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January 4, 2015 | By Jerry Zieg, Vice President - Exploration, Tintina Resources

Learning from the mistakes of the past

A Montanan’s perspective on designing a safe, successful, modern mining operation

The mistakes of the past, which result in the unfortunate legacy issues people know from historic mining areas, reflect the past lack of knowledge and understanding of the long term impacts on water of various discharges. A great many of today’s standard practices weren’t available to our predecessors; they simply didn’t have the scientific research results nor technology now available to us. This lack of knowledge and foresight also resulted in insufficient bonding amounts. Many legacy issues in Montana are related to open pit mines with much larger volumes of rock, huge waste piles and unlined tailings disposal facilities located directly in waterways. They are completely different than our Black Butte Copper Project. 

We are a very small underground mine with available technology and design options to control our water distribution through good management. We have the technology to treat all water and prevent degradation to the waterways and groundwater we’re working in. In addition, all our mine openings are well above the water table and main mine workings, eliminating any opportunity for waters to drain from the mine. We will quickly reclaim any disturbed lands no longer required during the course of operations just as we have done with over 180 exploration drill sites. When mining is completed, all surfaces will return to its historic use, cattle grazing.

As technology and science advance, so do the design of new mines. In the 21st Century, we have discharge standards developed by state and federal legislation to meet; we have bonding requirements that will ensure funding for reclamation regardless of the fate of the company; and in order to receive a permit we have to prove there are no long term effects form our mining operation.

Our underground, small foot print mine will be completely different than any previous operation seen in Montana. Most serious legacy issues are related to open pit mines involving much larger volumes of rock, huge waste piles and giant tailings disposal facilities. The Black Butte Copper Project does not look or operate like these old mines.