Lucky Minerals Inc. has announced an investor for its plans to drill for gold in the Paradise Valley north of Yellowstone National Park.
The news came during a dinner held by the company for locals, as part of a belated outreach effort to community members.
According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Lucky Minerals Inc. (based in Vancouver, Canada) has secured roughly $2 million from Toronto-based Clarus Securities Inc. The deal could close by the end of the month.
According to Lucky CEO Robert Rosner, Clarus could also pitch in money should the company find enough gold to warrant a larger operation. From the Chronicle:
“As long as you come up with the results, they’ll be there for continued financing,” Rosner said.
That announcement added an extra level of novelty to the company’s appearance here, which was its first formal public meeting to explain its plans for exploratory drilling in Emigrant Gulch.
Lucky first asked permission to look for gold on private land in Emigrant Gulch in 2015. Exploratory drilling is meant to find a mineral resource that can be mined profitably, and company officials tout the potential for a multi-million ounce gold property.
Environmentalists and some locals have raised concerns that the exploration will lead to a large-scale mine that could harm the environment and the region’s tourism-based economy. Lucky disputes those claims.
Lucky Minerals Inc. has been interested in gold exploration north of Yellowstone since 2015. In July 2017, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality gave them permission to perform exploratory drilling. In addition to giving the company permission, the DEQ also issued the company a $154K bond to cover reclamation costs should the company decide not to expand operations. Reportedly, the company has not yet paid that bond.
As mentioned, local environmental and business groups have expressed concern over any potential mining. Indeed, the Park County Environmental Council and Greater Yellowstone Business Coalition recently sued the state of Montana, alleging the DEQ did not adequately consider the company’s plans before giving them drilling permission.
Lucky is looking to drill on private land near Emigrant Gulch. Opponents argue a full-scale mine would require expansion onto nearby U.S. Forest Service land. Indeed, efforts have been made to curtail mining access to said land.
In 2016, the Interior Department placed a two-year moratorium on new mining claims on 30,000 acres of land in the Paradise Valley near the Lucky claim. U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has introduced legislation that would permanently ban mining on that same plot of land. Finally, current Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (and former Montana congressman) has signaled his approval of a longer moratorium, asking the Forest Service and BLM to expedite an analysis of a proposed mining ban.