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Tintina launches film touting proposed White Sulphur Springs mine

Tintina launches film touting proposed White Sulphur Springs mine

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The company proposing a copper mine near White Sulphur Springs launched a video Tuesday promoting the benefits the mine would bring to the community.

Tintina Resources launched the film “The Black Butte Copper Project -- Working Together” both on its website, www.tintinaresources.com, and YouTube. The film pairs environmental shots with dialogue from several Tintina employees, elected officials and community members offering support for the mine and the economic impact to the area.

A mining permit application for the Black Butte Copper Mine is expected by the end of the year.

Vice president of exploration Jerry Zieg is featured prominently in the film, detailing his history as a White Sulphur resident and geologist.

“It really causes me to be even more mindful of the necessity to do the project in the best way possible,” he said.

Other Tintina officials and community members go on to tout the testing performed on the mine site and surrounding area, maintaining that the quality of the land and water must be maintained.

Environmental groups and fishing interests have challenged the Black Butte project for risking reduced water quantity and pollution. Last year, a lawsuit over proposed exploration caused Tintina to withdraw plans for a tunnel in favor of less invasive drilling. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality received more than 4,500 public comments on the exploration permit.

The mine’s location is proposed near Sheep Creek, a tributary of the Smith River. Mine opponents have maintained that the water quality and surrounding industry is too important to risk, citing Montana’s legacy of mining pollution.

In June, two of the most outspoken opponents, Montana Trout Unlimited and the Montana Environmental Information Center, released the video “Smith River Memories” and a surrounding social media campaign. The film chronicles the personal relationships of several people to the river, such as artist Monte Dolack, outfitter Paul Roos, Smith River landowner Mike Bushly and outdoor writer Greg Tollefson.

The Tintina film was not a response to the earlier film, said Tintina public relations director Nancy Schlepp. The mining company contracted the production in February and waited until summer to shoot, she said. The film was then held so it did not come out the same time as the “Memories” film, she added.

Everyone working at Tintina has a personal relationship to the Smith, Schlepp said in the film.

Much of the film focuses on the economic boon the mine would be for the area.

Meagher County Commission Chairman Herb Townsend threw his support behind the mine, saying it would be an asset to the county and state.

According to the film, the mine would offer 200 jobs averaging $65,000 per year.

“This community needs some kind of input with respect to jobs and long-term substantial positions for people,” said Allan Kirk, contracted permitting manager. “I see this project as the thing that could light this community back up again.”

Reporter Tom Kuglin can be reached at 447-4076 or tom.kuglin@helenair.com

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State Reporter/Outdoors Reporter

Tom Kuglin is the deputy editor for the Lee Newspapers State Bureau. His coverage focuses on outdoors, recreation and natural resources.

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