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Date:  March 17, 2008
Contact:  Marilyn Krause  (406) 533-7617   

BLM Seeking Public Comments On Mine Tailings Proposal 

The Bureau of Land Management, Dillon Field Office is evaluating a proposal from Burr Lively to remove mill tailings from the old Rochester Mine site for processing at the Golden Sunlight Mill east of Whitehall. BLM is seeking public comment on the proposal until April 18.

Rochester is located about 10 miles east of Melrose. The proposal includes removing about 14,000 tons of mill tailings and hauling the ore on the Rochester Road and then 1.5 miles south to the Bench Crossing Road (between Twin Bridges and Melrose). From Twin Bridges the ore trucks would use state highways to travel to Whitehall. Some minor improvement is needed on the BLM road that connects Rochester Road to the Bench Road.

If the operation is approved as submitted, tailings removal would begin in late spring and haul trucks would operate five days a week during daylight hours for about three months.

The Rochester Mine tailings were recently included in a draft “Reclamation Investigation and Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis” (EE/CA) document completed by the BLM and the tailings were found to be elevated in arsenic. BLM has not removed the tailings due to high cost of removal and funding availability.

“The current proposal calls for Mr. Lively to remove the tailings, leave the site in an orderly fashion and for BLM to complete the reclamation,” stated Robert Gunderson, BLM geologist. “This would save money for the taxpayer and BLM would not have to haul the tailings to a repository.”

For more information or to submit comments, please contact Robert Gunderson at the Dillon Field Office, phone 683-8000, or email MT_Dillon_FO@blm.gov with Rochester Tailings in the subject line.

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