Canadian Mining Journal


ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS Cyanide on Montana Ballot

HELENA, Montana The MONTANA MINING ASSOCIATION reports that in an effort to bolster Montana's economy, provide go...

HELENA, Montana The MONTANA MINING ASSOCIATION reports that in an effort to bolster Montana’s economy, provide good-paying jobs and enhance the state’s tax base while protecting the environment, a ballot initiative to reform Montana’s mining laws was filed on March 2. If passed, the new law would allow the use of cyanide under a series of new regulations designed to ensure it is used safety and properly.

"We’ve done a lot of listening recently to hear what the public has to say about our business and our practices," the association’s executive director Angie Janacaro said. "Montanans have told us that they want a healthy mining industry, but only if it is well-regulated and it doesn’t pose a threatto the environment, fish and wildlife, or people. This measure does that."

Among the new requirements are:
●All leach pads and ponds containing cyanide must be designed to withstand 100-year storm events.
●Additional, redundant containment systems may be required if the pads or ponds are near a stream or river.
●Tailings ponds, leach pads and ponds containing cyanide must first have a synthetic liner backed up with a secondary liner and a leak-detection system.
●In the event of a cyanide leak, a contingency system is required to recover the cyanide.
●Ground- and surface-water quality must be monitored, and the operator will be required to post a bond with the state.
●Furthermore, any mine using cyanide must comply with both state and federal air and water quality regulations.

All in all, these proposals make good development sense for mines everywhere, not just in Montana.

If the initiative is approved by the Montana secretary of state and attorney general, proponents must then gather a minimum of 20,510 signatures from voters across the state. If the signatures are gathered, the measure will be on the Nov. 2 election ballot.

For more information about this initiative contact Angie Janacaro at 406-496-1444 or 406-980-1644.

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