Tuesday, August 10, 2010

CuMo: Questions, Answers and Dialogue

August 7 Forest Service Meeting
The following Q & A sessions and dialogues took place in an
informal conversation, during the Forest Service meeting at
the Garden Valley Community Hall last Saturday. Lead player was Shaun Dykes, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Exploration Manager of CuMo and Director of Mosquito Consolidated Gold Mines Limited.

Dykes: "We’re spending $100M to study this. It’s a nice mine—profitable. Getting the moly out is the easy part.—we process with water and a bit of diesel fuel... Boise Basin water is locked—to do something up there, we’ve got to get water rights. "( Otherwise, Payette?)
GVDN: The process is viable? Then permits, etc?
Dykes: "There are seven stages. We have one: The moly is there; it’s a nice-sized deposit. It’s low-cost producing—we keep going when the economy goes down. This is large scale—we have the ability to survive when the small guys fail."
GVDN: Any chemicals involved?
Dykes: “Some, but no large amounts of toxic chemicals. (?) It’s very clean. We crush it and use flotation. Moly is a natural fertilizer—check out the garden store—they have spray. Moly decays to become moly-sulfite. The reason it’s not used by farmers is, at $15 a pound, it’s expensive. We want to talk to Simplot—we’ve come up with potential, but still doing studies.
We will inherit the tailings from the gold mines up there. It’s a big area on the map—the actual area is a lot smaller...lots of this land we’re not interested in.We’ve done our studies on moly deposits. As we migrate out, we lose moly, we pick up copper—we ask, will it be worth it to migrate out where we’ll pick up more sulfite. It may not be worth it. We’d rather keep the area clean.
"Moly’s a very nice metal—not much copper sulfite. It can recover from the flotation process.
In order for us to put up vast amounts of money, we inherit part of the puzzle.
Mining has been dragged into the 21st C. Environmentalists and shareholders insist we do it right. On the first day, I said, 'How do we get it out of here?'"
GVDN: How are you going to take the materials out?
Dykes: "I don’t know yet...we have three ways to go: Highway 21, Highway 17 through Garden Valley or Grimes Creek Road, through HSB, down 55. We’ve got to figure that out." (CuMo remarks that the HSB road will be significantly better, due to winding canyon roads and the transportation along the Boise river corridor.)
GVDN: They say you’re going to take the whole mountain down—that’s a lot of trucks!
Dykes: "Phase 2 takes us to pre-feasibility; that $100M permit takes us to feasibility.
Next part, we’ll need more exploration or say it’s not quite right. We look at feasibility, site selection, concerns, how to integrate in."
GVDN: What agencies do you have to deal with?
Dykes: "Agencies involved? About 100. Forest Service, EPA, County, my binders for permits, etc., just for the government, are 2’ high. "
GVDN: What about reclamation of the land after it’s all over? I understand you plan to reclaim the temporary roads as you go along.
Dykes: "Any mine unit is going to get ugly—but a small area. Only one or two places you can see. Over time, the waste dump will get reclaimed—reclaimed areas in other places now have bison, buffalo feeding. (Nevada and British Columbia have reclaimed tailings ponds; bison and cattle feed on the rich vegetation.)
"Amazon jungle is rich—moly-rich soil --it fixes the nitrogen in. There is a bit of moly left in tailings. From our analysis, there is nothing in them...granite, iron, copper, carbonate-rich..unlike Thompson Creek. The carbonate neutralizes the small amount of pyrite." (The pyrite content in the rock at Thompson Creek Mine is several times higher than CuMo, resulting in acidic pit waters. Studies, so far, have shown CuMo has low pyrite content.)
GVDN: What’s in it for us?
Dykes: "Taxes!! Salaries—payroll—look at our economic analysis--$3-4-500M in taxes.
In modern mining... there are pits in AZ, they set up truck-driving school; locals can apply and train. They then have a guaranteed job at the mine. We try to use local resources. It is to our advantage to hire helpers to train. Drillers, truck drivers, we have a hard time supplying work force—it’s one of our biggest problems. Also, we work with “First Natives” work force."
GVDN: Environmental impact?
Dykes: "Now we worry about every impact. We could come up with a rare toad or snake. Studies say the impact of potential operation-site is small. For Garden Valley, we’re “over there." Not near the Payette.
"Our only involvement with it would be water delivery. (Payette?)
We have to be good citizens. Grimes Creek is contaminated. It has to be dealt with sooner or later. Mercury takes a long time to decay—those little mercury balls that old placer miners left.
We have to study every tree, fish, wildlife, habitat, air. It will take about 1 ½ years for environmental assessment. We’ve done exhaustive studies of the areas onsite." (CuMo claims the contamination from Grimes Creek has never reached the Boise River in 100 years-- contamination caused by historic placers and hard rock mining, human habitation and logging.)
GVDN: When will you start?
Dykes: "With the permit? With drilling, we’ll use 40-50 people. ..assuming the drill holes have mineralization, it will be 6-15 years to come to a decision."
GVDN: How long before you are done with the site?
Dykes: "100 years? It develops in stages. I take them up to feasibility—I’m an exploration geologist. For me, then, it’s three things: Go, No Go, On Hold. That’s the $100M—just to feasibility. I liaise with important partners—where the money will come from.
It’s a win-win for the area: 1) An investment. 2) Local jobs. 3) Clean up the environmental legacy of the area—there are lots of dumps on Cunningham’s land; a mess of sulfites.
It takes millions of legacy funds for reforestation, to clean up the zinc, etc. For re-designing the creek. I get involved because I’m an engineer. Why do I do this? Because of the steelheads! I'm from British Columbia!
"What is moly used for? Gas pipes, nuclear reactors, wind turbines. You can add 2-4-6% of moly to steel—it adds to the cost. It is a catalyst when used with dirty water." (Also used for desalination plants for fresh water, as a catalyst diesel fuel we use every day and it is rapidly becoming a critical metal of green technology and alternative technology.)
"Moly is just starting to take off. "

