Federal officials have started an environmental analysis of a Canadian company's proposal for three open-pit gold mines in central Idaho.
The U.S. Forest Service said Monday it's preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for a plan by Midas Gold Corp. to unearth what it says are an estimated 4 million ounces of gold.
Company officials say the 20-year project about 3 miles east of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness would generate 1,000 well-paying jobs and save taxpayers money by cleaning up past mining activities.
A U.S. Geological Survey report in 2015 found more extensive arsenic and mercury pollution than previously thought in the area that's the drinking source for the nearby town of Yellow Pine.
Public comments are being taken by the Forest Service through July 20.