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Montana News

DEQ Approves Permit For Gold Mine Near Butte

Courtesy Timberline Resources

Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit for an underground gold mine south of Butte Monday.

The permitting process for the Butte Highlands Mine started in 2010, and Timberline Resources, the Idaho-based company behind it has already been exploring on the privately owned site.

Kristi Ponozzo with Montana DEQ says the mining permit "includes modifications to the proposed action...for mining. Under that alternative we are requiring additional water quality monitoring."

DEQ is requiring eight more monitoring wells than Timberline Resources proposed, to track both water quality and whether the mine reduces groundwater affecting several nearby creeks.

The permit allows Timberline to start mining, but the company can’t start hauling ore from the mine until it gets a road permit from the U.S. Forest Service. A company press release says it expects an environmental Assessment from the agency on its road proposal by March 18, and that it expects a decision from the Forest Service by May 11.

Timberline says it doesn’t anticipate more than 75 people working at the mine.