No to CuMo – An Open Letter to Boise National Forest

Site of the proposed CuMo Mine, in the headwaters of Grimes Creek, Boise River Drainage

Site of the proposed CuMo Mine, in the headwaters of Grimes Creek, Boise River Drainage

CuMo Mine is a proposed Copper-Molybdenum Mine in the headwaters of the Boise River. If it is built, it will be the largest open pit molybdenum mine in the world. This is a Pebble Mine Class Stupid Idea. WC’s letter objecting to an expanded exploratory permit follows.

Melissa Yenko, Forest Environmental Coordinator
Boise National Forest
1249 South Vinnell Way, Suite 200
Boise, ID 83709

Re: Proposed Exploration Permit for CuMo Mine

Dear Ms. Yenko:

I am writing to object to the issuance of an amended exploration permit to CuMo Mine. The 2018 CuMo Exploration Project presents hazards and risks too great for any possible benefits of the proposed exploration effort.

The exploration effort itself will lead to greatly increased traffic, construction of unnecessary roads, dust, noise and further damage to an already damaged area. The proposed exploration efforts would take place in an extensive wildfire burn which has altered the ecology, hydrology and wildlife populations that the Forest Service cannot pretend to understand. To inject further disruption into such a disturbed, poorly understood ecosystem is utterly foolish and, very likely, illegal. The Forest Service cannot describe, with any accuracy, the impacts of the proposed exploration because it has a woefully incomplete understanding of condition as they now exist.

The exploration effort will seriously interfere with outdoor recreation in an area close to the largest metropolitan area in the state. Mineral exploration is an exclusionary use. Outdoor recreation would be excluded in 3,000 acres that are quite popular and heavily used. Even where areas are nominally open, the presence of very large drill rigs, construction equipment and other exploration traffic will create serious risks of accidents.

Worst of all, the expenses CuMo incurs in exploration will be used as justification for pushing this ill-conceived and dangerous project forward. We can predict now that CuMo will attempt to leverage its exploration expenses as ground for proceeding with development of the mine. We don’t need to makes these mistakes again. The best way to prevent this mining disaster is to not permit it to start.

A large scale, open pit mine in the headwaters of one of Idaho’s most important rivers is madness and folly. It will generate megatons of waste and spoil, perched like a geologic Sword of Damocles over the Treasure Valley in perpetuity. Idaho and the West in general are plagued with mines that were going to be “safe” but threaten or actively endanger communities, watersheds, fisheries and outdoor recreation. Enabling that threat by permitting CuMo’s exploration activity should be rejected out of hand.

Please do not grant CuMo the amended exploration permit it seeks.

/s/ Wickersham’s Conscience


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