TSX-listed Midas Gold reports that, after three years of extensive discussions, federal agencies have authorised and directed it to perform immediate clean-up actions in the Stibnite mining district, addressing legacy contamination issues that are impacting on water quality.
The administrative settlement agreement and order on consent was signed on January 15 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Forest Service, with concurrence by the US Department of Justice.
The company notes that while it did not cause the legacy environmental problems at Stibnite, the recently signed agreement points to the need for timely environmental action and is a “testament to its willingness to take part in environmental restoration”.
The agreement is necessary to enable Midas Gold to voluntarily address environmental conditions at the abandoned mine site without inheriting the liability of the conditions left behind by past operators. As such, the company may now provide the early clean-up actions deemed necessary by the federal government to improve water quality.
The sources of contamination to be addressed are decades old and largely stem from tungsten and antimony mining during World War II and the Korean War, which is “long before” Midas Gold started planning for redevelopment of the site, the miner states.
Midas Gold CEO Laurel Sayer says that for decades, ground and surface water at Stibnite have suffered from elevated levels of arsenic and antimony. “Yet, because the problems stem from historic mining activity, there are no responsible parties left to address the issues at hand. While we did not cause the problems impacting water quality today, we have always been clear on our intentions to be a part of the solution.”
As such, she says the redevelopment of the Stibnite mining district for mining activity must include restoration of legacy features. “So, when we saw the need to address sources of water contamination more quickly at Stibnite, we knew we had to offer our help.”
Should the Stibnite project move forward with proposed mining and restoration activities, the agreement will also permit comprehensive site clean-up by directing Midas Gold to address legacy features including millions of tons of legacy mine tailings that fall outside of the project footprint and would otherwise not be addressed.
Meanwhile, Midas Gold is moving forward with plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from British Columbia, Canada to Boise, Idaho, in the US and intends to redomicile the company to the US.
Midas Gold has also applied to list its common shares on the Nasdaq, and the listing of the common shares will be subject to fulfilling Nasdaq’s initial listing conditions.
To meet Nasdaq minimum share trading price, Midas Gold’s board of directors also approved a ten-for-one share consolidation, which is a necessary condition for the company to meet Nasdaq’s listing conditions.