British Columbia-based Lucky Minerals Inc.’s may be allowed to perform exploratory drilling north of Yellowstone National Park.
According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality released a draft environmental assessment (EA) earlier today tentatively recommending the company be allowed to drill for old in Emigrant Gulch. The EA believes drilling “will not be significant” but would ask the company to pursue additional “mitigation measures” as they drill for gold. From the Chronicle:
Those extra measures include requiring the company to avoid disturbing historical or cultural sites, mandatory wildlife awareness training for mine employees and mandatory measures to avoid attracting or displacing wildlife. The document says that Shaun Dykes, Lucky’s vice president, agreed to those conditions earlier this year.
DEQ is taking public comment on the document until Dec. 12. After that, a final draft of the study will be released and the agency will make a final decision.
In 2015, Lucky Minerals Inc. proposed exploratory drilling on both federal and private lands in the area. The company later abandoned its plans on federal land but went forward with its proposal on private land.
Lucky Minerals has staked 2,500 acres worth of mining claims in Emigrant Gulch, and company documents say they plan to develop a “multi-million ounce gold property” that will have silver and copper byproducts.
The DEQ previously promised to release the EA this summer.
Local business owners and environmentalists have protested the mining proposal. This summer, the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition penned a letter to the U.S. Forest Service calling for the agency to withdraw the land from mining availability. We noted that Lucky Minerals backed off their initial claim to mine around Emigrant Gulch, saying an EA would take too long.
According to the Chronicle, the Park County Environmental Council, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and Earthjustice jointly hailed the DEQ’s 60-day comment period. “We’re pleased the DEQ is allowing a 60-day period so the public has the chance to weigh in on this Canadian company’s proposal to explore for gold north of Yellowstone. We need as much time as possible,” the groups wrote, per the Chronicle.