Company gets first permit for gold mine near McCall

by Drew Dodson @ Star News | 5 July 2022 | Lewiston Tribune

Stories in this Regional News Roundup are excerpted from weekly newspapers from around the region. This is part two, with part one having appeared in Sunday’s Tribune.

McCALL — Perpetua Resources has received the first of about 50 permits needed to operate its proposed gold and antimony mine near Yellow Pine, the company announced recently.

The permit covers the prevention of air pollution for every aspect of Perpetua’s proposal, including mining, construction, and ore processing.

The permit requires Perpetua to follow state and federal air quality standards, as well as conditions set by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, which approved the permit.

The permit limits mining to 180,000 tons per day and ore processing to 25,000 tons per day to limit pollution from dust and mining equipment.

The permit also requires regular monitoring reports to the DEQ.

“The approval demonstrates our commitment to comply with state and federal standards and the dedication of our team to fulfill the requirements of the permitting process,” Perpetua CEO Laurel Sayer said.

Perpetua’s application for the DEQ permit was submitted in 2019 and public comments were sought the past three years.

Perpetua still needs about 50 permits and approvals before it can begin work on its proposed Stibnite Gold Project on 1,740 acres near Yellow Pine.

“Nearly all of our permits are in process,” said Mckinsey Lyon, a Perpetua spokesperson. “We anticipate we can have the required approvals and begin construction by mid-2024.”

The most significant permit needed is approval of the project’s operating plan by the Payette National Forest.

The Payette expects to release a draft study on the plan this summer, with a final decision expected by the end of 2023.

Perpetua currently is working to get water quality permits from the DEQ, Lyon said.

Those permits would include the use of cyanide to process ore, protecting wetlands, and restoring damaged or contaminated streams.

Perpetua must work with Valley County on several of the permits, including a permit to construct mine facilities.

That review would include making sure Perpetua’s plans meet county laws that limit nighttime light pollution and determining which plants will be used for landscaping.

Perpetua has spent about $300 million since 2009 on the Stibnite Gold Project.

This story first appeared in The McCall Star-News on Thursday.