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DEQ seeks public comments on Montana Resources tailings pond expansion

Posted at 12:10 PM, Sep 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-22 13:57:04-04

Story by John Emeigh

BUTTE, Mont. – Montana Resources plans to extend the tailings pond where it disposes its mining waste near Butte. Before the Butte mine gets full approval, the Department of Environmental Quality is seeking comments from the public about the impact of this expansion.

“Under the Montana Metal Mines Reclamation Act, we have one year to complete an environmental impact statement from the time we called the application complete and compliant,” said Kristi Ponozzo with the DEQ.

Montana Resources wants to raise the tailings pond, which is just northeast of Butte, about 75 feet, so it can continue to take in mine waste until 2040. The DEQ must complete an environmental impact study before the permit is approved.

“We’re going to be looking at water quality impacts, air quality impacts, potential wildlife impacts, vegetation, socio-economic impacts,” Ponozzo said.

The public is invited to address concerns and comments to the DEQ on this matter until Oct. 15.

“They can come to our public meeting and submit comments verbally, they can submit them in writing, they can email them to us,” she said.

Contact information can be found at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality website. It could take a year before the impact study is complete.

The public meeting will be held in Butte on Oct. 4, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Copper King Hotel.