Canadian geologist Shaun Dykes has won the battle over control of a copper and molybdenum exploration project in the upper reaches of Grimes Creek near Idaho City.
Now he's trying to reboot the Canadian company as an American company with American leadership.
"We're changing the story," Dykes said.
The former CuMo Project manager defeated former CEO Brian McClay, a Canadian attorney, for control over Mosquito Consolidated Gold Mines Limited, which was exploring the ore body it says is worth $16 billion and could create 1,000 jobs in Boise County for years to come.
With the financial backing of Chinese mining executive Hongxue Fu, Dykes returned to the company that dismissed him in 2011 when the fight over control began.
He started by adding to the board two Boise businessmen who'd been involved in the project: John Moeller, of Forsgren Associates, which had worked on engineering and environmental work; and prominent mining attorney and Northwest Mining Association board member Joe Baird.
Then he changed the name to American CuMo Mining Corp.
"Our plan now is to open up a Boise office and the project will be managed and run out of Boise and that's the way it should be done," Dykes said.
Dykes said he would soon move to Boise and lead the company's only venture, the Boise Basin project that he says could turn into one of the largest open-pit molybdenum mines in the world.
As he and McClay were battling for control of the company, environmental activists were fighting CuMo efforts to build roads and drill pads so it could map the ore deposit. A federal judge ruled that the Forest Service had acted arbitrarily and capriciously by approving drilling without examining potential effects to groundwater.
The Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, the Golden Eagle Audubon Society and others have vowed to fight the project because it's in the Boise River watershed, upstream from a water source for a half-million people.
The new company is working with the Forest Service to present the groundwater data it has already collected in a way that will satisfy the judge, Dykes said. Then it will begin putting together the baseline environmental information it needs to get a mining permit.
Having rewritten his primary narrative - that CuMo is now an Idaho company - Dykes must deal with another challenge: the price of molybdenum. It's so low - now at $11 to $12 per pound - that Thompson Creek laid off more than 100 workers at its mine 35 miles southwest of Challis.
If the price doesn't improve, Thompson Creek officials say, they may close the mine and lay off the rest of its 300 workers in 2014 until the price rises.
But Dykes said the CuMo mine will be so big and its deposit so rich that it would be operating at a profit even at today's prices.
Even though CuMo is moving to Boise, its stock will continue to trade on a Canadian exchange. It remains to be seen if CuMo can convince Idahoans that it's a homegrown company.
Rocky Barker: 377-6484