DEQ Press Releases

Driscoll, Paul

DEQ issues Record of Decision to raise mine tailings impoundment

HELENA – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has issued its Record of Decision and rationale to allow Montana Resources to raise the western embankment of the existing Yankee Doodle Tailings Impoundment, extend its boundary and add other facilities to support the project. The impoundment is north of Butte’s Berkeley Pit in Silver Bow County.


DEQ issued the Final EIS on August 13, 2019, which included responses to comments received on the Draft EIS, and incorporated changes based on those responses. Today’s ROD is a public notice identifying DEQ’s decision, the reasons for the decision and special conditions surrounding the decision and its implementation. Electronic copies of the application may be viewed by visiting the website:


Montana Resources applied to amend its operating permit in October 2017 and DEQ determined the application to be complete and compliant in August 2018. DEQ held a public meeting in Butte and accepted public comment on the Draft EIS.


Based on its own review and public comment received, DEQ developed a preferred alternative in the Final EIS that includes an added stipulation to promote dialogue between Consent Decree parties of the Butte Mine Flooding Operable Unit. That dialogue would focus on alternative post-closure strategies to eliminate water pump-back from the West Embankment Drain. If the Consent Decree parties were to agree, the tailings pond would be more quickly reduced after mining ceases and reclamation could occur sooner.



Other Proposed Actions of the ROD include on-site tailings storage and water containment in the Yankee Doodle Tailings Impoundment, pumping of seepage water along the West Embankment Drain following mine closure, incremental reclamation of tailings surfaces as the pond decreases in volume and construction of a spillway for post-closure water management. The proposed elevation raise to 6,450 feet is supported by an independent engineering design document.



DEQ appreciates the public’s participation in the Montana Resources EIS Project. The ROD has been posted on DEQ's website at: For further information, please contact Craig Jones at: (406) 444-0514

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