Proposed mine near Smith River granted next stepSource: NBC Montana
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MISSOULA, Mont. – A proposed mine near Montana’s Smith River will go to the next step of the permitting process.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality granted Tintina Resources, Inc., a notification saying its permit is complete and compliant in accordance with all state rules and regulations.
The next step for the Black Butte Copper Mine Operating Permit is to develop a comprehensive Environmental Impact Study. That needs to be done by a third party, which has not yet been selected.
The company said in a press release that should be finalized within the next 30 days.
The EIS process will then take about 12 months and will include public input through a public comment process. It will also take a close look at project alternatives.
A Federal Clean Water Act 404 permit is also currently in process for the Black Butte Copper Mine.
The mine would be located on private land one mile away from Sheep Creek, which is a tributary to the Smith River.
The Smith River runs through Meagher County and is known to many people as a secret gem. It’s the only river in Montana where people have to get a permit to float.
According to Tintina, the project would bring around 200 jobs to the White Sulphur Springs community and encourage growth.
Tintina told NBC Montana the copper concentrate is very high in the location. It’s 10 times the quality that is being mined in Butte today.
Other campaigns, such as Save our Smith, are against the project. They said it’s a risk for water pollution and reduced stream flows to the Smith River.