County residents are familiar with Mosquito Consolidated Gold Mines Limited as the company involved with the CuMo Project. In October, 2012, the company completed a management change, for the massive (6 billion tons) molybdenum, copper, silver and tungsten deposit located near upper Grimes Pass and, early this year, changed its name to American CuMo Mining Corporation, which will focus on the CuMo Project
Shaun Dykes, former project manager and new chief executive officer and director, says, “It was not really a good name—shareholders didn’t like the diversion of funds, so we did something about it. The Idaho CuMo Mining Company will manage and run the project, and our offices are in Boise.”
The CuMo deposit was first discovered by AMEX Exploration in 1963. Since then, it continued being optioned until metal prices hit an all-time low. Finally, in 2004, the large CUMO Molybdenum Company optioned the land in Boise National Forest to Mosquito.
In February, 2011, the U.S. Forest Service approved a comprehensive Environmental Assessment of the 2,900-acre area proposed for exploration. By August, 2012, the U.S. District Court of Idaho answered concerns of environmental groups, by ordering the Forest Service to undertake further groundwater analysis; a Supplemental Exploration Assessment was initiated.
Before a last minute BBQ shindig in Crouch’s Weilmunster Park on Thursday, June 27, Shaun Dykes responded that the groundwater issue “is a problem occurring in many areas—rules and regulations hadn’t been written for modern times. In order to understand groundwater, you have to drill holes—so far, there is no ground water”. As of the end of 2012, sixty-eight holes, totaling 121,700 feet, had been completed.
Senator Steven Thayn wanted to know what kind of cooperation CuMo is getting from different groups. Dykes answered, “The Forest Service is great. Environmental groups are anti-everything--we’ve paid for the sins of our fathers. The environmentalists took care of that with new laws, but now it’s gone too far. The answer is in-between—it should be allowed but do it right.
“CuMo can afford to do it right and clean up the messes. I think it’s a hell of an opportunity for those around here. There is a boom-and-bust mentality with smaller scale companies. We’re in a moly low-price environment but we wouldn’t have to lay people off.”
Dykes assured that they will get all the various agencies to agree on how to take water, air, and plant samples, to get unbiased samples: “This requires their cooperation. We’ll take all sorts of tests, we will study each hole. We’re after the scientific facts—not only for locals, but the shareholders and banks too.”
The good news about the project, according to Dykes, is there is no acid-forming rock. Right now, the rock up there has a neutralizing capability and he says that’s a big advantage over Thompson Creek: “It’s benign, nice and clean up there now.”
“We are in a transition stage from exploration to development, to now know what we’ve got,” explains Dykes. “There are over one-hundred years of life left. It will be an open pit—one-mile square; a mill, with two or three possibilities; waste dumps…this will all be determined in the next round. We’re looking at the end of February, 2014, when the Supplemental Assessment will be finalized. It will be seven years from inception, but it’s a very deliberative process.”
Dykes sounds assured about reformation and reclamation of the land. “One hundred and twenty years from now, we will have to get it back to the original—but I think it’ll be better.”
Having received multiple hammerings from the Boise County Job Creation and Retention Council (JCRC) in the past, the company shies away from making statements regarding Boise County jobs and training, but they have always assured the Council that if they go into production down the road, the jobs will be there. They cite fifty to sixty local workers in the current phase of exploration; 5,000 during mine construction phases; and 1,000 jobs for one-hundred years during production. Dykes says, “We’re going to try and bring in local people and give a tremendous amount of training.” The ongoing concern of the JCRC, according to Garden Valley Director, John Cottingham, is of getting the training in place by time the jobs open.
Because of the scale and long life of the project, Dykes says it is important to his company. “We’ll spend two to three times more on this than anything else. The environment—flora, fauna, groundwater—we’ll go by international bank rules—the riparian zone is 500 feet from Grimes Creek. You have a treasure—it is very rare what you have up there.”
For more information about the CuMo Project, contact Shaun Dykes, at 206-331-0334, firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.cumoproject.com.