BUTTE — State officials have suspended the operating permit for an idled mine south of Helena after its owner failed to post sufficient bonds to cover potential reclamation costs.
The Montana Standard reports Montana Tunnels was once a profitable gold, silver, lead and zinc mine. It stopped shoveling ore a decade ago.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality holds almost $20 million in bonds for the mine but says an additional $15 million is needed after cleanup costs were recalculated last year.
The bonds are required in case the operation goes bankrupt and the state has to step in to clean up the site.
Montana Tunnels also owes about $5.5 million in back taxes to Jefferson County.
Owner Patrick Imeson of Black Diamond Financial Group says he hopes to re-open the mine.
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