Crevice mine moves forward despite legislation

Johnathan Hettinger —
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
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This image shows the location of Crevice Mountain, the area where Crevice Mountain Mining Company proposes a gold mine. (Image courtesy of Google Earth)

A proposed gold mine just north of the border of Yellowstone National Park plans to move forward, despite an act of Congress permanently banning mining on public land in an area of the Custer Gallatin National Forest adjacent to the project.

Crevice Mining Group, LLC, will host a meeting next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Gardiner Community Center to update the public on the mine, which holds leases on private land. 

“I do not believe we’re going to be affected (by the legislation),” said Michael Werner, managing partner of Crevice Mining Group.

On Tuesday, the company renewed its Small Miner Exclusion Statement, which is granted to proposed mines of less than 5 acres, for a project near Jardine. The company, which has not yet begun mining operations, also has an active road use permit from the U.S. Forest Service.

This month, President Donald Trump signed into law a public lands package of bills that included the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, a bill originally introduced by Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and sponsored by Montana’s entire Congressional Delegation. The act permanently bans mining on 30,000 acres of Custer Gallatin National Forest, including areas surrounding the Crevice project and a proposed gold mine by Canadian company Lucky Minerals up Emigrant Gulch.

Multiple attempts to reach Lucky Minerals about its plan to move forward were unsuccessful. 

In October, the company said it would not be affected by a 20-year administrative withdrawal, and it was continuing with exploration work. Lucky Minerals has an active mining permit for this year, starting July 15.

The Park County Environmental Council and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition have challenged a 2011 Montana law that allows Lucky Minerals to have an active permit despite a Sixth Judicial District decision last year that the Montana Department of Environmental Quality unlawfully approved the company’s permit. A decision on that case is expected at any time.