DEQ taking comments on Crevice mine exploration

By Liz Kearney
Enterprise Staff Writer

A 30-day window to comment on proposed gold exploration on private property northeast of Gardiner opens today. 

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality announced Tuesday it will accept comments on the scope of an Environmental Analysis for the Crevice Mining Group’s Plan of Operations presented by land owner Michael Werner. 

“The scoping process helps identify issues, determine points of contact, establish project schedules, and provide recommendations to the DEQ as to the need for an Environmental Impact Study,” a DEQ news release said.  

 The application proposes a surface disturbance totaling 7 acres, including an exploration road, a waste rock storage area, surface drilling pads, a topsoil stockpile area and a Land Application Discharge area. The application also proposes the construction of the first 200 feet of an exploration adit. An adit is nearly horizontal passage from the surface in a mine, according to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary. Adits are also used to explore for mineral veins. 

The exploration application may be accessed at DEQ’s website at http://deq.mt.gov/Land/Hardrock.

Werner approached the Park County Commission this summer with a proposal to improve a county road that provides access to his mine exploration site solely via county roads. Commissioners said the county can’t afford to maintain the road once it’s improved and suggested Werner approach the U.S. Forest Service. A Forest Service road also accesses the property, but that road would require improvements, too. 

Comments on the application may be submitted electronically using the DEQ Public Comment Portal at http://svc.mt.gov/deq/publiccomment/. Written comments may be submitted to Jen Lane, DEQ MEPA Coordinator, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT 59601, 406-444-4956 or by email to Jlane2@mt.gov

Comments for the scoping period must be submitted to DEQ no later than March 3, 2016.