The greening of the global energy economy promises increasing demand for copper and a robust economic future for Black Butte Copper. The U.S. Government Accountability Office notes that copper is one of the minerals that “plays an important role in the U.S. economy, contributing to multiple industries, including transportation, defense, aerospace, electronics, energy, agriculture, construction, and health care.” Copper will play an essential role within President Biden’s plans for renewable energy and net-zero emissions.
To meet this demand, BBC works diligently with our community, building a model for Montanans to prosper during mine operations and after reclamation for generations to come. Our plan utilizes Montana expertise, modern mining techniques, and international specialists earning us the support of the majority of Montanans. Here’s how:
Our permit contains input from an all-Montana independent third-party expert team, including hydrologists, metallurgists, geo-chemists, geologists, engineers, biologists, botanist, archaeologists and reclamation specialists.
All mine water used in our mine facilities and processes will be recycled and reused resulting in the entire mine site being a “zero-discharge” facility.
Underground water bypassing beneficial use will be returned to the groundwater system at 3.5 times better than drinking water standards by a treatment called dual-phase reverse osmosis.
To ensure historic Sheep Creek flows during operation, mitigation surface water is leased from irrigators for in-stream flow, thus protecting Sheep Creek and the Smith River some 19 stream miles away.
Tailings, the finely ground rock left after copper is removed, are filtered and dewatered before cement is added with approximately half of the cemented tails placed back underground and the remainder deposited in a double-lined cemented tailings facility (CTF).
Our robust CTF model is arguably the best-known approach for managing tailings worldwide resulting in a state-of-the-art “zero-failure” facility. Industry leaders, including the United Nations Dam Commission, recognize the benefits of zero-failure designs and request an industry-wide movement to this approach.
Once we have finished mining, we will reclaim all of the mine site, returning it to its current ranchland use. As a reclamation safeguard, we will be fully bonded as required by Montana law.
When in production, BBC will employ a workforce of approximately 235 at an average wage of $70,000, plus benefits. To protect the community, Montana’s Hard Rock Mining Impact Act requires pre-mitigation of social and economic impacts of mining to the community. Future tax allocations will also greatly benefit Meagher Co., White Sulphur Springs, School District 8 and the state of Montana.
Creating a plan past mine life that benefits our community is a BBC priority. We’ve worked diligently with diverse community leaders and regional stakeholders who both support and oppose the project to create the Meagher County Stewardship Council (MCSC) as a mine oversight organization. The MCSC operates independently, ensuring we are held accountable.
Open door policy
We welcome visitors and encourage the public to ask hard questions. Please feel free to stop by the office in White Sulphur Springs or visit our website at blackbuttecopper.com.
Rob Scargill is CEO of Sandfire Resources America Inc.