A Canadian mining company is back again for another chance to profit off public lands while jeopardizing a key wildlife corridor in the Northern Rockies.

Last year, in response to concerns from ICL and its partners, the U.S. District Court stopped Excellon Resources (aka Otis Gold) from moving forward with gold exploration in the Centennial Mountains by the town of Kilgore in eastern Idaho. The judge also found that the U.S. Forest Service failed to consider Excellon’s exploration drilling as a threat to water quality and Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
The court’s decision thankfully put a hold on the 2020 drilling season at Kilgore. But Excellon submitted a revised plan to the Forest Service over the summer. In the recent draft environmental assessment analyzing the revised proposal, the Forest Service is once again trying to approve Excellon’s large-scale mine exploration on public lands in the Centennials.

ICL and its partners continue to have serious concerns about the revised project’s impacts on area fish, wildlife, and water quality. The Kilgore Project lies in the heart of a major wildlife corridor that connects the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with the rest of the Northern Rockies, home to everything from grizzly bears to Columbia spotted frogs. The project is also near the head of the Camas Creek watershed, which flows through the Camas National Wildlife Refuge and is a key water source for farmers and others further downstream.

Every mining company that has owned this project wants to ultimately develop a massive open-pit, cyanide heap leach mine at the site if a sufficient amount of gold is discovered. This style of mining is so destructive to the environment that it is banned a mere 10 miles to the north in Montana. If this project goes forward, it’s not just public lands, fish, and wildlife that stand to lose — hunters, anglers, and recreationists also will directly feel the brunt of these negative impacts.

The Centennial Mountains are not a good place for an intensive exploration drilling program and certainly not a good place for a gold mine.

Speak up!

You have the opportunity to weigh in on the proposed exploration project and voice your concerns about its impacts on the area’s water, wildlife, and outdoor recreation access. Take action and use your voice to protect the Centennial Mountains – a key wildlife corridor – from gold exploration. The deadline to comment is Feb. 11.

For tips and talking points on crafting your comment to the Forest Service, register now for our comment workshop on Feb. 1 and check out our comment writing guide.