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Public Meeting Today for Mining Exploration Project

A mining company wants to look for molybdenum and other minerals near the Boise River. (Natalieoutdoors/Twenty20)
A mining company wants to look for molybdenum and other minerals near the Boise River. (Natalieoutdoors/Twenty20)
February 6, 2019

BOISE, Idaho - The U.S. Forest Service holds a meeting in Boise today on a proposed mining exploration project.

Idaho CuMo Mining Corp., owned by a Canadian mining company, wants to look for molybdenum and other minerals in the Boise National Forest between Idaho City and Garden Valley. The plan calls for building more than 10 miles of temporary roads and installing up to 137 drilling pads.

Brant Petersen, Idaho City district ranger for the Boise National Forest, said the federal government shutdown created a backlog for the agency, but there will be mining, transportation and wildlife specialists at the Boise meeting.

"It's important that if people have comments, we want them to give us a comment that's well thought-out, addresses the concerns they have or is in support of," Petersen said, "and talking to our specialists may help them have better comments and answer their questions."

The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. at the Boise Airport Best Western hotel. The public comment period has been extended to Feb. 21. The original meeting set for January was canceled in the government shutdown.

Environmental groups have raised concerns about the exploration plans and worry that the project could lead to a large open-pit mine near the headwaters of the Boise River. They also have pointed to safety issues, after the recent mining disaster in Brazil that killed more than 100 people.

Petersen said his agency would perform another assessment if the mining company proposes more operations down the road. He said the agency accepts all public comments, but those with the most impact will be focused on the current proposal.

"Those specific to the effects associated with the exploration type of work are most useful to us," he said, "and then, who knows what the future holds? Nobody can answer that question."

The project has faced a long road to get here. Federal judges have blocked CuMo's past exploration proposals twice before.

More information on the project and comment submissions are online at fs.usda.gov.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID