Perpetua Resources Corp. announced that the United States Forest Service (USFS) is advancing Perpetua Resources’ modified proposed action in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and updated the permitting schedule for the Stibnite Gold Project (the Project).
The Project is designed to use responsible mining to develop a world-class gold mine, restore an abandoned mine site, provide the United States with the only domestic source of the critical mineral antimony and contribute to the economic success of Idaho. Perpetua Resources’ modified proposed action was submitted to USFS in December 2020 as the “Modified Plan of Restoration and Operations 2” (ModPRO2) and represents refinements to Alternative 2 of the August 2020 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The refined plan incorporates stakeholder feedback on the DEIS and is designed to reduce the project footprint and improve environmental outcomes. Modifications include the elimination of waste rock storage areas, overall reductions in mined material, additional pit backfilling and restoration, and improvements to water quality and water temperature. The USFS’s decision advances Perpetua Resources’ improved and preferred Project design in the NEPA process and sets the Project on a clear path to a final permitting decision.
Importantly, the USFS will focus on Perpetua Resources’ ModPRO2 and the two identified access routes for the remainder of the NEPA process, eliminating DEIS Alternatives 1 and 3 from further consideration. In order to ensure a full analysis of the refined Project, the USFS plans to issue a targeted Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) and provide the public and cooperating agencies the opportunity to review and comment on the additional analysis.
“We are pleased the USFS is advancing our proposed action forward and establishing a well-defined path towards a Record of Decision,” said Laurel Sayer, President & CEO of Perpetua Resources. “These actions expressly integrate public input and additional analysis in the process, reduce the Project’s environmental effects, and enhance our restoration and community objectives.”
Perpetua Resources is confident that the additional analysis in the SDEIS will demonstrate the advantages of ModPRO2 and looks forward to continued engagement with the USFS and all relevant stakeholders as the NEPA process is finalized. The Project schedule update includes that the SDEIS will be released in Q1 2022, a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and draft Record of Decision will be published in Q4 2022, and a final Record of Decision will be issued in the first half of 2023.
The NEPA process is intended to ensure that federal agencies are informed of a proposed action’s potential environmental impacts before making final decisions regarding the action. The rigorous scientific analysis during the preparation of the DEIS and the comments from the public and cooperating agencies provided during the extended 75-day public comment period brought forward concepts that could improve the environmental outcomes of the Project. Perpetua Resources listened to this feedback, evaluated the feasibility and potential benefits of these concepts, and submitted modifications of the proposed plan (Alternative 2 in the DEIS) to the USFS. The proposed improvements, which reduce the Project footprint and are predicted to improve water quality conditions at the site during and after Project operations, have been incorporated in Perpetua Resources’ 2020 Feasibility Study. These refinements will now be analyzed further in the SDEIS.
“It was important to Perpetua Resources that we listen and act upon feedback provided by community members, tribes, environmental groups and cooperating agencies,” said Sayer. “Incorporating their ideas and additional refinements into the proposed action results in a better Project, is the most efficient way to bring the Project to life longer-term and is the right thing to do for all stakeholders.”
Growing bipartisan support for and the White House’s recent recognition of the importance of responsible domestic production of critical minerals to our national and economic security and green energy transition, signals renewed optimism for projects like the Stibnite Gold Project. The Perpetua Resources team remains committed to advancing the Stibnite Gold Project as efficiently as possible, so its full benefits can be achieved for all stakeholders.
About Perpetua Resources and the Stibnite Gold Project
Perpetua Resources Corp., through its wholly owned subsidiaries, is focused on the exploration, site restoration and redevelopment of gold-antimony-silver deposits in the Stibnite-Yellow Pine district of central Idaho that are encompassed by the Stibnite Gold Project. The Project is one of the highest-grade, open pit gold deposits in the United States and is designed to apply a modern, responsible mining approach to restore an abandoned mine site and produce both gold and the only mined source of antimony in the United States. Antimony is a federally designated critical mineral for its use in the national defense, aerospace and technology sectors.