DEQ releases draft Environmental Impact Statement for proposed Montana Resources impoundment expansion
HELENA – DEQ has released a draft Environmental Impact Statement on Montana Resources’ request for a mine permit amendment to raise its Yankee Doodle Tailings Impoundment. DEQ is now accepting public comments for 30 days.
Yankee Doodle, located just northeast of Butte, is a pond-like impoundment that holds water and tailings, the waste left over from ore extraction at Montana Resources’ copper and molybdenum mine. As tailings slurry is deposited into the impoundment, water separates and forms a pond at the north of the facility, while the solid tailings settle out and form a dry “beach” area near the embankments. The tailings and water surfaces rise due to mine operations, so Montana Resources is proposing to raise the impoundment’s western embankment to accommodate tailings storage for future mine production.
The project would raise the embankment to the elevation of 6,450 feet and extend the northern boundary of the impoundment and other facilities to support the project. The draft EIS examines potential environmental impacts of Montana Resources’ proposal and will be used as part of the final decision on the requested permit amendment.
Montana Resources applied for the permit amendment on Oct. 6, 2017 under the Metal Mine Reclamation Act. DEQ determined the Montana Resources amendment application was complete and compliant and issued a draft amendment approval on Aug. 31, 2018.
The EIS process began in the fall of 2018 with a public comment period and a public meeting in Butte, where DEQ sought input from the public as well as federal, tribal, state and local governments to help identify potential impacts and possible alternatives to be considered in the EIS.
An open house and public meeting will be held to provide the public with information on the proposed project and to provide an opportunity for the public to submit written and/or oral comments. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 10 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Clarion Inn Copper King, 4655 Harrison Avenue, in Butte. The open house portion of the meeting will be held from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Then, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., the public will have an opportunity to provide oral and/or written testimony on the Draft EIS.
Written comments may be submitted at the public meeting. In addition, comments may be submitted via electronic mail at: DEQMTResourcesMEPA@mt.gov
Or postal mail at: Craig Jones, Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 200901 Helena, MT 59601
The Draft EIS has been posted on DEQ’s website at: deq.mt.gov/Public/eis
Digital copies of the Draft EIS may be requested by contacting Craig Jones at (406) 444-0514.