Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Montana Issues Permit For Black Butte Copper Mine Project

The State of Montana this week greenlit the first phase of construction of an underground copper mine in the central part of the state.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality on Aug. 14 issued Tintina Montana, Inc. a permit to begin surface preparation for the proposed 311 acre Black Butte Copper Mine north of White Sulphur Springs.

DEQ spokesperson Rebecca Harbage says the permit allows the company to get started in the area.

"It doesn’t involve drilling into the ground. It’s preparation of the surface area itself," Harbage said.

DEQ issued the permit after Tintina posted a $4.6 million bond to cover the reclamation costs for the first phase.

Tintina, a subsidiary of Australian mining company Sandfire Resources, would need to post an additional bond before it receives a permit to actually start mining, the DEQ said.

The proposed underground mine is on private land. Plans call for extracting 15.3 million tons of copper laden rock and waste over 15 years, or about 440 tons a day.

Montana Trout Unlimited, which advocates for clean water, and other groups filed a lawsuit in June alleging state officials did not thoroughly study the mine's potential to harm the environment. The groups claim it would pollute a tributary of the Smith River, one of the state’s most popular recreational rivers.

Copyright 2020 Yellowstone Public Radio

Kayla Desroches reports for Yellowstone Public Radio in Billings. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and stayed in the city for college, where she hosted a radio show that featured serialized dramas like the Shadow and Suspense. In her pathway to full employment, she interned at WNYC in New York City and KTOO in Juneau, Alaska. She then spent a few years on the island of Kodiak, Alaska, where she transitioned from reporter to news director before moving to Montana.
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information
Related Content