Silver Bow Kiwanis

Silver Bow Kiwanis Kiwanis Club Meeting, Feb 8, '11

12:00-1:00 Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Larger map and driving directions

Butte Perkins
2900 Harrison Ave.
Butte, MT 59701

Tim and Doreena asked for anyone's speaker ideas. The more people who present their ideas, the more diverse our speakers can be, and the more interesting our meetings will remain.

Tim introduced Tad from Montana Resources who spoke to us about their operations in Butte. The continental pit is the lowest grade ore currently being mined in the world, so Montana Resources has gone to great lengths to make their operation as efficient as possible, they operate with only 348 employees. Along with that, safety is a concern. Montana Resources recently passed the landmark 1 million man-hours without a "loss accident." However, mining actually isn't in the top ten most dangerous occupations.

Another thing that has helped Montana Resources stay profitable is that they do a great deal of preventative maintenance on their equipment. One of the mills on site was an old piece of equipment when the Anaconda Company purchased it, long before Montana Resources was even in operation. Despite the age, proper maintenance has made this a valuable piece of equipment and kept it efficient.

There is a $46.7 million bond in place with the state to manage land reclamation efforts when the mine closes, and other moneys set aside in other funds to other reclamation and cleanup. These amounts are reviewed periodically by a board to evaluate the cost of cleanup, changes in operation and economics that affect those costs, and to insure that the bond in place will cover necessary costs.

The current operation spends over $2 million on power monthly and uses over 50 million gallons of water per day. Much of the water used is reclaimed from the Yankee Doodle tailing pond. The property in Butte does not release any water except by evaporation and what is shipped off in the ore that goes to be processed.

Copper and silver ore is shipped to China for processing, but the molybdenum is shipped to Pennsylvania.

The ore body being mined in the Continental Pit is a different ore body from a different geological structure than the ore body that was mined in the Berkeley Pit. Due to the shift along the Continental Fault, the other portion of the Continental Ore Body is actually 2,000 feet below the part of the body being mined currently. In addition, there is another ore body, referred to as the Central Zone Ore Deposit between the current Continental Pit and the Berkeley Pit.

The ore body in the Continental Pit should be sufficient to continue mining operations in Butte for another 30 years or so.

Tad Dale from Montana Resources
Steak with Mashed Potato
Event Updated
3:04 Tuesday, February 8, 2011