The hardrock mining industry owns gold, silver, and other precious metals and minerals beneath an estimated 260,185 acres of U.S. public land in Idaho, resources worth millions of dollars a year, acquired for as little as $0.84 per acre and held in perpetuity for a yearly rental fee as low as $0.62 an acre. Under a 132-year-old law originally intended to spur development of the West, an industry dominated by a handful of multinational corporations pays no federal royalties, and leaves behind a landscape of dramatically diminished value, scarred with tunnels, pits, and toxic waste piles.
|Quick facts about mining claims in Idaho|
Total number of claim-holders: 2,463
Acres of public land claimed by the mining industry, estimated: 260,185 (126 times Sun Valley (2054 acres))
Dollars paid for each acre: as little as $0.84, and as little as $0.62 yearly rental fee
Reimbursement to the federal government for gold, silver and other precious metals taken from public land: $0
Companies owning minerals on at least 10,000 public acres: 2
Land area ever claimed by the mining industry nationally, estimated: 79 million acres (the size of New Mexico)
EWG analysis of data compiled by the Bureau of Land Management.
Companies have been consolidated to account for subsidiaries. View this table without consolidation.
|Company/Individual||Headquarters||Number of Claims||Acreage Claimed||Date(s) Filed|
|1||Phelps Dodge Mining Co||Phoenix, AZ||919||17,308||1939 to 2000|
|2||F S Mooney||unknown||794||16,448||1939 to 1990|
|3||Kinross||World HQ in Canada||257||5,698||1925 to 1998|
|4||Owyhee Exploration LLC||New York, NY||223||4,607||2001|
|5||American Independent||Vale, OR||195||4,013||1958 to 2002|
|6||James E Wilson||Dubois, ID||24||3,840||1997|
|See all claim holders in Idaho|
Some of the claimants in this table may be in partnership with other individuals or companies with a claim to the same land.
|County||Number of Claims||Estimated Acreage|
|See all counties|
|Name of Mine||Location of Mine||Mine Status||Metal Mined||Owner or Parent Company of Owner|
|Golden Hand Mine||Custer County, ID||Proposed||Gold||American Independence Mines|
|Thompson Creek Molybdenum Mine||Custer County, ID||Open||Molybdenum||Thompson Creek Mining Company|
|Silver Valley (galena) Mine||Shoshone County, ID||Open||Silver ores||Coeur D'Alene Mines Corp|
|Beartrack Mine||Lemhi County, ID||Closed||Gold||Meridian Gold Inc.|
|Black Pine||Cassia County, ID||Closed||Gold||Pegasus Gold Corp|
|Stibnite Mine||Valley County, ID||Closed||Gold||Dakota Mining Company|
|Lucky Friday Silver Mine||Shoshone County, ID||Open||Silver ores||Hecla Mining Company|
|Grouse Creek Mine||Custer County, ID||Closed||Gold||Hecla Mining Company|
|Blackbird||Lemhi County, ID||Closed||Cobalt||Noranda|
|Idaho Cobalt Project||Ravalli County, ID||Proposed||Cobalt, Copper & G||Formation Capital|
|See more mines in Idaho|
Source: EWG analysis.