Court Order Allows Black Butte Construction to Continue

A U.S. District Court has issued an order on remedies that will allow Phase I construction of Sandfire Resources America Inc.’s Black Butte Copper Project in Montana to be completed under the existing permit.

The order on remedies is in regard to the April 8 ruling in a lawsuit against the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (Montana DEQ) and Tintina Montana Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, filed on June 4, 2020, challenging the Black Butte Copper Project. The ruling found that the Montana DEQ violated aspects of the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) and the Montana Metal Mine Reclamation Act (MMRA) in its granting of a mine operating permit for the Black Butte Copper Project. On July 1, 2022, plaintiffs and defendants filed a joint motion recommending a stipulated order for remedies.

By granting the stipulated motion, the judge’s order will allow Tintina Montana to complete Phase I construction under the existing permit while it pursues an appeal of the order on April 8.

“Although we continue to strongly disagree with the court’s initial April 8 order, we are pleased with Judge Bidegaray’s decision today to allow us to continue with its development of the Black Butte Copper Project,” Senior Vice President Jerry Zieg said. “Sandfire America maintains that our Black Butte Copper Project is the best and most environmentally sound mining project ever proposed in Montana and that DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) properly permitted all phases of the project.”

The company said it is also concurrently working on strategies to complete additional test work, analysis, and reporting for additional authorizations from Montana DEQ with the objective of moving the project past Phase 1 of the permit.

As featured in Womp 2022 Vol 08 -