Helena, MT— The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has authorized operators of the Montana Tunnels metal mine, about 25 miles south of Helena, to expand the facility.
The expansion also was approved in late October by another regulator, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. The open-pit mine produces lead, zinc, silver and gold.
The federal and state agencies authorized enlargement of the pit,expansion of waste-disposal areas and other measures. The mine owners project the expansion will extend the mine's life by about six years. Plans include diversion of two stream channels and realignment of an access road.
Montana Tunnels officials said they will now seek private financing of about $70 million for the expansion.