Typically, the additional tax revenues generated by a mine result in infrastructure upgrades that provide benefits to the community long after the mine closes. We also hope that citizens will use the increased prosperity they’ve enjoyed during the mining period to develop new opportunities for themselves.
Information Type FAQs
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) establishes the bond amount. Over many years, the DEQ has gained a clear understanding of the costs required to close a mine. They calculate the bond amount based on 3rd party reclamation for the property and costs and they require Sandfire to post the full amount before it can begin mine construction.
The State of Montana will require Sandfire to pay for a bond that covers the complete cost of reclamation before the mine can begin operation. This bonding level is reviewed every 5 years.
Sandfire will carry out and pay for all reclamation activities during operations and following mine closure as required by law. As a safety net for the citizens of Montana, if for some unforeseen reason this cannot happen, the State of Montana requires mining companies to provide adequate reclamation bonding.
Sandfire will return all lands back to historic ranch use- primarily cattle grazing. The mill and portal area, and all roadways will be reclaimed with all buildings and facilities removed, and the plant site is taken down. The cemented tailings facility is sealed with a 100 mil liner and covered with 4 ft. of dirt, then top soil and grass. Underground will have the mined areas filled with cemented paste backfill and water tables will return to pre-mining levels.
Currently, Sandfire America has 21 employees, several contractors and many businesses working on the project, investing over $5 million in Montana during the 2017/2018 fiscal year (July 1 through June 30).
Sandfire has spent approximately $35 million to date, and we expect that $20 million or more will be required to be spent in order to obtain a mine operating permit. The Pre Economic Assessment (PEA) estimates that mine construction will cost about $218 million. A great deal of this investment will benefit the White Sulphur Springs community and the surrounding area.
Montana is unique in that we are the only state that has a Hard Rock Mining Impact Act. The purpose of the act is to ensure that local government services, facilities, social and infrastructure needs will be addressed and available when and where they are needed as a result of new large-scale hard rock mineral developments. This act allows tax moneys to be paid upfront to mitigate any impacts associated with a mine. This agreement is then presented to local officials and the Hard Rock Mining Impact Board.
The Montana Business Assistance Connection has projected that mine development will require 112 housing units in the community and predicts that approximately 31 additional school-aged children will attend school in Meagher County during operational stage. The countywide taxable value is projected to increase upwards of $20 million dollars. Currently, countywide taxable value is $7,888,020 (TY 2012-2013). MBAC also projects annual retail sales increasing by $3.4 million during the life of the mine.
Compensation will be based on skill level, experience training and education. Labor positions will begin around $15/hr. for entry level and $29/hr. for experienced miners and include benefit packages for health insurance, sick leave, vacation leave and some form of retirement package. The average wage of workers will be approximately $65,000 per year including benefits. More highly skilled positions could expect compensation packages commensurate with industry standards for Montana and surrounding region.