Critics make first attack on proposed gold mine

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho environmental group is asking the U.S. Forest Service to reconsider giving a Canadian company permission to do more exploration for gold near the headwaters of the South Fork of the Salmon River.

The request by the Idaho Conservation League is the group's first public step to oppose plans by Midas Gold to develop an open-pit mine in a historic mining district in Valley County.

Payette National Forest administrators recently approved construction for another 139 drill pads and 178 drill holes at the Golden Meadows project site.

ICL representative John Robison says the watershed is too valuable to risk with the dangers of a modern mining project.

But Midas Gold executives shot back this week, saying the company is committed to mining safely and cleaning up past mining waste.