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County updated on Quartz Mountain gold mining interest

County updated on Quartz Mountain gold mining interest

Earlier this month, representatives of the Canadian gold producer Alamos Gold, Inc., provided Lake County’s Board of Commissioners with a presentation that served as an update on its Quartz Mountain gold mining project.

The firm’s vice-president of development and construction, Andrew Comier, and director of government relations, community relations and permitting, Linda Thorsted, provided an overview of the company’s current global operations along with an update on the Quartz Mountain project.

Alamos Gold currently has mining operations in Turkey and Mexico, while the Quartz Mountain project west of Lakeview serves as its U.S. project.

A major priority for the company is in exercising practical progressive reclamation, which is gradual environmental rehabilitation work over the course of a project versus waiting until the end of its life cycle, Comier said.

Thorsted reported on a scheduled meeting with Forest Service and engineering groups to determine the extent of environmental work already done in the area.  Part of this determination will help determine how much of the work is still valid, and what gaps will need to be filled, she said.

Commissioner Ken Kestner asked why other companies that previously initiated mining projects in the area failed to follow through to completion.  Thorsted said that the collapse of gold prices about 20 years ago was the primary factor for those firms that had previously sought a full-scale mining operation there.

Historic study data examined surface water, ground water, area vegetation, wetlands, wildlife habitat and species aquatic biology, grazing management and visual resources, Thorsted said.

Other factions include air quality work, ambient noise and cultural resources.  She noted, as an example, the Ewauna Box Camps that operated on Bly Mountain in the 1930s era, which shipped out 22 to 24 rail cars of timber daily.

Comier voiced optimism that the site would yield a successful resource base.

“We’re confident this project will still be successful at a $1,000 (per ounce) gold price,” he said.

Cormier also said the exploration phase for the project is about two years off, depending on the permitting process.  Construction of the mine could be between four and five years away, he said.

The potential exists for 12 to 18 jobs during the construction phase, but the number of jobs for the mine’s eventual operation are not yet known.  An emphasis would be placed on the hiring and training of locals, he said.

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