Tintina Resources Inc. announces that it has received notification from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality that the Black Butte Copper Mine Operating Permit is now considered to be complete and compliant in accordance with all state rules and regulations relating to the operating plan of its proposed underground copper mine in Meagher County, Mont.
The permitting process now moves to the development of a comprehensive environmental impact study (EIS). The selection of an independent and third party EIS contractor and issuance of a draft mine operating permit are in the final stages and the EIS is expected to commence within the next 30 days.
The EIS process, scheduled to take approximately twelve months, will include public input through a public comment process and will be a comprehensive analysis of project alternatives as required under the Montana Environmental Policy Act. In addition, the company is required to obtain other state operating permits including a Montana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, an Air Quality permit and a Public Water Supply permit. The company also will complete a Hard Rock Mining Impact Plan as required by Montana statute. A Federal Clean Water Act 404 permit also is currently in process. Upon completion, the company's goal is that the EIS will result in a Final Record of Decision allowing construction and development of this underground mine on private ranch land in Meagher County.
A summary of the MOP can be found on our website blackbuttecopper.com along with a 3D animation of the planned project showing what the site will look like before and during mining operations as well as after reclamation. The proposed underground mine, located 15 mi. north of White Sulphur Springs, is designed to provide economic opportunity to central Montana while fully protecting the Smith River Watershed:
• All designed openings and entry points to the underground mine are located well above the water table.
• Surface irrigation rights have been leased for instream flow to ensure there is no change to the water levels in Sheep Creek.
• A reverse osmosis water treatment plant will treat water on site from construction through reclamation, and will return clean water back to the same ground water system through a buried infiltration system. The water treatment plant will remain active as long as needed to ensure all water involved in the operation meets Montana's strict non-degradation water standards through reclamation and closure.
• The company's mining plan fills all underground mined areas in the copper deposit with paste backfill ensuring that only a small percentage of the underground mine is open at any given time and that no large open spaces are left underground.
• Mill tailings that are not returned underground (approx. 55%) have cement added to them and will be placed in a double-lined facility. This innovative use of existing mine technology eliminates windblown dust and prevents acid runoff. Any un-milled rock brought to surface will be stored here. During reclamation, the cemented tailings facility will be sealed with another liner, covered with several feet of cover and original top soil and returned to grazing.
• The company's reclamation plan returns the entire site to agricultural and cattle grazing with no treatment of water in perpetuity necessary.
John Shanahan, CEO stated, “This has been a long and involved process, and we now can clearly demonstrate that the development and operation of this state-of-the-art project meets and exceeds all state rules and regulations. Our objective is very clear; to responsibly develop this project and provide both economic opportunity and complete protection of the environment. The ongoing support and vision of our major shareholder, Sandfire Resources, along with the unwavering support of White Sulphur Springs and surrounding communities has made this all possible. We also gratefully thank the Montana DEQ for their thorough and exacting review.”
Jerry Zieg, VP of Exploration closed by stating, “This is a real milestone for Tintina, the Black Butte Copper Project, and the residents of Meagher County and surrounding counties. Everyone has worked diligently for years, both managing and carrying out extensive supporting studies, and communicating their constant and strong support for the project. The Tintina team, both staff and third-party contractors, are leading the world in showing how to build a mine which will exceed regulations at all levels in true comprehensive environmental protection while providing a much-needed economic boon to the state of Montana. All of us can be very proud of this accomplishment.”