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Forest Service OKs mining under Cabinet Mountains Wilderness


This undated handout aerial photo shows Rock Lake in Montana's Cabinet Mountains. The Sandpoint-based Rock Creek Alliance and some officials fear a proposed mine beneath the wilderness area may open up faults that would cause lakes in the area to drain. Associated Press
 (File Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
This undated handout aerial photo shows Rock Lake in Montana's Cabinet Mountains. The Sandpoint-based Rock Creek Alliance and some officials fear a proposed mine beneath the wilderness area may open up faults that would cause lakes in the area to drain. Associated Press (File Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

PUBLIC LANDS -- The Cabinet Mountains Wilderness -- among the first areas protected by the 1964 Wilderness Act -- is another step closer to potential impacts from mining.

USFS gives preliminary OK to copper, silver mine in NW Montana
The U.S. Forest Service will take public comment for 45 days on the final environmental impact statement and draft record of decision approving Spokane-based Mines Management Inc.'s Montanore Mine, an underground copper and silver mine in Northwest Montana about 18 miles from Libby.

The mine is one of two separate mining proposals that would drill from outside the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness into ore bodies within the wilderness borders.

The local economy of this area was rocked when the Troy Mine shut down due to low copper prices. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality must still issue a final permit, and a group led by former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is challenging mining claims. A trial in that matter scheduled in April.

See a story with links to the two mining proposals and insight on the concerns of wilderness and environmental advocates.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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