The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) and Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC) are asking a federal court to stop the Kilgore Gold Project. A federal judge in Boise is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on Tuesday.
A Canadian mining company, Otis Gold, has a drilling permit for an area that includes prime wildlife habitat in the Centennial Mountains. The ICL contends the project would disrupt a major wildlife corridor and could harm grizzly bears, Yellowstone Cutthroat trout, Columbia spotted frogs, and whitebark pines.
John Robison, ICL’s public lands director, said, “This mining project threatens not only our public lands and wildlife, but could also contaminate the water Idahoans drink and use for farming and ranching.” He adds, “ICL wants the Forest Service to take a step back and do a more thorough review of the impacts the project may have on habitat, wildlife and clean water.”
The Otis Gold project is located on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest near Kilgore, about 60 miles north of Idaho Falls. It covers nearly 20 miles of federal and state public lands and would include construction of 10 miles of new roads and nearly 150 drill stations, according to the Conservation League.
Otis Gold claims the Kilgore project potentially contains 825,000 ounces of gold valued at about $1,300 to $1,500 per ounce.
In its plans, Otis Gold said that if enough gold is detected, the company would move forward with plans for an open-pit mine and use a cyanide leaching pool for extraction. ICL said that if that was allowed, potentially contaminated water could head down Camas Creek through the Camas National Wildlife Refuge and end up in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.