Mining company hoping to reopen near Silver City partners with Trout Unlimited
The organizations will study ways to improve Jordan Creek, which has been damaged by previous mining activity
A company that hopes to reopen mining operations near Silver City has partnered with Trout Unlimited to study ways to improve fish habitat in a nearby watershed.
Integra Resources entered into a memorandum of understanding with Trout Unlimited to study the Jordan Creek watershed in Owyhee County, Integra President and CEO George Salamis told the Idaho Capital Sun in a telephone interview.
A legacy of past mining at the site has led to creek disturbances in Jordan Creek, he said.
“We are working with them (at Trout Unlimited) looking at ways to restore the trout habitat in the area,” Salamis said.
The improvement projects may take place on land outside of Integra’s property, a Trout Unlimited official said.
Integra Resources announced it acquired the shuttered DeLamar Gold and Silver Project mine from a subsidiary of Kinross Gold Corporation in 2017. The mine was closed in 1998 due to low gold prices, which have since increased, Salamis said.
Integra is in the permitting process, hoping to get approval to restart mining operations at the DeLamar project, which includes Florida Mountain located a few miles to the east.
How can partnering with Trout Unlimited help?
As that is underway, Integra partnered with Trout Unlimited, which has an abandoned mining program.
As a national nonprofit, Trout Unlimited works with government agencies and mining companies on projects, said Jason Willis, an abandoned mine project manager with Trout Unlimited. The partnership with Integra means the two organizations are studying the watershed to identify projects where they could improve the area.
“There are half a million historic hard rock mines in the West, so there is no shortage of projects to take on to improve water quality and environmental quality,” Willis said. “Our organization is pretty good at getting projects done on the ground and working across ownership boundaries.”
Depending on what the data show, they could look at things like stream temperature, fish passage or developing native vegetation. Once the final report is complete, they will use that to go after grant funding to take the projects on, Willis said. A draft of the report could be out by this time next year.
“That’s our goal is to identify other projects to make a meaningful impact to the environment,” Willis said.
Trout Unlimited is able to work with government agencies, private landowners and mining companies alike. The nonprofit takes a holistic approach to the watershed, Willis said. That may mean individual projects look small, but when the layers are all added on top of each other, they hope to see larger results by looking at the big picture.
Since purchasing the project, Integra has completed 3.5 years exploration on the DeLamar site, Salamis said. They are now in the permitting process, which he said could take three years.
If they are successful, Salamis said they could bring jobs back to the Jordan Valley and Silver City, as well as to Marsing and to Boise, where Integra has an office.
“If we can successfully and sustainably open up a mining operation in the area, satisfy all of the needs and then some, and provide some of the highest paying jobs, why not?” Salamis asked.