HELENA—The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has released a Final Environmental Impact Statement for Barretts Minerals, Inc (BMI) regarding an amendment application to expand the Regal Mine. The facility mines talc ore and has been in operation since 1972. Approval of the amendment would allow BMI to expand and deepen the mine pit, increase the size of the waste rock disposal facility and expand the mine’s water management system. The mine, and proposed expansion area, are approximately 11 miles southeast of Dillon Mont. in Madison County.
BMI submitted an amendment application in 2018 under the Metal Mine Reclamation Act. DEQ determined that BMI’s amendment application was complete and compliant and issued a draft amendment approval on March 18, 2019. The amended application is required to go through an Environmental Impact Statement process and the draft document was made available for public comment during a 30-day period in December of 2019.
The Environmental Impact Statement must include a detailed statement on the environmental impact of the proposed action, alternatives to the proposed action and a no action alternative.
DEQ has identified the waste rock disposal facility and mosaic vegetation alternative as the agency's preferred alternative in the Final Environmental Impact Statement. This alternative incorporates all the features of the proposed action alternative with some reclamation modifications. The alternative design for the waste rock disposal facility would eliminate the planar and smooth slopes common in reclamation work in favor of a landform with swales and drainages that better mimic the natural landscape and existing topography in the area.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement is not a decision document. The Record of Decision, which documents DEQ's decision on the project, the reasons for the decision and any special conditions will be issued no less than 15 days after the publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement has been posted on DEQ's website at: http://deq.mt.gov/Public/eis Digital copies may be requested by contacting: Craig Jones at (406) 444- 0514. For more information contact: Moira Davin at (406) 444-6360 or by email at: Moira.Davin@mt.gov