Importantly, the project has access to significant local and regional infrastructure, with mine infrastructure including a regional power grid feed, bitumen access roads, access to a bulk, treated water supply and a 1, metre landing strip. Several large commercial wind and solar generation projects are operational in the surrounding area and the mine is located just 48 kilometres from a railway siding at Groveput with an open-access railway line connecting the site to the world-class export port of Saldanha Bay. The current focus is on fast tracking the Prieska Project to production.
Meanwhile, environmental issues were being brought to the forefront as well. Americans were becoming hyperaware of their impact on the Earth. Industries such as logging and mining were now under public scrutiny; what was more important — the jobs and resources created by Copper project industries or the long-term survival of our ecosystems?
Was there a way to find balance between the two? Could an industry such as mining succeed without sacrificing the environment?
Like many Montanans in the area, I had seen the billboards and advertisements in opposition to the Black Butte Copper Project, a copper mine being developed outside of White Sulphur Springs by a company called Tintina Resources.
When Hope Good publisher of Treasure State Lifestyles returned from a trip to White Sulphur Springs, she mentioned that one thing she noticed while exploring the community was that nearly every business in town had a sign up in support of the Black Butte Copper Project.
How could such a large portion of the community support a mine that would destroy their environment? They also had all of their resources — Copper project, permits, plans, and reports — online for anyone who Copper project to closely examine what they were up to.
I began perusing their library of documents to try and gain some understanding of the project and realized very quickly that this was beyond my comprehension. If I was going to gain any understanding about the project, I was going to need it explained to me by someone who could talk to the average Joe.
Thankfully, Hope had such a contact — Nancy Schlepp. She breaks everything down into simple, yet concise terms to educate the public. As we waited for our appointment, we wandered the headquarters, looking at charts and graphs, mineral samples, and a 3D model of the mine.
When it was time for our appointment, Nancy walked in and greeted us warmly, then escorted us into a large room to view a slideshow presentation. Before getting started, Nancy explained to us some of the backstory on the mine.
This incredible discovery was made by Jerry Zieg, a geologist who began mapping the area while completing his masters at the University of Montana. After graduating, Jerry was hired by Cominco American Inc. Jerry completed his work and moved on to Alaska to work with Nova Gold.
Then in copper prices rose dramatically. But the ranchers turned them down; if anyone was going to mine that copper it was going to be Jerry Zieg. Because he was a local, born and raised in White Sulphur Springs, and if anyone was going to make sure that the mining was done right, it was going to be someone who had a stake in the community.
Jerry was completely onboard. Such high grade copper would result in high profit margins, which in turn meant that Tintina Resources would have the means to implement world-class methods and technologies.
With this in mind, Jerry and the team drafted a plan — one that would raise the bar for mining standards around the world. What makes this plan so different?
Nancy used the slideshow to explain. For starters, testing of the area has been extensive over the past five years to determine baseline data, build models, and calculate outcomes. For example, 42 groundwater monitoring stations and eleven surface water sites have been gathering baseline information regularly for four years, which is two years more than the industry average.
Tintina Resources has been doing everything within their means to evaluate the long-term effects of their mine on the area. Images are brought to mind of the Gold King Mine incident, where three million gallons of waste water and tailings spilled into the Animas River, creating an environmental disaster.
But that outcome is scientifically impossible for the Black Butte Copper Project. Think of it like poking a hole in a water bottle; if you poke a hole in the bottom, the pressure can send all of that water pouring out, but if you poke a hole at the top, nothing happens because gravity keeps the water pushed toward the bottom.
But what about water used in the mining process? The mine will be built twelve miles away and the nearest waterway, Sheep Creek, is one mile from the mine and 19 stream miles from the Smith River.
Moreover, Tintina Resources will use a process called reverse osmosis to treat all of its contaminated water.
The treated water is clean enough to drink and will be released into an underground filtration system.
There is zero discharge to surface waters. As for the contaminants, they are disposed of in the tailings. One of the realities of mining is that in addition to mineral resources, tailings — materials left over after the process of separating the resource from uneconomic waste — are produced as well.
Mines have a responsibility to dispose of these tailings in a way that will have minimal impact on the environment. The Black Butte Copper Project has developed a plan that goes above and beyond industry standards to reclaim the area as quickly and fully as possible.
It begins with the mining of rock and copper deposits which are sent through a crusher to break them into smaller pieces. These smaller pieces are sent to the onsite mill that grinds the copper and tailings to 30 microns, making them a consistency similar to powdered sugar.Tembang Gold-Silver Project (% owned) BACKGROUND.
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