| 03.19.2018

Idaho mining companies report to legislators


Idaho mining companies from all over the state presented their fiscal impact on Idaho’s economy and proposals on projects to legislators Feb. 11.
The Idaho Mining Association said $5.3 billion was produced in mineral value from 2007 through 2011. About 3,107 people were employed by mines with the Idaho Mining Association and paid approximately $267 million, about $85,900 per person including benefits.
“We can generate 400 jobs for 400 families in Idaho,” said Ernest Simmons, the president and CEO of Atlanta Gold Corp. “We can add significantly to the tax base from circulating dollars within the business community.”
For the first time in 95 years, Atlanta Gold made water at their mining site 10 parts-per-billion as part of the requirement from the Clean Water Act.
“Downstream and upstream, federal land and EPA sites do not meet those standards,” Simmons said. “We’re in a meadow and we have to meet those standards. That’s strange.”
Chris Guill, President of Gold Hill Mines Corporation, said his company is currently focused on the Quartzburg Mining District, a historical area in Boise County.
“We are working closely with the communities and local governments in the areas we work in to create opportunities and growth for the community,” said Guill.
Another mining company, Formation Capitol, focuses on Cobalt, “a strategic metal, critical for many applications in the defense and aerospace industries,” said President Bill Scales.
Scales said Formation Capitol will be the only United States producer of high purity cobalt suitable for use in the aerospace industry.
“Currently, the United States consumes 60 percent of the cobalt (world) production,” Scales said.
The Idaho Cobalt Project is on a mill site in the old Blackbird Mining district, about 20 miles south of Salmon, ID and a facility for hydrometallurgy, a method of taking the metal out of their ores, in Kellogg, ID.
Scales said the current facilities in Kellogg include a leach section, a copper refining section and a precious metal refinery.
Del Seiner, president and CEO of Premium Exploration, said the company is employing hard-working people in Idaho County and buying goods and services locally.
The area in Elk City is a historic mining district that historically produced 4 to 8 billion ounces in gold.
Steiner said one of the areas Premium Exploration is developing is in the Orogrande Shear Zone, which has about 1 million ounces of gold.
“Our driving passion is to further define this emerging gold district while providing more good-paying jobs and becoming a sustaining part of the social and economic fabric of Central Idaho,” said Steiner.
Midas Gold Corp. is another company based in Idaho, located in the historic mining district, Stibnite.
Anne Labelle, Vice President of Legal and Sustainability for Midas Gold Corp., said the company is publicly traded and is being traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and seeking a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
“That’s how we’re funded,” Labelle said. “We don’t make any money currently, we just spend money on our operations, and all of it here in Idaho.”
Midas Gold Corp. mines antimony, which is used in batteries and flame retardant.
“There is a huge supply risk of antimony worldwide. It’s a very important mineral used in small quantities but it’s very critical,” said Labelle.
Labelle said if Midas is able to open a mine, an estimate of 400 direct employees would be hired during the operations phase, and about 1000 people during the construction phase, with an annual payroll of $20 million.
Agrium is a phosphate mining company in southeast Idaho.
“For more than fifty years, the fertilizer produced by Agrium’s Idaho operations has helped feed the world while providing good-paying jobs for hundreds of hard-working Idahoans,” said Erika Stoner, Mine Manager for Agrium.
Stoner said the company is in the process of either operating, decommissioning or permitting five sites in the state.
“We are committed to doing business in Idaho, and we are investing tens of millions in new mine development and in environmental protection so we can remain a part of the Idaho economy for decades to come,” Stoner said.
Emily Johnson can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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