The Montanore Mine near the Cabinet Mountains wilderness area has a new owner, but no change in plans to develop the mine . . .
The Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-based company that purchased its second major mine project in Northwest Montana within a year has vowed to continue exploration development of both the Rock Creek and Montanore mines.
Supporters of the proposed copper and silver mines say the development of either would be a boon to the struggling local economy, which has one of the highest jobless rates in the state. But environmental groups worry about the impacts the mines will have on the wilderness above, saying the projects could dewater mountain streams for centuries.
On May 24, Hecla Mining Company announced it was acquiring Spokane-based Mines Management, which has been trying to permit the Montanore Mine south of Libby for more than a decade. In the proposed deal, Mines Management shareholders will be paid in Hecla stock.
The bell sounds for the next round of the fight over the Montanore Mine . . .
Environmentalists are challenging U.S. Forest Service approval of a $500 million copper and silver mine in northwest Montana, citing concerns from state officials that it could drain surrounding waterways and potentially harm a species of trout protected under federal law.
The lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Missoula challenges the Montanore Mine south of Libby near the Idaho border. Sponsor Mines Management Inc. of Spokane, Washington, has been seeking a mining permit since 2004.
But three groups said in Friday’s lawsuit that the government’s authorization for Montanore ignored studies of the mine’s environmental effects. Those government-sponsored studies concluded the mine potentially could drain groundwater supplies that feed into creeks and a river in the pristine area, an effect that could linger for centuries.
As expected, the proposed Montanore mine near the edge of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness received only partial approval from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality . . .
Montana environmental regulators granted conditional approval Friday to a long-stalled silver and copper mine proposed beneath a federal wilderness area, saying the developer must show before mining can proceed that the $500 million project won’t drain overlying creeks.
Department of Environmental Quality Director Tom Livers said the agency was approving an air quality permit and a transmission line that would connect to the Montanore mine. Yet that leaves its operating permit still in question, drawing a backlash from Republicans in the state’s Congressional delegation who urged full approval.
Developer Mines Management, Inc. pledged to move forward despite the state’s concerns over water supplies in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.