VALE — Calico Resources is now ready to start the application process for a permit to operate a gold mine in Malheur County.
Vance Thornsberry, Calico vice president of exploration, announced Friday that the company’s baseline data for the proposed mine had been accepted by the Technical Review Team, made up of state permitting agencies, and the company can proceed with the permit.
“I don’t have the official letter yet,” Thornsberry said, “but it is a big step.”
The team met Thursday.
Richard Riggs, assistant director for the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, confirmed that the data had been accepted and that Calico has completed the pre-application phase of the permitting process.
“How long the company takes in the application phase is up to them,” Riggs said in an email to the Argus.
“Once we receive a notice to proceed, then DOGAMI must act on a completed application within 12 months,” Riggs said.
However, he said, there is no specific timeline for the company to submits its application and notice to proceed after the reapplication phase is completed.
“Calico may or may not ever submit such a notice and application depending upon economic decisions made by its board,” he said.
Andy Bentz, a consultant for Calico said that the action by the Technical Review Team and DOGAMI allows the company to move forward with preparing for the application, but indicated that it was not as simple as just filling out an application.
“There’s a bunch of work that has to be done,” he said.
“It’s not just a form, it’s an entire body of work, and you have to do everything in order.”
DOGAMI is the lead agency in Oregon’s consolidated permit process for mining operations, which includes all permitting agencies, including Malheur County.
Unique to Oregon, the permitting process incorporates all other major county, state and federal permits, the company had said.
While the process is consolidated, each agency will issue its own permit, a DOGAMI spokesperson said.
The technical review team includes representatives from each of those agencies, and includes participation by the Bureau of Land Management, which has its own permit process.
Calico has been working through the permit process since 2012.
Calico had been involved in collecting baseline data on a variety of issues for 21 required baseline resource categories for the reapplication.
Company representatives collected information on environmental issues, such as air and water quality, as well as recreation, grazing, cultural and economic impacts.
The proposed project area is about 22 miles south of Vale. It is expected that the mine would provide 200 construction jobs, 150 full-time jobs during its operation and create 200 indirect jobs, officials have said in past reports.