Silver City Daily News OpEd

Monday, January 23, 2023

Guest Column by Galen McNamara

Mogollon project can bring prosperity along with environmental protections 

The article “Film, panel outline Mogollon fight against mine exploration” (Dec. 6) reports several inaccuracies and misleading claims from the film “No Fools Gold.”

As the CEO of Summa Silver, the company discussed in the film, I welcome the opportunity to add my perspective on both our work and the critical need for the country to develop new domestic sources of mineral supply.

The modern exploration and mining industry is committed to producing essential minerals that support the needs of our society, while also protecting land, air, water, wildlife, and communities. Mineral development projects are required to meet strict environmental standards. There are federal laws in place to ensure that these standards are met, which include the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act, among others. There is also a suite of state regulations in place, and agencies are actively monitoring the work of the mineral industry in New Mexico. 

With respect to our work, Summa Silver is conducting exploratory drilling on private property near the old silver and gold mining town of Mogollon in Catron County, where, after rigorous review, state authorities granted a minimal impact exploration permit. It was determined by permitting agencies that our exploration project will not have any lasting impact on the environment, water, native plants or animals in the area. Our exploration project is also not expected to have a direct impact on wetlands, springs, streams, lakes, rivers, reservoirs or riparian areas.

Our company prides itself in holding sustainability and environmental stewardship as cornerstones of our core principles and practices. We employ teams of professionals that are consistently monitoring area conditions and ensuring that standards are not only met, but frequently exceeded.

We also recognize that the Mexican spotted owl is a species of concern. Last year, we engaged experts to complete extensive Mexican spotted owl surveys. We will conduct additional owl surveys in the spring and summer of this year. We are committed to broad 

stakeholder engagement to ensure that agencies and local communities are part of our efforts. 

We have a local website, invite active communication, meet with community members and provide regular updates on our activities to the relevant authorities. This helps to ensure that the environmental stewardship critical to our work is maintained, and that we are proactively addressing concerns which arise. As our exploration work advances past the very early stages, we will continue to foster the growth of these important lines of communication.

In the bigger picture, 64 percent of the electricity in New Mexico in 2021 was generated from coal and natural gas. As we shift to a greener economy, it is of critical national importance that we do not source the required minerals from other countries where environmental protections and labor standards are weak or may not exist. As a professional geologist who has spent nearly 20 years concentrating on responsible mineral discovery, I can say that New Mexico is blessed with mineral resources. This state also has strong labor standards and among the highest degrees of environmental protections. What better place than New Mexico to explore for minerals, like silver, which are critical for the shift to a greener economy?

At Summa Silver, we look forward to continuing exploration work under the regulations at our promising project near Mogollon. Most importantly, it is our goal that perhaps one day the silver deposits we discover will help bring renewed prosperity to this extraordinary part of New Mexico, while protecting the environment and preserving the rural lifestyle of the area.

Galen McNamara 

CEO and Director of the Summa Silver Corporation

Copyright (c)2023 Silver City

Daily Press and Independent 1/23/2023