Underground Gold Mining Proposed Near Butte - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Underground Gold Mining Proposed Near Butte

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BUTTE -

Mining may soon be coming back to Butte.

At a meeting hosted by the Department of Environmental Quality, the public was able to voice their opinions about the proposed plan to start mining gold in the Highland Mountains.

"The application is for an underground gold mine in the Highlands," said Herb Rolfes with the Montana D.E.Q. "This application would allow them to drive in and add a tunnel to access the ore body."

The proposal to mine in the highlands was submitted to the D.E.Q. by the Butte Highlands Joint Venture.

The D.E.Q. then completed a Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The public gave their opinion about the draft, which was overwhelmingly positive.

"We believe, as the Montana Mining Association, that resources can be developed, it can be done right, and we certainly the imposition of reasonable, environmental conditions on mining operations in this state."

As part of the D.E.Q.'s draft, there are multiple proposed haul routes to carry the ore from the mine.

One of those routes includes the use of Roosevelt Road.

"Roosevelt Drive, there is quite a few neighbors up there and it's pretty quiet," said Butte Representative, Ryan Lynch. "That's a reason why most of those folks moved up to that area."

"It really wouldn't be very feasible for anyone who lives up there," said Rick Estabrook. "It's going to mean delays. It's going to mean safety issues and I'm opposed to them using that as a haul route."

The Forest Service will ultimately decide what the haul route will be since all the options run through their land.

The mining will last at least five years.

Prior to mining, the Butte Highlands Joint Venture will have to post a reclamation bond.

Other proposed haul routes include using Highland Road and the roads near the Feeley exit.

If the mining is approved, it could bring up to 50 jobs to the area.

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