CEO & President’s Message
Thank you for taking the time to visit our website to learn about the Black Butte Copper, a high-grade copper project containing nearly 1 billion pounds of copper. In fact, this is the second highest grade copper deposit under development in the world. We are proud to share our showcase underground project, designed using state-of-the-art engineering and technology to ensure compliance with Montana mining laws while protecting the pristine environment in the Smith River watershed. Montana has some of the most stringent mining standards and environmental protection laws globally. We understand this and gladly accept it.
I am proud to be part of the dedicated and professional team that is bringing Black Butte Copper to fruition. We all believe that it is critically important to design, construct, operate, and close a copper mine in the 21st Century without leaving an environmental legacy. That is exactly how this mine is being planned; to showcase responsible development while meeting strict regulations with community input and support. We want to raise the bar while operating safely and profitably, it can be done.
As you look a little closer into each component of our mine plan, you will see the pain staking efforts that have been taken to prevent environmental issues. These include a cement binder being added to approximately half of the tailings (the ground-up rock left after the copper has been removed) and redeposited back underground in mined out cavities to eliminate acid rock drainage and surface subsidence issues. Similarly, cement will also be added to the other half of the tailings which will be deposited in a double lined facility creating a solid and stable environment. As a result, a tailings dam failure as we have seen in parts of the world is not physically possible here. We will recycle the water we recover from mining to use in the processing plant and a reverse osmosis water treatment plant will treat any excess water in our closed system to drinking water standards, then return it underground.
This is not a mine built 100 years ago. This is not an open pit mine on the Smith River. This will be a small, high grade underground mine that is approximately one mile from Sheep Creek and around 19 river miles from the Smith. We will extensively monitor the immediate mine area and manage our very small footprint which is located entirely on private ranch lands.
This project is important to Meagher County and Montana. The community wants jobs and all the positive opportunities that come with an operation like this, but not if it sacrifices the quality of the water and landscapes we all love for those gains. When done right, this project will mean that the local residents will have the opportunity to work in the place they call home. All families dream of kids coming back to a career in their home community, and we plan to make this a reality for White Sulphur Springs. We fully expect our workforce of around 240 people will come from and live in Meagher County and the surrounding areas. All Montanans will benefit from the estimated $900 million that will be pumped directly into the state economy through wages, bought services, taxes and rents over the life of the project.
If you are in Montana please drop in and see us at any time in White Sulphur Springs or join us on our monthly tour day. Sandfire has an open-door policy and we diligently work to continue our commitment to transparency.
Black Butte Copper
Black Butte Copper will be a model for responsible, viable mining methods and outcomes. Learn more about our project and the experts making it happen.
The integrity of the local community is at the center of our efforts. We’ve partnered with local leadership and stakeholders to find solutions that benefit all for generations to come.
Scientific expertise and modern mining techniques guide how we protect the local land and its people.
Is Important to Us
We’re proud to share our work and are always ready to answer questions. Reach out to our team to request more information.