Pam Conley, representative of Idaho Families for Clean Water and President of the Golden Eagle Audoban, shared some thoughts with local CuMo Project Manager, Nick G:
Conley: “We’re going to have mining; we need to do it right. Right now, there is not a level playing field—it works more toward favoring mining. It can’t be done any more under laws that are so old.” (Under the 1872 Mining Laws, hard rock mining pays no royalties, which would go into a fund to help the local people deal with the problems mining leaves behind.)
*Conley is concerned that some areas aren’t appropriate for mining ventures; especially watershed areas.
Nick: “There needs to be a balance; reforms have to be thought out long-term.”
Conley: “The Corporation is about the pay-off to investors...the bottom line, legally, is the pay-off.”
Nick: “Would you say getting closer, coming together with ecological concerns and mining, logging, etcetera, could help communication?”
Conley: “We drive cars, build housing—we have to look at the big picture...yes, we have to eliminate the line in the sand. There will come a time when we are unsustained.
We want a say, right from the get-go. In a way, we’re not talking about the mine—just exploration. The scope is so huge. Five times larger than Thompson Creek. – moly mine is mega mine.
"We want to raise people’s awareness. These Garden Valley folks will be highly involved. We (Idaho Families for Clean Water) requested the Forest Service to have this public meeting. Our job is to let the public know what’s going on.”
Nick: “There are not a lot of facts in science—you find out what is not true. This company is concerned about reality behind the message.”
Conley: “They are doing this for the money. We need local people like you to work with this company.”
Nick: “I wonder why the (local newspaper) never responded—never called us back when we called about this. You want the public to get the facts, not off of our website.”
Conley: “This meeting today is about the roads only. We get our information off of the website. Idaho has a history of mining problems. We don’t want to have more problems with watershed.”
Nick: “There is no monetary advantage? Boise River people...”
Conley: “Idaho Families is for clean water. We’re just pro-active, to protect the river. I don’t think we’ve shut down your exploration.”
Nick: “I think there is no forum for the two sides. We use scientific methods to provide facts to the population.”
Conley: “We’re going to watch those facts; we have no control over how people interpret those facts.”
Nick: “I’m concerned about misrepresentation of facts.”
Conley: “Maybe you should change your information for the public on your website. That’s where we go...Well, I’m glad local guys are working on this. I can say, there is no money in it. My heart’s definitely in the environment.”
Nick: “That’s reassuring.”

Photos: (Top) Molybdenum is the silvery-grey in the rock. Different parts of the rock show the geology of the rock--how it came into being, by flowing into the other at different times. (Bottom) Mike Uhl cuts rocks at the Garden Valley office/library. Here he shows part of a skeleton; these are taken every ten feet on a particular hole.
Nick G, Project Manager in Garden Valley, says, “We certainly have a large group of Idahoans working in the exploration produce. Mike Uhl brings a lot of skills to the table, things I couldn’t do.”

A worker at the Moly library in GV said, “I don’t care what I’m cutting—half of the rock is analyzed and half is kept for the library...that’s the greatest part of the job—I get to see something no one has ever seen before, when I cut into that rock.”

Michael Feiger, Forest Service,suggested people look at the EA Cumo Project and Fisheries Report, http://fs.usda.gov/boise. He said, “The Boise River people are voicing concerns relative to proposed roads, proposed action impact on rivers and the environment.

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