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'Good Neighbor Agreement' To Survive Stillwater Sale, Conservation Group Says

A Montana conservation group says it expects a special environmental protection agreement it signed with Stillwater Mining to remain in effect after the sale of the company, which was finalized today.

In 2000, previous company owners signed a "good neighbor agreement" with Billings-based Northern Plains Resource Council. The agreement lays out specific environmental protections beyond what government regulations require.

Jerry Iverson of Big Timber chairs the Resource Council's good neighbor task force.

"I don't anticipate a need to change the agreement," Iverson says. "I think it's pretty established the terms of the agreement will be met."

Iverson will be meeting with representatives of the South African company Sibanye Gold in Columbus Monday. Sibanye is buying Stillwater mining for $2.2 billion, pending approval of shareholders and the U.S. government.

Stillwater is the only U.S. producer of the precious metals platinum and palladium. It employs more than 1,400 people at two mines in the Beartooth Mountains and at a smelter and refinery in Columbus.

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