MTPR

copper mining

The Parrot Tailings removal project is underway in Butte. September 2018.
Nora Saks

Near Butte’s Civic Center, a massive construction project is going on across the street, in the heart of town. Mammoth excavators gouge out a colossal hole in the ground. Jumbo haul trucks whisk 70 ton loads of chewed-up earth away on repeat.

A mining dump truck buries the abandoned Holy Saviour Church in the McQueen neighborhood in Butte during the expansion of the Berkeley Pit.
Walter Hinick, Montana Standard.

One of the longest serving newspaper photographers in the state had his job eliminated by Lee Enterprises last month.

Walter Hinick shot for Butte’s Montana Standard since 1976. Shortly after he lost his job, I had a chance to talk with him in Butte at the Mountain Con Mine overlook park.

Geology student studying the limestone near Farlin, MT.
UM Western

Last summer I was helping teach a geology field camp near Dillon. On our way back to the Birch Creek Outdoor Education Center each day, after long hours in the August sun spent identifying and mapping incredible exposures of rock, we would drive past a few crumbling cabins beneath an unweathered cliff face footed by large piles of scree.

This was once the town of Farlin – a long-abandoned copper mining camp at the base of the Pioneer Mountains. Shortly after the dawn of the 20th century, it was home to hundreds of men, women, and children. Inextricable from the experience of Montana, ghost towns like this one now dot the landscape they once extracted.

A Response To 'Opportunity, Montana,' by Brad Tyer

Nov 17, 2016
Beacon Press

Brad Tyer: Sacrificial Landscapes

I stare in wonder at a handful of bright turquoise bones gathered behind the CVS in downtown Butte. I came here to see them for myself, as I was told these bones have been dyed from copper sulfate leaching from the soil. I guess I didn’t believe our situation was that bad, but now I see. Up the hill from where I stand, massive gallows frames poke their heads from behind brick buildings; to my right, the East Ridge is exposed in a stepped face leading down an open pit mine. In my hands and surrounding me on all sides are the effects of my hometown’s mining past.