It’s been a little over two months since Tintina Resources submitted an application to Montana DEQ to open a copper mine near the headwaters of the Smith River.
The mining permit application contains all the technical data from tests and studies Tintina has performed in support of its effort to open a new copper mine. The Montana DEQ has 90 days, from the time of application filing, to review the application and its hundreds of pages of technical information. The 90-day timeframe is far too short a period for DEQ to thoroughly review the application because of data complexity and the breadth of information that must be considered.
For this reason Upper Missouri Waterkeeper partnered with American Rivers in hiring expert scientists to review the mining plan and potential impacts to geochemistry, water quality and quantity, and fisheries. We submitted those technical comments on February 23, 2016, in a good faith effort to both assist in a thorough review by DEQ and to ensure critical, missing data and science is identified and required before the permit process moves any farther forward.
[highlight] Click here to read our February 23, 2016 Letter to DEQ Concerning Technical Completeness Review of the Black Butte Copper Project. [/highlight]
By mid-March DEQ has to make an initial decision as to the “completeness” of Tintina’s mining application. We believe that DEQ’s review, bolstered by expert science we’ve provided, makes a compelling factual case for requiring significant further data on the mine and its operations, and are watching to ensure DEQ makes a decision supported by the record.