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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Apr 01, 2013

 

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Kristi Ponozzo
Director's Office
406-444-2813

 

DEQ Holding Meeting to Gather Public Comment on Golden Sunlight Mine Amendment

 

HELENA - The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold a scoping meeting to accept comments from the public on a proposed amendment to Golden Sunlight Mine’s operating permit to allow the company to expand its current mining operation located near Whitehall, Mont. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 10 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Whitehall Community Center, 14 E. Legion Ave.

DEQ is planning to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will discuss the potential impacts of the proposed amendment. The purpose of the scoping process is to identify possible environmental issues that the state should address in the environmental review. At the scoping meeting, DEQ staff will explain the environmental review process and take comments. The public scoping period will begin Thursday, April 4, 2013 and end Monday, May 6, 2013.

Scoping comments must be received by Monday, May 6, 2013. Written comments should be submitted to Kristi Ponozzo; DEQ Director’s Office, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620-0901, or by email to kponozzo@mt.gov. Golden Sunlight’s amendment application has been posted on DEQ’s website at www.deq.mt.gov.

The DEQ will make reasonable accommodations for persons with a disability that may interfere with their ability to participate in the scoping meetings or public comment process. Accommodations can be arranged by contacting Kristi Ponozzo at 406-444-2813 or kponozzo@mt.gov.

Summary of the Proposed Golden Sunlight Mines Amendment

Golden Sunlight Mines, Inc. is proposing to expand its current mining operation with the addition of one new pit called the North Area Pit, and an expansion to the existing Mineral Hill Pit known as the South Area Layback. The company anticipates mining approximately 4.2 million tons of gold ore, which will be processed at the existing mill facility, generating up to 52.6 million tons of waste rock. Mining would use conventional open pit methods including drilling, blasting, loading, and hauling. All proposed facilities are located on private land owned by Golden Sunlight.

The proposed North Area Pit would extend below the natural water table so dewatering would be necessary. During mining operations, water would be used in the milling process and would offset fresh water usage. After mining is completed, captured water would be pumped to a water treatment plant consistent with existing permit requirements. The proposed South Area Layback would be free draining into the Mineral Hill Pit so dewatering would not be necessary.

Waste rock generated from the proposed expansion would be placed in the proposed East Waste Rock Dump Complex Expansion Rock Disposal Area.

Proposed mining activity at the North Area Pit and South Area Layback would be completed in late 2016 or early 2017. The proposed amendment would extend the mine life by approximately 2 years and would provide for an additional 2 years of processing off-site ore, mostly derived from legacy mining materials located within southwest Montana.

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