public comment period ends – what’s next for f3’s Black Hills project?
Vice President, F3 Gold
On February 6 the U.S. Forest Service wrapped up its public comment period on our exploratory drilling proposal, which they call the “F3 Jenny Gulch Exploration Drilling Project.” The comment period was a 30-day window during which the public could submit comments and questions to the USFS to help inform their process as they undergo an Environmental Analysis of our proposed project.
Environmental Assessment explained
For those unfamiliar – you may be wondering how an environmental assessment works. What follows is a simplified explanation using F3 Gold’s Jenny Gulch Exploration Project as an example.
In all, more than 300 comments on our project were submitted during the public comment period. USFS will review those comments and will also pass them along to Barr Engineering, who is the firm contracted with USFS to conduct the EA field and engineering work as a part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review. Barr and USFS will consider those comments along with their own data and findings as they review our proposed scope of operations.
The ultimate goal of the EA process is for the USFS to make a determination about whether our proposed project has the potential to cause significant environmental effects. Through the EA process, USFS will either make a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) or they will determine that additional environmental review is needed. The USFS will also use the findings of the EA to determine what, if any, conditions they wish to impose on our proposed activities.
F3 Gold conducting field study in the Black Hills.
It is worth noting that our proposed operations do not include any mining or excavation and our total project footprint is under 4 acres. Previously USFS did not require low impact exploration projects like ours to undergo the rigorous EA process. However, due to the extra sensitivities F3 is happy to abide by the additional requirements to ensure no significant impacts to the forest, water or cultural resources would result from our exploration project.
For those interested to follow the progress, the USFS maintains a website for each project under review. Updates from USFS on the F3 Jenny Gulch Exploration Drilling Project can be found here. Their website also includes a copy of our proposed plan of operations, which is the plan that USFS and Barr Engineering are considering during the NEPA review.
In addition to the materials on the USFS website, you can view a detailed presentation about our project on our website.
For now, as USFS and Barr continue their work, there will be very little public activity on this project. The USFS estimates the next project milestone, which will be a second public input period, will occur sometime around October 1, 2020. Until then, we will continue to engage with local stakeholders and work on project preparations to be ready to hit the ground running when a permit is ultimately issued.