ELKO — The Midas Exploration Project is expected to grow after the Bureau of Land Management approved a boundary expansion.
Klondex Midas Operations submitted an amended exploration plan of operations last year, and the BLM signed a finding of no significant impact, decision record and approval for the project’s environmental assessment, the agency announced April 16.
Located about 2 miles west of the town of Midas in Elko County, the project encompasses and area of about 30,000 acres of public and private land. The proposal includes expanding by 2,705 acres, conducting exploration drilling, trenching and access road construction. An additional 50 acres of surface disturbance within the project area is also included in the proposal. The new plan increases the mine life by eight years including three years for reclamation.
A requirement for the project is applicant-committed environmental protection measures. That’s because it is located within priority sage-grouse habitat, which was identified and analyzed as an issue of concern.
Klondex worked with the State of Nevada Sagebrush Ecosystem Technical Team to comply with the State’s regulations to satisfy the required compensatory mitigation for the full number of debits the Sagebrush Ecosystem Technical Team determined were needed.
The company has committed to measures to protect nesting birds and to conduct exploration activities outside of the Greater Sage Grouse lekking period to avoid noise from exploration activities interfering with the sage grouse during the lekking season. Exploration activities will be reclaimed, which includes recontouring and seeding, once the disturbance is no longer needed for exploration. The reclaimed areas will be seeded to restore sage grouse habitat.
Applicant-committed environmental protection measures and reclamation of the explored disturbance areas are intended to ensure that exploration operations and activities are conducted responsibly, as well as to reduce adverse impacts and avoid unnecessary or undue degradation of public lands.
The project is backed by a financial guarantee of more than $1.28 million to meet all anticipated reclamation requirements.
Hecla Mining owns the Midas Property, which it acquired from Klondex in 2018. The Midas property includes an underground mine, a processing facility, related support infrastructure, and mining and milling equipment.
Midas is a historic mining district with recorded production of gold and silver beginning there in the 1900s. In modern times, owners have included Franco-Nevada Mining, Normandy, Newmont, Klondex and Hecla. Mine production stopped in 2019.