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Release Date: 03/21/14
Contacts: Sarah Wheeler (208) 524-7550    

Agencies Seek Comments on Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Thompson Creek Mine Expansion and Public Land Disposal


CHALLIS, ID – 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), the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) has prepared a draft 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 requests authorization to expand two existing waste rock storage facilities and the tailings impoundment, update the longterm 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 will allow the mine to continue mining molybdenum until approximately 2025. The current surface disturbance at the mine is approximately 2,800 acres. The MMPO would require additional permitted surface disturbance on approximately 350 acres of Federal lands and approximately 80 acres of private land owned by the company. The Federal lands are administered by the BLM and Forest Service.

            Thompson Creek Mining Company has also proposed a land exchange involving approximately 5,100 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 draft EIS contains a set of MMPO alternatives and a set of land disposal alternatives and identifies the agency’s preferred MMPO alternative and preferred land disposal alternative. Public comments received on the draft EIS will be used to prepare a final EIS, which 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 DEQ, and IDL cooperated in the preparation of the draft EIS to ensure that the preferred MMPO alternative complies with the relevant laws, regulations and policies.

To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM must receive written comments on the draft EIS by June 18, 2014. Two public meetings have been scheduled at the following locations and times:

Challis Community Event Center        
May 13, 2014 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
411 Clinic Road, Challis, Idaho

BLM Boise District Office                  
May 14, 2014 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
3948 Development Avenue, Boise, Idaho

 You may submit comments or request your name be added to the project mailing list by any of these methods:
Fax: 208.879.6210 (please reference “TCM EIS”); or
Mail: TCM EIS, Bureau of Land Management, Challis Field Office, 1151 Blue Mountain Road,

Challis, Idaho 83226.

Copies of the draft EIS are available in the Challis Field Office at the address listed above from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Copies of the DEIS are also be available online at

Construction of the Thompson Creek Molybdenum Mine began in 1981. It has been producing molybdenum concentrate commercially since November 1983. Mining is currently authorized through approximately 2016 at the rate of approximately 30,000 tons of ore per day. The proposed expansion would allow production to continue to approximately 2025. Under the MMPO, mine production would continue to be approximately 30,000 tons per day of ore (1520 million pounds of molybdenum per year).
For more information on this project, please contact Ken Gardner, Project Lead, BLM Challis Field Office, 1151 Blue Mountain Road, Challis, Idaho 83226, (208) 8796210.

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: 03-21-2014