Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Unpacking the Stibnite Mine Project - Part IV: The 1872 Mining Law and Legal Avenues

Perpetua Mining Company has proposed to reopen a mining site near McCall Idaho to mine gold, silver, and - to some degree - antimony. This incredibly complex project has caught the attention of grassroots and state organizations worried about the impacts of the proposed mine on Idaho’s environment and socio-economic culture. Three episodes in, Jessa and Emma talk with Julie Thrower, the legal counsel for the Idaho conservation group, Save The South Fork Salmon, about the 1872 Mining Law and other legal avenues STSFS are pursuing to stop the mine.

The Stibnite Mine is a huge proposed project. The affected area includes approximately 7 square miles of public land. The mine is mostly in the Payette National Forest, at the headwaters and the East Fork and the South Fork of the Salmon River. Three fish in this vital river, Chinook salmon, Steelhead, and Bull trout on the endangered species list. The mine will impact this river by degrading water quality and causing death to these endangered species. This is only one of the many potentially devastating environmental impacts of the project.

For this episode, we would like the highlight some resources on the 1872 mining project:

Information on the Mining Act of 1872: https://www.blm.gov/programs/energy-and-minerals/mining-and-minerals/about#:~:text=The%20federal%20law%20governing%20locatable,open%20to%20exploration%20and%20purchase.

(An easier read about the General Mining Act of 1872, but shh, don’t tell): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Mining_Act_of_1872).

Idaho Rivers United on the Mining Act of 1872 (news article from 2021): https://www.idahorivers.org/news/2021/4/21/mining-climate-change-amp-the-general-mining-act-of-1872

Other resources (look out for these topics being discussed in later episodes!): 

*Idaho Headwaters are Simply too Valuable and Vulnerable to Risk. Local grassroots organization, Save the South Fork Salmon: https://savethesouthforksalmon.com/

Save The South Fork Salmon River’s “Take Action” page: https://savethesouthforksalmon .com/help-us-1

“The Looming Threat of the Stibnite Gold Project”: https://savethesouthforksalmon.com /treat-and-scope

To learn more about the mine’s probable impact on Idaho’s fish, rivers, and land, head over to Idaho Rivers United Stibnite Goldmine page: https://www.idahorivers.org/stibnite.

One way to read about the mine and get a deeper understanding of just what the project entails is through the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Though an incredibly long and complex document, the executive summary allows the common reader to glean understanding of what Perpetua plans to do with our public land.

You can find the EIS by following this link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50516

Here, you can find an archive of all the comment letters already submitted: https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public/ReadingRoom?project=50516.

Be A Voice for Idaho’s Rivers & Wild Fish: Idaho Rivers United River Rat series on the Stibnite Mine: https://www.idahorivers.org/advocacy

Idaho Conservation League’s Stop Stibnite series: https://www.idahoconservation.org/?s=Stibnite&swpmfe=652ea0d21b1427a1bfa685e40d9bc1de

December 19, 2022: “Department of Defense Issues $24.8M Critical Minerals Award to Perpetual Resources”: https://www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/3249350/dod-issues-248m-critical-minerals-award-to-perpetua-resources/

For comments, topic suggestions, or more information, please reach out to Jessa at jessabriggs@isu.edu and Emma at thacemma@isu.edu.

Jessa is in her final year of her undergraduate career, pursuing three majors: English with Creative Writing, History, and Global Studies with an emphasis in French Language and Literature. She is a published author through ISU's Black Rock & Sage literary magazine and hopes to join the Sustainability Club at ISU. Her sustainability journey began with her year abroad when she interned for Letters to the Earth, an organization dedicated to environmental sustainability. She hopes to work for Amnesty International until she can write books in the mountains full time.
EPISODES PRIOR TO JUNE 2021