Black Butte Copper
Sandfire holds an 87% interest, via Canadian listed company Sandfire Resources America Inc. (TSX-V: SFR), in the high-grade Black Butte Copper Project, located in central Montana in the United States.
The Black Butte Copper Project is focused on the development of the Johnny Lee copper deposit, which hosts a total Ore Reserve of 8.8 million tonnes grading 2.6% copper for total contained copper of 226,100 tonnes. View the latest Ore Reserve and Mineral Resource statement here.
This makes Black Butte one of the top undeveloped copper projects worldwide by grade.
Project permitting for Black Butte was completed in April 2020, with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MTDEQ) releasing the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on 13 March 2020 and issuing a positive Record of Decision (ROD) to grant a Mine Operating Permit (MOP) on 9 April 2020. More details on the Project's permitting and development timeline can be found here.
The Black Butte Project is located on private ranch land in Meagher County, close to existing road, power and rail infrastructure, with the ability to access a residential workforce located nearby and competitive sources of materials and power.
The proposed underground mine at Black Butte is designed to provide economic opportunity to Central Montana while fully protecting the Smith River Watershed.
Further details can be found on the Sandfire America Resources Inc. website at www.sandfireamerica.com.
Sustainability Snapshot - Water at Black Butte
Protecting the Smith River Valley watershed at Black Butte is the top priority for both Sandfire Resources America and the project’s stakeholders. The project is located north of the town of White Sulphur Springs and 19 stream miles from the confluence of Sheep Creek and the Smith River. Protecting water resources was a key consideration when planning the layout of the mine openings and facilities.
Sandfire America undertook exhaustive testing to wholly understand the deposit and design the safest and most efficient mine in Montana’s history. As a result, the cemented tailings facility will be located one mile off Sheep Creek, out of the valley, in a saddle of Sawmill Hill. The mine tunnel entry will be 200 feet above the water level and all mine openings will be located above sea level. This is to prevent water from leaving the mine and mixing with creek water.
Sandfire America has been gathering and analysing hydrological baseline information for six years to support a robust hydrologic model. The project’s 78 monitoring stations include monitoring wells, piezometers, pump test wells, and stream flow and water quality monitoring sites. Sandfire America has committed to providing access to this monitoring data in an effort to be transparent.
Once in operation, all groundwater from the mine and surface water from precipitation will be collected, monitored, tested and treated before it is placed back into the ground water system through an underground alluvial system with zero discharge to surface waters. A reverse osmosis water treatment plant will be constructed on site for the duration of the mining operation and will remain there as long as needed. Water that is not consumed through the milling process will also be treated and returned to the groundwater system through an underground alluvial system.
Read more about our sustainability initiatives here.