Editorials regarding the proposed Paradise Valley gold mine
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“Decades ago, Montanans were receptive to the idea of big mining operations, even though they devastated the landscape. Mines meant jobs to a hungry and willing-to-work population. But demographics have changed. The typical Montanan is now far more likely to be a transplant from elsewhere in the nation who came here to enjoy the natural amenities. And, to them, bulldozing those amenities or covering them with toxic and unsightly mine tailings is anathema.”
The proposal from Lucky Minerals could lead to a future mining operation stretching across more than 2,560 acres of Emigrant Peak, according to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. As we have learned from a long, sordid history of mining in Montana, we must be selective and critical in determining where companies are given the green light for resource extraction. A Canadian company might have the legal right to pursue this project in Paradise Valley, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for Chico Hot Springs, Paradise Valley and Park County. Emigrant Peak is the ideal location for many activities, but a mine exploration project isn’t one of them.
“The project has been largely met with opposition and that’s understandable. Unfortunately, Lucky Minerals Vice President Shaun Dykes responded in a July 13 letter to the editor by saying, ‘The recent headlines in regard to proposed exploration work on the upper reaches of Emigrant Creek are based on scare tactics and fear mongering by various local environmental groups.’
“The terms “scare tactics” and “fear mongering” do not seem a fair representation of the Park County residents who have legitimate concerns about the possibility of a mineral exploration project so close to Yellowstone National Park in Paradise Valley. Perhaps Lucky Minerals and its representatives might consider hearing out the contrary opinions of those who live and work in Park County rather than use clichés in an effort to discount concerns over the proposal. Of course the proposal has captured Park County’s attention. Anyone who has visited Paradise Valley, floated and fished the Yellowstone River, soaked or dined at Chico Hot Springs understands why a project that could lead to mining activity on Emigrant Peak makes some people uneasy. Lucky Minerals, in a public document filed with the Forest Service, lists the Emigrant Project as Park County, ‘Idaho.’ “
“While the company accuses Park County Environmental Council and other groups of hyperbole, Lucky’s plans are clearly set out in publicly available documents on its website. Attempts to disavow those plans in the face of public criticism are disingenuous. According to the company’s own technical report found on their website, ‘The purpose of the program is to produce a multi-million ounce gold, 43-101 complaint resource for the project and its various zones.’”