Montana Silver, Copper Mine Clears Key Hurdle; Lawsuit Looms

Montanore mine clears major hurdle with completion of environmental study

By MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press

BILLINGS — A proposed silver and copper mine beneath northwestern Montana’s Cabinet Mountains Wilderness has cleared a major hurdle with the completion of an environmental study in the works for a decade.

Craig Jones with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality said Tuesday that a final decision on the Montanore mine near the Idaho border could come by late January.

Mines Management, Inc. of Spokane, Washington is proposing to remove up to 120 million tons of ore from the site south of Libby, Montana. It would disturb more than 1,500 acres of land.

Environmental groups are strongly opposed. They sued the federal government in June over concerns that mining would harm threatened grizzly bears and bull trout.

Approval is needed from the state and the U.S. Forest Service.

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