Seven Federal, State & Local Agencies Sign Agreement Committing to Work Together on Updated Schedule
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Midas Gold Corp. (MAX:TSX / MDRPF:OTCQX) today announced that seven federal, state and local agencies have entered into an agreement outlining their commitment to work together and coordinate their efforts to permit Midas Gold Idaho’s Stibnite Gold Project (“Project”), which is located in Valley County, 39 miles east of McCall and just outside of Yellow Pine, Idaho. The U.S. Forest Service (which is the lead permitting agency), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Idaho Department of Lands, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the Idaho Governor’s Office of Energy and Mineral Resources and Valley County signed the memorandum of understanding for the Project in early September. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service (“USFS”) provided an updated schedule for the regulatory process, which schedule accommodates the joint review process and the requests for additional information, which information Midas Gold is in the process of providing.
“This interagency agreement demonstrates a willingness of various federal, state and local agencies to cooperate and efficiently process the proposals made by Midas Gold with respect to the restoration and redevelopment of the Stibnite Gold Project,” said Stephen Quin, President & CEO of Midas Gold Corp. “This cooperation will reduce duplication, coordinate reviews and allow agencies to cooperatively resolve matters that arise during the review process. The updated permitting schedule recognizes the importance of a thorough and comprehensive review to ensure that a single, robust record of decision is made; Midas Gold and its consultants are working with the regulators and their consultants to complete the process in a timely manner,” said Mr. Quin.
The Cooperation Agreement
The memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) gives the agencies the framework to evaluate Midas Gold Idaho’s Plan of Restoration and Operations (“PRO”) as they work together to prepare a single, joint environmental impact statement (“EIS”) for the Stibnite Gold Project, which is the key permitting document required by the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). The MOU is designed to maximize the use of agency resources, minimize the duplication of efforts between agencies, avoid multiple parallel EIS processes, and allow the agencies to identify and resolve any issues that come up during the permitting process in an efficient manner. The single EIS will be a U.S. Forest Service document, however all signatory agencies will collaborate in the preparation of the EIS, provide adequate resources to ensure satisfactory and timely performance, follow a mutually agreed updated schedule, and ensure that the public process meets the requirements of all cooperating agencies and NEPA.
“This interagency agreement represents an important step for Midas Gold and the Stibnite Gold Project,” said Stephen Quin, President & CEO of Midas Gold Corp. “Midas Gold’s team in Idaho continues to work closely with the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies as it continues to move forward with permitting the Stibnite Gold Project.”
Next Steps in the Regulatory Process
The various regulatory agencies are currently reviewing Midas Gold’s PRO, as submitted and declared administratively complete in late 2016, plus the extensive environmental and other baseline data Midas Gold has been collecting for the past several years, as well as supplementing this data in response to requests for additional information. The USFS, on behalf of the various regulatory agencies, is conducting an alternatives assessment and environmental analysis as required by NEPA. The assessment and analysis are the core of the review process for the Stibnite Gold Project will provide the basis for the drafting of the EIS.
The USFS, their 3rd Party Contractor, and other cooperating agencies have been steadily working through the NEPA process, reviewing the PRO, the extensive baseline data provided by Midas Gold, and the draft alternatives analysis and draft mitigation plan included with the PRO and it is apparent that drafting multiple resource specific technical reports, reviewing and compiling the baseline information provided by Midas Gold and its contractors, and providing additional information requested by the regulators will require more time than originally anticipated. These reports and the associated data are an important component of the environmental impact analysis and sufficient time must be allowed to ensure their accuracy, completeness and that they meet the regulatory requirements for an EIS and support a robust and defensible Record of Decision. The USFS has advised that they anticipate issuing a draft EIS for public comment in Q3 2018 and an approved Record of Decision in Q3 2019, instead of Q2 2019 originally anticipated before the review process commenced.
“We accept that the regulatory agencies need to complete the process comprehensively in order to ensure that the Record of Decision stands,” said Ms. Sayer. “We will be working with the regulatory agencies and our consultants to look for ways to undertake these steps in a more timely, yet comprehensive manner. Our Plan of Restoration and Operations presents a compelling case for the redevelopment of the former Stibnite mine site, allowing for the restoration of the site’s extensive impacts from mining-related activities by prior owners and the redevelopment of a modern mining facility that provides long term, well paid employment for central Idaho, and significant economic benefits to Idaho.”
Stibnite Gold Project Permitting Background
In September of 2016, Midas Gold Idaho, Inc. submitted its PRO for the restoration, re-development and operation of the Stibnite Gold Project in Valley County, Idaho. The PRO was deemed administratively complete by the USFS in December 2016, the scoping process was completed in July 2017 and the environmental analysis and alternatives assessment is currently in process.
A detailed presentation on the PRO can be found at www.midasgoldcorp.com. Details of previous news releases and technical studies can be found filed under Midas Gold’s profile on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) or at www.midasgoldcorp.com.
For further information about Midas Gold Corp., please contact:
Liz Monger – Manager, Investor Relations
About Midas Gold and the Stibnite Gold Project
Midas Gold Corp., through its wholly owned subsidiaries are focused on the exploration and, if warranted, site restoration and development of gold-antimony-silver deposits in the Stibnite-Yellow Pine district of central Idaho that are encompassed by its Stibnite Gold Project.
Statements contained in this news release that are not historical facts are “forward-looking information” or “forward-looking statements” (collectively, “Forward-Looking Information”) within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation and the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward Looking Information includes, but is not limited to, disclosure regarding possible events, next steps and courses of action including actions to be taken by the U.S. Forest Service, the State of Idaho and other government agencies and regulatory bodies. In certain cases, Forward-Looking Information can be identified by the use of words and phrases or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “will”, “could”, “be achieved”. In preparing the Forward-Looking Information in this news release, Midas Gold has applied several material assumptions, including, but not limited to, assumptions that the current objectives concerning the Stibnite Gold Project can be achieved and that its other corporate activities will proceed as expected; that general business and economic conditions will not change in a materially adverse manner; that the formal review process under the NEPA (including a joint review process involving the U.S. Forest Services, the State of Idaho and other agencies and regulatory bodies) as well as the public comment period, scoping process and EIS will proceed in a timely manner and as expected; and that all requisite information will be available in a timely manner. Forward-Looking Information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Midas Gold to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the Forward-Looking Information. Such risks and other factors include, among others, changes in laws and regulations and changes in the application of standards pursuant to existing laws and regulations which may result in unforeseen results in the review process under the NEPA; uncertainty surrounding input to be received pursuant to the scoping process including but not limited to the public comment period; risks related to dependence on key personnel; risks related to unforeseen delays in the review process including availability of personnel from the US Forest Services, State of Idaho and other agencies and regulatory bodies; as well as those factors discussed in Midas Gold’s public disclosure record. Although Midas Gold has attempted to identify important factors that could affect Midas Gold and may cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in Forward-Looking Information, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that Forward-Looking Information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on Forward-Looking Information. Except as required by law, Midas Gold does not assume any obligation to release publicly any revisions to Forward-Looking Information contained in this news release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.