The U.S. Forest Service is ready to move on in their analysis of the Atlanta Gold mine proposal, and they're ready to hear more from the public. Boise National Forest supervisor Dick Smith said a revised plan submitted by Atlanta Gold Corporation was ready for further review.
Atlanta Gold, a Canadian company, wants to build an open-pit cyanide heap leach gold mine 60 miles northeast of Boise, near the headwaters of the Boise River. The Idaho Conservation League and Idaho Rivers United both oppose the mine because they say cyanide, a toxic chemical, would inevitably pollute the Boise River. The national environmental group American Rivers recently named the Boise River one of the nation's top 10 "endangered rivers" because of the possibility of the Atlanta mine. Mine managers say the technology they intend to use is modern, safe, and ready for deployment above the Boise River. They have estimated in the past that the probability of a truck spilling cyanide is 1 in 200 over the estimated 7- to 10-year life of the project. Atlanta Gold expects to remove about 500,000 ounces of gold, with silver as a byproduct, out of the mine.
To get up to speed on the latest twists and turns in the permit process, Smith recommends citizens attend a series of Forest Service open houses on the plans from Atlanta Gold. Boise residents can attend an open house May 30 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Doubletree Riverside Motel on Chinden Boulevard in Garden City.