By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Construction of a proposed $220 million gold mine in Laramie County could begin next year, according to a spokesman for the project.
Jason Begger, a spokesman for U.S. Gold Corp. told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that while state approval is needed before work can begin, construction could begin in late 2023.
“We’re looking at late 2024 to early 2025 to begin the actual mining and that will be about a 10-year lifespan,” Begger said.
Earlier this month, U.S. Gold Corp. put out a request for proposal for local contractors to handle construction at the mine site, which is expected to take around a year. Construction will include building access roads to the site, construction of the processing mill, earthworks and site grading and layout for the storage area.
U.S. Gold Corp. has been investigating the potential of re-opening an old copper mine adjacent to Curt Gowdy State Park to produce gold. The project is known as “CK Gold.”
Begger said that U.S Gold Corp. did work with the University of Wyoming to prepare an economic assessment for the mine, which showed that the mine would generate around 660 jobs and $1.4 million per year in sales tax revenue for the city of Cheyenne alone.
The assessment also showed the mine would create about $65 million in “taxable impact” for the city, county and state, Begger said.
The mine site is located at Copper King, an old copper mine that hasn’t been worked since before World War II and is owned by the state of Wyoming. The company estimates there are around 250 million pounds of copper inside of the mine and 1 million ounces of gold.
The gold deposit at the site has been known to exist for a long time, but mining technology has finally reached a point where experts think it could be worth opening the mine again to retrieve the gold, Begger said in earlier interviews.
Begger added there won’t be much, if any, impact on wildlife or water quality in the area.
He also compared the type of mining that would be done at the site to work done at rock quarries and added no cyanide would be used to leach gold from ore during the process as is often the case at other gold mines.
Several options are being examined for the mine’s use once production is completed, Begger said.
“The plan right now is the mine area would be back-filled … and returned to what it was before it became the mine site, which was cattle grazing lands,” he said. “But, the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities has said that additional water storage will likely be needed in that area in about 20 years, so there is some investigation into whether the site would be a feasible place for storage.”
If this project moves forward to completion, it would be the state’s only active gold mine.
Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins did not return a request for comment on Tuesday.