Open House planned to answer questions about gold exploration on Buckhorn M

OROVILLE – Several state and federal agencies are hosting an open house on Tuesday, Dec. 14 to answer questions about a proposal to do minerals exploration on Buckhorn Mountain, northeast of Oroville.

The open house is from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Oroville High School Commons, located at 1016 Ironwood Street.

Echo Bay Exploration, a subsidiary of Toronto-based Kinross Gold, is looking to expand mineral exploration near Kinross’ Buckhorn Gold Mine near Chesaw.

“The current mine has given us a base, both in personnel and funding to find out if there is more gold out there,” said Doug Jones, Vice President of Echo Bay Exploration and Crown Resources in an interview in the Gazette-Tribune last week.

The Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, state Department of Natural Resources and Department of Ecology propose to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposal from Echo Bay Exploration. The EIS will be a combined National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) document, according to a statement released by Phillip Christy,

Buckhorn Mine Coordinator with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

“We are in the midst of gathering comments to help prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed gold exploration,” said Dale Olson, Tonasket District Ranger. “This open house will serve as an opportunity for folks to get questions answered. We will make comment forms available and written comments on the proposal can be turned in during the open house, or mailed to the ranger station.”

At the meeting, a brief presentation on the proposal will take place at 6 p.m. Following the presentation, the open house will resume, providing opportunities for participants to visit with representatives from the Forest Service and Washington State Department of Natural Resources, as well as other state and federal agencies contributing to the environmental impact statement.

The exploration proposal area includes about 10,000 acres surrounding the existing Buckhorn Mountain gold mine. A maximum of 72 miles of drill roads and 675 drill pad sites are included in the proposal, with drill holes averaging 1200 feet in depth.

“Becki Heath, Forest Supervisor for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest will decide whether or not to approve the proponent’s plan of operations,” said Olson. “The environmental impact statement, including analysis based on the comments received during this scoping process, will be used to

inform her decision.

Written comments concerning the scope of the environmental impact statement may be submitted to Phillip Christy, District Environmental Coordinator, Tonasket Ranger District, 1 Winesap, Tonasket, WA. 98855 until Jan. 3, 2011. Comments may also be sent via email to or via fax to (509) 486-1922. Electronic comments must be a part of an e-mail message, or an attachment in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), Rich Text Format (.rtf) or

Portable Document Format (.pdf).