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Proposed Tailings Impoundment Expansion Won't Impact Butte Groundwater, Montana DEQ Says

State officials say a proposed expansion to Montana Resources’ tailings impoundment in Butte next to its active copper mine there won’t impact groundwater.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality released its draft environmental impact statement today for a permit that would allow the Yankee Doodle Tailings Impoundment to grow in height by about 50 feet. That impoundment sits uphill from the Berkeley Pit, and holds a sludge of mine waste produced at Montana Resources’ working mine nearby.

The expansion allows the tailings impoundment to up its capacity, and keep up with the mining. The impact statement also addresses other possible environmental outcomes from the expansion, from geology to wildlife to vegetation.

Montana Resources applied for the permit in 2017, and the environmental analysis involved a public comment period and meeting in Butte in the fall of last year.

A public meeting on the environmental impact statement will be held at the Clarion Inn Copper King in Butte on the evening of April 10.

Today’s release also opened a public comment period on the statement, which ends April 22.

You can comment via email at:

Written comments may be submitted at the public meeting or by mail at Craig Jones, Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 200901 Helena, MT 59601

Nick Mott is a reporter and podcast producer based in Livingston, Montana.
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