By Pat Caldwell
VALE – Adrian’s Ken Davis arrived to find out more about the proposed Grassy Mountain mining operation.
Ken Poole, Ontario, was on hand to build a relationship with the top officials of Paramount Gold.
Davis and Poole were among more than a dozen people who converged at the Vale headquarters of Paramount Gold Wednesday, Dec. 13 for an open house and information session.
Paramount Gold, a Nevada mining company, plans to build an underground mine and complex on three patented lode claims 22 miles southwest of Vale.
For about the past year and a half the firm has worked with the state on a lengthy and detailed permitting process to open the mine. Now, Paramount is putting the finishing touches on a study required by the state for the operation. Once the pre-feasibility study is complete, likely early next year the firm will apply for its most important permit.
The firm is working with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Glen Van Treek, president of Paramount, said the mining permit will be submitted by mid-2018. Van Treek said he is confident his firm can begin construction in 2019.
Van Treek said the mine could be operating by 2021.
During the past three decades, four different mining firms had a controlling interest in the Grassy Mountain project but none moved past the preliminary stage.
Paramount bought Calico Resources Corp. in 2016 to take control of the mine.
The mine venture is projected to produce 53,000 ounces of gold and 82,000 ounces of silver over a 10-year period.
While the mine has seen different owners over the years, Van Treek said Paramount is the first one that “was really serious.”
“We believe in this project,” said Van Treek. “Since we acquired it, it has been advancing quickly.”
Van Treek said the economic impact locally from the mine will be up to $30 million a year. He said the mine will employ between 100 and 150 people. The average wage will be between $50,000 and $60,000 a year, though some technical jobs will have higher salaries. The mine, he said, will also attract other companies to the area and it is a “good industry to bring to east Oregon.”
“Mining pays well and, in a general sense, brings a good quality of life. This part of Oregon has a lot of mining potential. It just hasn’t been explored,” said Van Treek.
Van Treek said that state officials feel the same way.
“It will be good for the area and that is what the state wants. They realize east Oregon is different than the west,” said Van Treek.
Davis, a retired Micron employee, said he attended the open house to get more information regarding the mine progress. After the meeting, he said he was satisfied the mine will be a good thing.
“It will boost the economy of Malheur County,” said Davis.
Poole agreed with Davis. Poole is a co-owner of Campo & Poole Distributing in Ontario, and said the mine’s impact will also be significant.
“There are a lot of supplies that are consumed by a mine operation and that will be huge for businesses around here,” said Poole.
Van Treek said Paramount is committed to the project.
“We want to develop Grassy Mountain and we are taking all the steps to do so,” said Van Treek.
Have a news tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at pat@malheurenterprise.