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Jan 16, 2013


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Chris Saeger
Director's Office


DEQ Authorizes Black Butte Copper Exploration Project


Helena, Mont. – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality today authorized Tintina Alaska Exploration, Inc. to begin an exploration for the Black Butte Copper Project, located about 15 miles north of White Sulphur Springs, Mont.

Comments from the public largely formed the basis for DEQ’s final mitigated Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA stipulates that any potential exploration include stronger protections for water quality and streamflows in nearby water bodies.

After the Draft EA was made available to the public in July of 2013, DEQ held a public meeting and received substantial comment from various organizations and individuals.

“We took great care to respond to the public’s input on this proposal,” said DEQ Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “A lot of what we heard during the public comment process led to further protections for the land and water near the proposed exploration site.”

This permit is for exploration only; it is not a permit to develop a mine. Today’s EA only authorizes Tintina, based in Vancouver B.C., to construct an exploration decline into the Johnny Lee copper-cobalt-silver deposit zones at the Black Butte Copper Project. The proposed surface disturbance would be 46.5 acres, all on private land.

In the event the company ultimately applies for an operating permit for an underground mine, DEQ will prepare an environmental impact statement in conjunction with taking state action on the operating permit application.

The exploration decline would be used as access for an underground development drilling program to provide a more thorough understanding of the geometry and grade of the copper. The decline will also provide a 10,000 ton bulk sample for metallurgical testing, as well as for other technical investigations in support of potential future mine planning and to minimize water quality and quantity impacts.

Copies of the Final EA can be obtained on this DEQ web page:; by writing DEQ, by calling Kristi Ponozzo at 406-444-2813; or by sending an email addressed to

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