BOISE, Idaho – Following a formal objection period for the CuMo Exploration Project Supplemental Environmental Assessment released early this year, Boise National Forest Supervisor Cecilia Seesholtz has released a Supplemental Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact.
Alternative B was selected which authorizes Idaho CuMo Mining Corporation (CuMoCo) to proceed with exploration drilling to acquire detailed geologic data within the CuMo molybdenum prospect to determine the extent of the mineral resources. Activities include construction and use of a temporary road system to access up to 137 drill pad locations and the drilling of up to 259 drill holes on these pads.
A formal “objection process”, designed for the Agency to address proposed project concerns by commenters who expressed interest in this project prior to issuing the final decision, has been completed pursuant to 36 CFR 218 Subparts A and B.
Forest officials worked on objections during August and September, with a goal of mitigating concerns raised about the environmental review of the CuMo exploration project. A key issue raised pertained to the need to continue to provide an open and transparent information sharing process during the implementation of this project.
“I am committed to an open and transparent information sharing process that will provide the necessary level and type of information on a regular basis,” said Seesholtz. “Information will include progress of exploration activities, process to approve proposed temporary road and drill pads, and the results of monitoring for Best Management Practices.”
Another area of concern from the objection parties involved fuel transport to the site via the Grimes Pass road north of Grimes Pass which now will only be used for emergency access. Also, several wildlife issues were addressed related to habitat and nesting sites.
“This proposed exploratory drilling project has involved extensive environmental reviews and I am pleased we could work with the objectors to resolve many of the issues,” Seeholtz added. “My goal is to work with all parties to make this a viable and environmentally sound exploration project.”
On February 11, 2011 an Environmental Assessment (EA) with a Decision Notice was issued for the proposed exploration by the Idaho CuMo Mining Corporation. Copper and molybdenum exploration was proposed within a project area that is approximately 2900 acres on the Boise National Forest about 14 miles north of Idaho City.
On August 29, 2012 following a lawsuit, the U.S. District Court issued a Memorandum Decision and Order. The Court found in favor of the Forest Service on all points except those concerning groundwater and ordered the Forest to undertake further groundwater analysis.
The supplemental EA focused on updating the analysis as directed by the Court Order, as well as other aspects of the earlier assessment that had changed conditions.
The Boise National Forest initiated public comment on a supplemental EA in February, 2013. Comments led to updates in the current Supplemental EA that included the following:
· updates of potential groundwater effects, fuel transport and spill regulations
· updates on the status of Sacajawea bitterroot
· updates for wolverine status
· review of access routes
· updates of additional access routes requested by the Proponent
· updates of baseline information to reflect changes resulting from the 2014 Grimes Wildfire.
The proposed project within Boise County is for exploration drilling; it does not include mining. The company has not submitted any such proposal, which would require a separate environmental analysis.
Further information is available by contacting Randall Hayman at 208-373-4157, or by accessing the Boise National Forest web site at www.fs.usda.gov/projects/boise/landmanagement/projects.