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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct 11, 2013

 

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Lisa Peterson
Director's Office
406-444-2929

 

DEQ Invites the Public to Comment on Draft EIS for Proposed Butte Highlands Project Mine

 

Helena - The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold a public meeting on Monday, October 21 to accept public comments on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) prepared for an application from Butte Highlands Joint Venture, LLC (BHJV) for an operating permit for the Butte Highlands Project. The Butte Highlands Project is a proposed underground gold mine located 15 miles south of Butte.

The meeting will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Anselmo/Badger Room at the Copper King Convention Center at 4655 Harrison, in Butte, Montana.

The Draft EIS analyzes several mine alternatives and two haul route alternatives. DEQ’s preferred mine alternative is the Agency-Mitigated Alternative. The Agency-Mitigated Alternative expands the groundwater monitoring plan to include more sampling and monitoring points and moves the water treatment facility from within the underground mine to the surface to improve maintenance of the treatment facility and provide flexibility in the type of treatment facility that may be used. DEQ does not have a preferred alternative with regard to the haul routes.

The Draft EIS is not a final decision. The preferred alternative could change in response to public comment on the Draft EIS, new information, or new analysis that might be needed in preparing the Final EIS.

Written comments on the Butte Highlands Project may be submitted to Jeffrey Herrick, DEQ Director’s Office, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620-0901 or electronically to buttehighlandscomments@mt.gov. Comments must be received by November 9, 2013.

The Draft EIS will be posted on DEQ’s website at www.deq.mt.gov. Copies of the Draft EIS may also be obtained by contacting Herb Rolfes, Operating Permit Section Supervisor, DEQ Environmental Management Bureau, PO Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620-0901, (406) 444-3841 or e-mail at hrolfes@mt.gov.

The DEQ will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in the meeting. If you require an accommodation, please contact Lisa Peterson at 406-444-2929 or lpeterson@mt.gov.

Summary of the Proposed Butte Highlands Project

The Butte Highlands Project is located approximately 15 miles south of Butte, Montana, in Silver Bow County. The Project is surrounded by the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest. BHJV is jointly owned (50% each) by Timberline Resources Corporation (TRC) and Montana State Gold Company, LLC.

The Butte Highlands is a historical gold mine. In 2007, TRC acquired the property and began an exploration program. In 2009, TRC received DEQ approval to amend their existing exploration program. TRC and the BHJV developed the Project through additional drilling, technical investigations for mine planning, and metallurgical testing.

BHJV is proposing to expand underground activities from the exploration program to support a small scale underground mine operation. Only a small amount of additional surface disturbance will be required to support the mine operation. The company proposes to use the existing portal to access the ore deposit and the existing exploration development will be used for ventilation and other activities to support mine operations. No milling activities are proposed for the Project area, and BHJV intends to ship ore directly to a custom mill from a loadout facility. No onsite tailings impoundment will be required to support the Project. The mine life is estimated to be approximately five years, and it will likely take one year for underground development before production starts. Additional resources could be identified which could extend the mine life.

Access to the mine will be by existing public and private roads and highways. A Plan of Operations has been submitted to the United States Forest Service (USFS) to use roads managed by that agency. The remaining roads are mainly Silver Bow County or Montana State highways; the proposed haul road to the loadout facility includes a section to be constructed on private property.

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