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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jun 13, 2012

 

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Kristi Ponozzo
Director's Office
406-444-2813

 

Agencies Complete Final Analysis for the Stillwater and East Boulder Mine Plan Amendments

 

HELENA - The Montana Department of Environmental Quality ( DEQ), the Custer National Forest, and the Gallatin National Forest have completed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Stillwater Mining Company’s Revised Water Management Plans and Boe Ranch LAD (Land Application Disposal system). The Stillwater Mine and the East Boulder Mine are existing platinum group metal underground mines located in the vicinity of Nye, and south of Big Timber, MT, respectively.

These approved amendments to the existing mine permits will specifically identify facilities and actions required to ensure compliance with environmental standards at the time of mine closure and after closure is complete. The agencies wish to remind the public that there are no imminent plans for mine closures for the foreseeable future at either the Stillwater or East Boulder Mines. These amendments to the mine permits are intended to pro-actively identify necessary changes to the existing closure and reclamation plans which will further facilitate timely, cost effective and environmentally benign water management and facility closure.

The Stillwater Mining Company submitted applications in late 2000 to the agencies to amend its operating permits. The company is proposing to develop and implement closure and post-closure water management plans for adit water, tailings impoundments, and storm water for the Stillwater Mine (including the Hertzler LAD facility) and East Boulder Mine. The company also proposes to construct and operate a pipeline and LAD system at Stillwater’s Boe Ranch property, if needed, to dispose of treated adit and tailings waters from the East Boulder Mine during operations and at closure.

Public review and comment was solicited on the Draft EIS, and used in the preparation of the final EIS. This final EIS analyzes SMC’s proposed revisions as well as agency-proposed modifications to the revised water management plans such as: reclamation cover requirements, reclamation cap design, use of biological treatment systems for treatment of undiluted tailings water at closure, and post-closure water routing and channel design.

This final EIS will help inform decision-makers, both DEQ and US Forest Service, regarding environmental consequences pertaining to implementation of revised water management plans, including construction and operation. Nine alternatives (three No Action Alternatives, three Proposed Action Alternatives, and three Agency-Mitigated Alternatives) were analyzed in detail. The Preferred Alternatives are 3A, 3B, and 3C, all Agency Mitigated Alternatives.

The Record of Decision will be issued in July. For more information or to request copies of the final EIS, contact the project coordinators, Kristi Ponozzo, Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT 59601, 406-444-2813, kponozzo@mt.gov or Patrick Pierson, Custer National Forest, 1310 Main Street, Billings, MT 59105, 406-255-1441, ppierson@fs.fed.us. The document will also be posted on the DEQ website at www.deq.mt.gov.

The DEQ will make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities who wish to participate in this process. Please contact Lisa Peterson, DEQ Public Affairs Coordinator, at 406-444-2929, or lpeterson@mt.gov regarding needed accommodations.

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