California Gold Rush Mine Won't Be Reopened Yet


"What investors had hoped would the reopening of California's second commercial-scale gold mine in the Mother Lode has been halted by deteriorating equity markets."

The attempt to reopen a second Mother Lode gold mine in Northern California will have to wait until markets improve.

What investors had hoped would the reopening of California's second commercial scale gold mine to open in the Mother Lode has been halted by deteriorating equity markets.

Officials for the City of Grass Valley say they will let the application by Idaho-Maryland Mining Corp. to reopen the historic Idaho-Maryland gold mine in Grass Valley expire today.

Parent company Emgold Mining said it plans to refile the permit applications once funding is in place. "The company remains optimistic. . .that equity markets are showing signs of recovery," Emgold said in a news release.

The company said it did not expect the change in status of the current permit applications to have any impact on completing the project's Environmental Review Report or the California Environmental Quality Act process for the Idaho-Maryland Project other than timing. The company will need to raise between $1 million (M) and $2M to pay for the full environmental process.

The project is located on the edge of the city of Grass Valley, next to Newmont Mining's now closed Empire Mine, which was formerly California's largest gold mine, yielding 5.6 million ounces (Moz) of gold from 1850 to the 1950s. The Idaho-Maryland includes workings from five historic mines. Within a three-mile radius of the Idaho-Maryland over 13 Moz of gold were mined.

Idaho-Maryland remains the second-largest historical underground producer of gold in California. It produced a total of 2.4 Moz of gold from 5.5 million tons of ore, for an average recovered grade of 0.43 ounces of gold per ton.

Reopening the Idaho-Maryland mine as a commercial operation is expected to cost $200M. Emgold believes it could yield from 120,000 to 200,000 gold ounces annually.

In a statement, David Watkinson, Emgold CEO, said, "We do believe the permitting process for Idaho-Maryland is achievable with adequate funding and we plan to continue to work with the city to complete the EIR process for the Idaho-Maryland project. We look forward to resuming the process in the near future."

The only commercial-scale gold mine close to opening in California's Mother Lode is Sutter Gold Mining's Lincoln Mine project near Sutter Creek.

Dorothy Kosich

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