Montana Public Radio

mining

Lake Koocanusa
Darren Kirby (CC-BY-SA-3) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

British Columbia coal mining company Teck Resources has agreed to pay a $60 million fine for polluting rivers upstream of Lake Koocanusa.

A massive front end loader deposits the first shovels of dirt removed from the Parrot tailings site into a dump truck at the old ball field behind the Civic Center in Butte, June 2018.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

A major mine waste cleanup in central Butte is entering a new phase of tailings removal in February.

Reclamation crews started removing the Mike Horse Dam at the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex east of Lincoln, Mont. in 2014.
Courtesy of Montana Department of Environmental Quality

State and federal officials say a large mining clean-up project in Montana is nearly complete and open for recreation.

At the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex east of Lincoln, crews have removed roughly 1 million cubic yards of tailings and mine waste. The area is the former site of a lead and zinc mine along with the six-and-a-half-story high Mike Horse Dam, which is made of mining waste.

From the wars of the copper kings to the environmental fallout from a century of mining, follow the characters and stories of Butte, Montana to see how historic city is looking to the future. MTPR's Nora Saks details Butte’s past, present and future on Richest Hill.

Listen Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. on Montana Public Radio. Or listen anytime online or wherever you get your podcasts.

Right after talking to a psychic about my own path and Butte’s, I felt comforted. It felt good to let someone else take the wheel for a while, you know? But that comfort turned out to be temporary. Soon, those vague answers about the future only gave birth to more questions. 

It got me wondering, is it really possible for a town that was built on extraction to experience a complete paradigm shift - towards reclamation and renewal? What does moving on from a toxic mess of this magnitude even mean? And what could Butte stand for in a post Superfund world? 

Lake Koocanusa
Darren Kirby (CC-BY-SA-3) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

State environmental regulators Friday approved new standards for a heavy metal in Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River.

Emigrant Peak in Montana's Paradise Valley. The valley is north of Yellowstone Park near the location of two gold mines proposed in 2015.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana's Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that canceled state regulator approval of mining on private land north of Yellowstone National Park.

The unanimous ruling found that state lawmakers violated the state Constitution with a 2011 law that prevented district court judges from blocking projects approved by regulators, even if environmental harms were expected.

Montana Coal Mine Owner Declares Bankruptcy

Dec 4, 2020

The operator of the Decker coal mine in Montana announced bankruptcy and layoffs Dec. 03 due to poor coal market conditions.

Utah based Lighthouse Resources filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the District of Delaware Thursday.

Montana State Senate
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Montana Republicans' dominance on election day included winning a stronger conservative majority in the statehouse for the 2021 legislative session. Republicans appear to have flipped several seats in Montana’s House of Representatives, and at least one seat in the state Senate, making the Republican majority in both chambers ironclad.

The Washoe Smelter Stack in Anaconda, MT.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

The parties in charge of the sprawling 300 square mile Anaconda Smelter Superfund Site Friday lodged a partial legally-binding cleanup deal in federal district court. The public will soon get to weigh-in on the deal. 

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