Sandfire Resources subsidiary Tintina Resources has received a draft operating permit for the Black Butte copper project in Montana, USA, another key step that brings it closer to development.
The draft operating permit was granted by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MT DEQ) Hard Rock Mining Bureau and formally completes the ‘Completeness and Compliance’ review. It comes after the MT DEQ deemed the project’s mine operating permit (MOP) ‘Complete and Compliant’ in July.
The permit also marks the beginning of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – the final stage of permitting.
The MT DEQ informed Tintina that the project is now considered ‘Complete and Compliant’ under all state rules and regulations related to the operating plant for the proposed underground mine and surface processing facilities.
The EIS is expected to be completed in one year and once completed, will result in a final record of decision (ROD), allowing construction to commence.
The Montana Public Service Commission has also approved an agreement between Fergus Electric Cooperative and NorthWestern Energy to provide power to the project. Fergus Electric will build a new 100kV transmission line and substation which will draw from the existing NorthWestern transmission facility.
Sandfire managing director and CEO Karl Simich and receiving the draft operating permit was another major milestone toward the development of the copper project.
“We are very pleased to have achieved this milestone, which marks the culmination of a vast amount of work and effort by the Tintina team,” he said. “We are looking forward to the start of the EIS process, during which we will continue to engage with the community to demonstrate our commitment to environmental stewardship, which remains at the heart of everything we do.
“The studies we have completed show clearly that this project can operate in a way that protects the environment, while at the same time providing significant economic opportunities. “