Few know the frustration of the lengthy mine permitting process better than Montanore Minerals CEO and President Glenn Dobbs and Environmental Consultant Eric Klepfer, but the two were smiling Tuesday The reason for their upbeat mood is Klepfer just days before received a letter stating the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had approved a plan for wetlands mitigation Klepfer said the plan calls for Montanore Minerals to create an area of between 20 to 25 acres of wetlands to mitigate the approximate nine-acre footprint the mine anticipates “Typically, the (mitigation) ratio is 2½ or 3-to-1,” Klepfer said of the amount of land compensation for the nine acres at the mine site. Montanore already has secured the land for mitigation at the Schneider Farm about 11 miles south of Libby “This is a significant milepost,” Dobbs said.“We are in sight of the goal line. We are in sight of the goal line. We figure we are about 95 or 98 percent (in the permitting process),” Dobbs said. However, Dobbs tempered his optimism with an air of caution “Still, we must not lose pace. We must keep everyone energized,” the CEO said Klepfer recently spoke to members of the Montanore Positive Action Committee (MPAC) stressing the group — and the public — to write letters of support for the project. Klepfer urged a letter-writing campaign to newly elected and positioned governmental leaders, including Gov. Steve Bullock, U.S. Rep. Steve Daines and Department of Environmental Quality Tracy Stone-Manning “It’s something we all believe in, and it’s good for our community,” Benitz said this week when asked about the letters, one of which ran inThe Western News The wetlands mitigation plan is a crucial part of the plan, according to a Kootenai National Forest spokesperson “The wetlands mitigation plan is an important component of the Section 404 permit application to the Army Corps of Engineers, and as such, its completion is a step forward in the process,” said Forest Geologist, Bobbie Lacklen As Forest Supervisor Paul Bradford recently stated,“We will continue to work with the EPA, and other agencies including USFWS, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers, as we move toward the completion of the final EIS and Record of Decision,” Bradford said “It is essential that we complete all the steps in this process with the highest level of precision in order to be successful in defending the decision if we are litigated. Still, Dobbs is hopeful if a Record of Decision comes by fall, the mine could begin initial hiring by the end of the year.
“If we get a Record of Decision by the end of the second or even the third quarter, we could see the hiring of between 20 and 35 people by the end of the year,” Dobbs said.