Mining company sent back to the drawing board -- again

Crevice Mining Group's proposed exploration site is less than a mile from Yellowstone. (Photo William Campbell. Graphics GYC.)

Great news! The Montana agency that oversees mining licenses has sent an Australian-backed company back to the drawing board for the second time this year.

Crevice Mining Group is one of two foreign-backed mining companies proposing to explore for gold on the border of Yellowstone National Park. Crevice aims to mine above Jardine (MT), less than a mile from the park.

After reviewing the exploration plan Crevice resubmitted in July, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) last week sent what's called a letter of deficiency to Crevice. In 20 pages of comments, DEQ outlined the deficiencies in the plan, and cited the need for more accurate descriptions, current data, and clearer plans for protecting water quality, among other issues.

This is the second time DEQ has asked Crevice to resubmit its application. In April, the agency turned Crevice away for proposing to use its small-miner's exemption -- which limits surface disturbance to five acres -- for a nearly 20-acre exploration proposal.

We're pleased by the recent letter, because it means the DEQ agrees with our concerns about the inconsistencies in this exploration proposal. It also means the proposal will not move forward until Crevice addresses all the deficiencies.

Not only did DEQ carefully examine the proposal, but they also invited the Forest Service to raise any concerns due to the proximity of Forest Service land. We applaud their collaborative effort and appreciate their close attention to this mine proposal that threatens the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. And we're grateful to all of our supporters -- thanks to you, we're fighting these mines and helping spread the word that Yellowstone is more valuable than gold.

-- Liz Purdy, Yellowstone Gateway Campaign Organizer