Information Center

Information Type FAQs

What Impact Will A Mine Have On The Community?

Black Butte Copper’s Hard Rock Mining Impact Plan projects that at the peak production phase, Meagher County is projected to have 258 people move in, with 232 of them residing in the City of White Sulphur Springs. This includes 25 Elementary K-8 students and 10 High School students during the production phase which tapers off to four Elementary K-8 students and two High School students near the end of the project. The added mineral development taxable value is projected to be $8,235,000 at peak copper production.

What type of wages will be paid?

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 $71,000 per year including benefits. More highly skilled positions could expect compensation packages commensurate with industry standards for Montana and surrounding region.

How many jobs will the Black Butte Copper Project provide?

The construction of Black Butte Copper will bring significant economic benefit for Meagher County and surrounding areas from . The construction of the mine will last 24 months and need approximately 200-400 contracted positions . When the mine opens, the operation will employ approximately 240 full time jobs and 50 full time contractors. Job types will range from underground miners to truck drivers, electricians, mechanics, business and accounting service staff, clerical support staff, human resources staff, management personnel and related occupations such as engineers, geologists, environmental scientists, hydrologists, surveyors, maintenance personnel and other technical support positions.

Why else is copper important?

Copper is making possible a more sustainable future through green energy. Windmills and solar systems require major amounts of copper as do electric cars. There are also many industrial uses of copper due to its high ductility, malleability, thermal conductivity, and resistance to corrosion. It ranks third after iron and aluminum in the quantities consumed for industrial purposes. Copper is the main component of coins for most countries. Everyday uses of copper include electrical conductivity, doorknobs, household fixtures, frying pans, and even knives, forks, and spoons. Copper is shown to kill bacteria and is being used in hospitals and to fight viruses.

Vacuum tubes, cathode ray tubes and the magnetrons in microwave ovens use copper, as do wave guides for microwave radiation. Wire mesh, woven of commercially pure copper, is used in hundreds of applications ranging from antenna found on planes to RFI shielding.

Do we need copper to stay healthy?

Copper is an essential nutrient to all higher plants and animal life. In animals and humans, it is present in tissues, liver, muscle, and bone. The main function of copper in the body is to act as a co-factor in various enzymes and copper-based pigments. In fact, due to its reported healing powers, copper has been used extensively in devices known as “Bio-Circuits”. Many metallic elements (copper, zinc, etc.) are actually needed to sustain life, thus we take multivitamins and mineral supplements.

Do Cell Phones And Computers Use Copper?

Yes, integrated circuits, as well as printed circuit boards increasingly utilize copper as a replacement for aluminum because of its superior electrical conductivity. Copper is also used as a material in the manufacture of computer heat sinks, due to its superior heat dissipation capacity compared to aluminum.

Is copper important for producing renewable energy?

Yes, copper is an important component of solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, and electric vehicles. Copper is the highest rated thermal and electrical conductor among engineering metals; all kinds of power systems utilize copper to generate and transmit energy with maximum efficiency and minimum environmental impact. A wind turbine contains 3-4 tons of copper. Electric vehicles can use up to 5-6 times the amount of copper as a conventional car. Copper is also easily recycled and can be reused over and again. Copper is and will remain an important factor in the future of renewable energy development.

Is copper important for producing electricity?

Yes, about 65% of copper is used in electrical applications such as power generation and transmission of electricity, transformers, motors, bush bars, generators, etc. Copper is used to provide electricity throughout the country and world safely and efficiently. In the case of electrical equipment, it is used in wiring and contacts for PC, TV, mobile phones and circuitry. It is also a vital input for building wind generators and in hybrid/electric cars.

Where will the copper go after you bring it out of the mine?

Once copper mining is underway, the material must pass through a milling process where the rock is ground into the consistency of fine flour (38 microns) and about 12% of it, which is the ore mineral, chalcopyrite, is ‘floated’ away from the rest through a process called flotation. This material creates a 24% copper concentrate which will be trucked (between 15-18 trucks/day) in sealed containers to a rail head. Rail transportation will carry the sealed containers to a smelter or port, where the concentrated is transferred from the container and containers will return to the mine site. The copper concentrate could be shipped overseas to a copper smelter and refined into copper metal as there is little smelter capacity left in North America. We will determine which railhead would be used during our upcoming feasibility study with the most likely candidates being Livingston or Townsend.

How did the Johnny Lee deposit form?

The 1.4-billion-year-old deposit formed on the seafloor around hot springs system similar to the “black smoker” type known on today’s ocean floors. In the ancient sea bottom hot springs at Black Butte, hot water with high concentrations of dissolved metals and sulfur vented onto the seafloor and encountered very cold seawater. The change in temperature and chemistry caused the metallic elements including copper to bond with other elements including sulfur and precipitate onto the seafloor as metal-bearing sulfide minerals. The precipitated minerals built up into sheet-like layers later buried under thousands of feet of sediment. After formation of the Rocky Mountains, erosion exposed the deposits near the earth’s surface so that they can be mined.