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Federal Lawmakers Closely Watching SW Oregon Nickel Mine Proposal

Steve Boutcher, courtesy Wilderness.net, 3155 via the Oregon Encyclopedia
The Red Flat Nickel Corporation is trying again to get the OK for a nickel mine near the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in southwest Oregon.

An “on-again-off-again” proposal for a nickel mine in southwest Oregon is on again. And members of both Oregon’s and California’s congressional delegations have written to federal officials to demand the lawmakers be kept in the loop.

The Red Flat Nickel Corporation has been trying for years to develop a nickel mine near the headwaters of pristine creeks and rivers in southwest Oregon. At the urging of congressional representatives, the Obama Administration declared the area off-limits to mining for 20 years.

Now, the UK-based company is seeking recognition of their claim as being valid before the mining ban was put in place. The company will need to prove the project is economically viable to get the go-ahead. Representative Peter DeFazio says that’s going to be a stretch.

"The idea that you’re going to strip mine in this remote area and then somehow ship it to China or Australia or someplace else is absurd," DeFazo says. "The economics don’t add up."

DeFazio joined Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representative Jared Huffman of California in writing to the U-S Forest Service. They want the agency to know they’ll be watching the process closely and that they expect “the utmost due diligence.”

The Red Flat Nickel Corporation was not available for comment.

Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for three decades. He served two stints as JPR News Director and retired full-time from JPR at the end of 2021. Liam now edits and curates the news on JPR's website and digital platforms.