to exercise appropriate care on the site and provide notice to environmental regulators regarding any discovery of hazardous substances and provide full cooperation, assistance and access to individuals authorized to act on site in hopes of finding solutions to improve the current conditions.

Midas Gold has been working closely with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to gain permission to take immediate action and learn more about the specific causes of degraded water quality in a number of locations. Under CERCLA, Midas Gold is not legally responsible for cleanup of site legacy impacts caused by previous mining companies or directed by government agencies. However, the Company wants to be part of the solution.

Despite Midas Gold’s proposed plan to improve water quality and address legacy issues caused by others, the Nez Perce Tribe nonetheless decided to move forward with its lawsuit against Midas Gold.

Midas Gold has engaged with and attempted to work with the Nez Perce Tribe for the last several years. In fact, the Company has reached out on multiple occasions, but the Tribe has refused the most recent overtures by the Company to collaborate on solutions for the Stibnite District.

Independent from its defense of this unproductive lawsuit, the Company will continue moving forward with its long- standing work to assess and improve water quality in the area, restore the site and return the site to environmental standards not seen in decades through responsible, modern mining.

Media requests should be directed to [email protected]

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