Gold search under study in Okanogan County

TUESDAY, NOV. 30, 2010

OROVILLE, Wash. – The Buckhorn Mine’s owners want to explore for additional gold deposits in northern Okanogan County.

Echo Bay Exploration Inc. wants to explore about 10,000 acres of federal, state and private lands surrounding the underground mine near Oroville, Wash. The company is a subsidiary of Kinross Gold Corp., and runs a milling operation in Republic.

The U.S. Forest Service and the Washington Department of Natural Resources are evaluating the company’s proposal and plan to issue a joint environmental impact statement. A public meeting is planned from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Oroville High School Commons.

The EIS is required because the exploration work could adversely affect wildlife, recreational use of the land, cattle grazing and members of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation, according to state and federal officials. The Confederated Tribes have cultural sites and hunting and fishing rights on the land, which used to be part of the reservation.

The work could disturb up to 500 acres over a five-year period, including 72 miles of drill roads and 675 drill pad sites, according to Echo Bay. Drilling would require up to 120,000 gallons of water per day.

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