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Mine Exploration Near Yellowstone Won't Harm Environment, Says Montana DEQ

Emigrant Peak north of Yellowstone, near the area of a proposed Lucky Minerals mine exploration.
Flickr user Sean Wolf (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)
Emigrant Peak, near the area of a proposed Lucky Minerals mine exploration.

State officials say a Canadian company’s proposal to explore for gold and other precious metals near Yellowstone National Park will have no significant environmental impact. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality today released its draft environmental assessment of Lucky Minerals’ plan.

DEQ spokeswoman Kristi Ponozzo says the state based its draft EA on several factors:

"We looked at water quality, geothermal impacts, noise impacts, land use, recreation and cultural impacts. We looked at all of those," Ponozzo says.

Lucky Minerals wants to take core samples from up to 46 drill holes on private land about 12 miles southeast of Emigrant. The company wants to assess the area’s copper, gold, silver and molybdenum deposits.

DEQ says it now wants to hear from the public. The agency is accepting public comment on the proposed exploration license through December 12.

Some environmental groups and local businesses oppose the project. They say the work and a possible future mine threatens the environment and local economy.

Lucky Minerals says the work can be done responsibly and safely.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at edward.obrien@umt.edu.
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