(MALTA, Mont.) – The Bureau of Land Management announced a Public Land Order today to protect more than 900 additional acres at the Zortman-Landusky Mine reclamation area from future mining activities. The BLM administers the site located in Phillips County, Montana.
The withdrawal of an additional 912.33 acres at the reclamation area will prevent new mining activities and disturbance of the public lands for 20 years and provide time to assess and monitor the effectiveness of ongoing reclamation activities – https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-03725. The newly withdrawn acres are situated adjacent to the 2,688.13-acre area withdrawn by a Public Land Order issued September 9, 2022. Together, the withdrawals apply to about 3,600 acres of the Zortman-Landusky Mine reclamation area. These acres were originally withdrawn to protect the reclamation area in October 2000.
Approximately $83.7 million in reclamation bonds and State of Montana and BLM funds have been spent since 1999 to fund site reclamation and water treatment plant operations after the mine operator declared bankruptcy and abandoned the mines in 1998. It is anticipated that water treatment will continue indefinitely, with continued funding needed for ongoing operation and monitoring activities. The BLM estimates that approximately $2.2 million per year will be needed for water treatment into the foreseeable future.
For more information about the Zortman-Landusky Mine reclamation area, please see the environmental review documents associated with this withdrawal on BLM’s ePlanning website – https://eplanning.blm.gov. Search using the National Environmental Policy Act number: DOI-BLM-MT-L010-2021-0003-EA.
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