State Approves Black Butte Copper Mine

by | Jan 14, 2021

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality approved a long-disputed underground copper mine in central Meagher County. The mine is a joint project of Canada-based Tintina Resources and Australian mining firm Sandfire, and will be located near a waterway called Sheep Creek, about 20 miles upstream of the creek’s confluence with the Smith River. The DEQ termed the plan “the most protective hard rock mining permit this agency has ever signed,” but “conservationists concerned about the effects the mine could have on the Smith River, a blue-ribbon trout fishery and popular floating destination, say the decision doesn’t go far enough,” reported The Montana Free Press. Status: Approved April 9, 2020

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Amy Westervelt is the editor-in-chief of Drilled News, creator and host of the Drilled podcast, and founder of the Critical Frequency podcast network, named AdWeek's Podcast Network of the Year in 2019. An award-winning print and audio journalist, Amy has contributed to The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, as well as KQED, The California Report, Capital Public Radio, and many other outlets. She is the 2015 winner of the Rachel Carson award for "women greening journalism," and a 2016 winner of an Edward R. Murrow award for her series on the impacts of the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada. In 2019, the Drilled podcast won the Online News Association's "Excellence in Audio Storytelling" award.

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Emily J. Gertz is senior editor of Drilled News. A longtime environmental reporter and editor, her work has appeared in HuffPost, Reveal, Arctic Today, The Guardian, Popular Science, Scientific American, Sierra, and more.