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Midas Gold Withdraws Request For Valley County To Sign Community Agreement

Monica Gokey
Boise State Public Radio
Valley County commissioners heard public comment on Jan. 16 in Donnelly. The vast majority of those who spoke urged county commissioners not to sign Midas Gold's community agreement.

Mining company Midas Gold withdrew its request for Valley County to sign its community agreement.

The community agreement reads almost like a pre-nup between the county and Midas Gold, which is undergoing the permitting process to re-open the Stibnite mine in west-central Idaho.

In mid-January about 150 people squeezed into Donnelly Elementary to offer comment on the proposed agreement. The vast majority urged county commissioners not to sign.

Scott Pressman of Donnelly was one of the few not affiliated with Midas who spoke in favor of the agreement. He said he had concerns about the project, but also felt there was potential for cooperation.

"We work better when we work together," Pressman said. "I think the community agreement offers an opportunity and a method to do that."

One component of the agreement was that each signatory community would get a representative on the Stibnite Advisory Council. The council serves as the intermediary between communities and the mine and its meetings are closed to the public.

Valley County commissioners had not yet made a decision when Midas Gold withdrew its request for the county to participate in the agreement on Jan. 25. 

A company spokesperson cited a perceived conflict of interest among community members, and said withdrawing the agreement seemed like the respectful thing to do.

Midas Gold Vice President Mckinsey Lyon adds, "While we are confident there isn't a conflict of interest, it is clear — after listening to feedback from community members — there is still some concern about the perception [of a conflict]."

Valley County will likely have a future permitting role in some aspects of the mine relating to transportation and building permits.

For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915

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