Date: November 2, 2007
Contact: Marilyn Krause (406) 533-7617
BLM Releases Record of Decision for Golden Sunlight Mine
The Butte Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released its record of decision (ROD) on amending the reclamation plan of the open pit gold mine operated by Golden Sunlight Mines, Inc., near Whitehall, Montana.
BLM has selected the Underground Sump Alternative with specific stipulations. Under this alternative, the pit will not be backfilled. Existing underground mine workings will be used to collect impacted water for treatment. Portions of the highwall will be reshaped and revegetated to reduce visual impacts. Alternatives requiring partial pit backfill were not selected because they are believed to present an unacceptable risk to water resources.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and BLM released the final supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) on July 27, 2007. DEQ issued their ROD in August.
The final SEIS used a modified partial pit backfill plan as the initial proposed action, which would have required Golden Sunlight to place waste rock back into the pit to establish a free-draining surface. The remaining highwalls would then have been blasted to create a steep slope. The back-filled pit would have been covered with soil and revegetated. The final SEIS also evaluated three alternatives to the proposed action. These are the No Pit Pond Alternative, the Partial Pit Backfill with Downgradient Collection Alternative, and the Underground Sump Alternative.
The ROD has been mailed to persons on the project mailing list. It is also available on the DEQ website at www.deq.mt.gov and at BLM’s web site www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/fo/butte_field_office.html. Requests for copies should be sent to Greg Hallsten, Director’s Office, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, PO Box 200901, Helena MT 59620-0901, (406) 444-3276, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.