Mine Application Deemed Complete and Environmental Review to Begin
HELENA – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has notified Tintina Montana that its latest permit application for the Black Butte Copper Project is complete and compliant. This determination means that DEQ has reviewed the metal mines application and, as required by law, has determined the revised permit application complies with the Montana Metal Mine Reclamation Act.
DEQ is now working on a more detailed compliance document and a draft permit, expected to be completed early next month. The compliance document will lay out how the mining operation proposed in Tintina’s application complies with the Metal Mine Reclamation Act.
“This is a significant step in the process, but we still have many steps in our review of this application,” said Director Tom Livers. Livers explained that the department is working towards starting review of the application under the Montana Environmental Policy Act. Tintina Montana will need to obtain several other permits from DEQ including air and water quality permits. The project will also need to be reviewed and approved by: the Hard Rock Mining Impact Board; the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation for any water rights related issues; and the Impoundment Review Panel and Engineer of Record.
Under current law, DEQ has one year from the issuance of the more detailed compliance document to complete an Environmental Impact Statement. DEQ has been working on hiring a contractor who will assist in the preparation of the EIS and anticipates being able to start the EIS process next month.
“Completing an EIS of this complexity will be challenging, so we are doing everything we can to move forward quickly to allow us as much time as possible,” said Livers.
The EIS is an extensive environmental review that discloses the potential impacts of the project and includes several opportunities for public review and involvement.
Tintina Montana originally submitted its application for a mining permit in December 2015. DEQ responded to the application in March 2016, outlining the need for complete information on geochemical aspects and hydrology. Tintina provided follow-up information in September 2016 and DEQ issued a second deficiency response letter in December 2016. Tintina responded this May and DEQ issued a third deficiency letter with a response from Tintina in July. These responses provided DEQ complete information related to their geochemical testing and hydrologic modeling.
The letter is posted to the DEQ’s website at: http://deq.mt.gov/Land/hardrock/tintinamines
For questions or to arrange an interview, please contact Kristi Ponozzo, Public Policy Director, Department of Environmental Quality, 406-444-2813 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org