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Release Date: 08/11/10
Contacts: Sarah Wheeler , 208-524-7550  

Agencies Seek Public Input on Proposed Thompson Creek Mine Expansion, Section 404 Clean Water Act Permit Application, and Public Land Disposal

IMPORTANT CORRECTION - The e-mail address ( originally provided for submitting public comments in electronic format is incorrect. Please use instead. If you have already sent comments to the incorrect e-mail address, please re-send your comments to

CHALLIS, Idaho – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Challis Field Office in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service Salmon-Challis National Forest, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, and Idaho Department of Lands intend to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to analyze the potential environmental effects of a modified mining plan of operations (MMPO) and Section 404 Clean Water Act permit application for the Thompson Creek molybdenum mine and a related public land disposal.

Thompson Creek Mining Company has submitted the MMPO and water permit application to obtain authorization to expand two existing waste rock storage facilities and the tailings impoundment, update the long-term water management plan, and disturb additional wetlands and waters of the United States. Approval of the MMPO by the BLM and Forest Service, and issuance of a 404 permit by the USACE would allow the mine to continue operations until approximately 2030. The mine is currently permitted for approximately 3,400 acres of surface disturbance, and the MMPO would require additional permitted surface disturbance on approximately 350 acres of Federal lands and approximately 80 acres of private land. The Federal lands are administered by the BLM and the Forest Service.

Thompson Creek Mining Company has also proposed a land exchange involving approximately 5,000 acres of public land administered by the BLM Challis Field Office and approximately 900 acres of private lands owned by the company. The public land proposed for exchange contains the southern portion of the mine. The private lands proposed for exchange consists of the Broken Wing Ranch, six miles northeast of Clayton, and the Garden Creek property, 16 miles south of Pocatello in Bannock County, Idaho. In response, the BLM proposes to amend the 1999 Challis Resource Management Plan to identify the public land in the proposed exchange as suitable for disposal pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended.

The EIS will be the basis for the BLM and Forest Service to issue decisions regarding the portions of the MMPO for which each agency has jurisdiction, the USACE to issue a decision regarding a 404 permit for the mine, and the BLM to issue a decision regarding the amendment of the Challis Resource Management Plan and a decision regarding the related land disposal action. The EPA, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, and Idaho Department of Lands will cooperate in the preparation of the EIS to ensure that the preferred alternative complies with all relevant and applicable laws, regulations and policies.

Publication of the Notice of Intent in today’s Federal Register initiates a 30-day scoping period during which the public is invited to review and provide input on the issues surrounding the proposals. Two public meetings have been scheduled at the following locations and times:

  • BLM Boise District Office Monday, August 23, 2010 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    3948 Development Avenue, Boise, Idaho
  • Challis Middle School Tuesday, August 24, 2010 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    700 Main Street, Challis, Idaho

Please send written comments to Thompson Creek Mine EIS, c/o Brian Buck, JBR Environmental Consultants, 8160 South Highland Drive, Sandy, Utah 84093. Comments may also be delivered personally to the BLM Challis Field Office, sent by facsimile to the attention of Brian Buck at (801) 942-1852, or sent electronically to The public may review documents pertinent to the proposed actions at the BLM Challis Field Office, 1151 Blue Mountain Road, Challis, Idaho, from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mountain Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Project information and documents will also be available online at

Construction of the Thompson Creek molybdenum mine began in 1981, and it has been commercially producing molybdenum concentrate since November 1983. Mining is currently authorized through approximately 2016 at the rate of approximately 30,000 tons per day of ore. The proposed mine expansion would allow molybdenum production to continue to approximately 2030. Under the MMPO, mine production would continue to be approximately 30,000 tons per day of ore (15-20 million pounds of molybdenum per year).

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2014, the BLM generated $5.2 billion in receipts from public lands.

Last updated: 03-27-2015