Butte, Montana Ready for Silver Rush

January 10, 2014

 

When people talk about the gold and silver mining rush in the U.S., most think about the mid 1800's. However, with an exploration permit being sought in Butte, Montana for silver mining, the future is looking brighter for a long forgotten area.

 

"When people say Butte is mined out, we get a little bit defensive," Jill Sotendahl recently told the Billings Gazette. "There is certainly a whole lot of ground left to be mined."

 

Sotendahl is a geologist with Butte Silver Mines, Inc. and she is bullish on the prospects of underground silver mining operations at the Badger mine on Butte Hill. The mine is owned by International Silver or Tuscon, AZ and the company first announced plans for the project back in August of 2012.

 

While the process for obtaining exploration permits can take between two to five years, once underway the project could lead to the creation of 200 to 215 jobs in Butter including 90 miners. Plans are to eventually haul roughly 500 tons of material per day to the Walkerville mill, with processed ore from that sent to a smelter elsewhere, possibly one in the southern U.S. or British Columbia, Canada.

 

If all goes smooth the silver mining in Butte could begin by 2016 but more realistic projections put the start of mining more near 2018. In addition to silver, the mines in Butte are known for zinc which would also be mined under the current plans.