(BOISE) On Thursday, June 27, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold a public meeting in Boise on a request to change rules regarding cyanide used to process ore.

In March, the Idaho Mining Association requested a switch to performance-based rules instead of existing, detailed construction specifications. However, it’s unclear how “performance” will be defined and assessed at mine sites. DEQ is considering this change and wants public input.

The Idaho Conservation League first commented in May, questioning whether performance-based measures would be as protective as existing rules, regulations or guidance. ICL will also participate in the Boise meeting, asking DEQ to keep strong protections that minimize risks to the environment.

  • Who: Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
  • What: Public meeting on negotiated rulemaking on cyanide to process ore.
  • When: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Thursday, June 27, 2019.
  • Where: DEQ State Office, Conference Center, 1410 N. Hilton, Boise, Idaho.
  • More Info: All comments, background documents and information on meetings are available on the DEQ rulemaking website.

Cyanide is a toxic chemical used to process large amounts of ore to remove small quantities of gold. ICL petitioned DEQ in 2005 to establish rules on this practice due to toxicity and spills, ruptures or releases from virtually all cyanide leach mines. These rules require leach pads, processing ponds and tailings impoundments to have a double liner with a leak detection system, and specifications to protect surface and groundwater. Since 2005, no applications have been submitted to construct a mine that uses cyanidation processes.