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Recent developments in Montana's metal mining industry.

Recent Developments In Montana's Metal Mining Industry

Over the last three years, Montana's mining industry has been recovering from earlier declines. In 1988, the gross value of mine production of coal, metalliferous ores, and industrial minerals rose to $800 million. A 62 percent increase in the value of metal ore production over the previous year accounted for much of this improvement.

With several major new developments in the last year, metals production should show a significant increase again in 1989 when production estimates become available. In the spring, Pegasus opened its third mine in the state--the Beal Mountain Mine, and purchased Pangea's operation in Basin Creek for $26 million. Noranda, Inc., in a joint venture with Montana Reserves Company, started an 18,000 foot decline to the copper-silver deposit that it purchased from U.S. Borax and Chemical Company. In the fall, American Copper and Nickel Company and Homestake Mining Company held the grand opening for the joint venture Mineral Hill Mine.

Gold Fields has entered the pre-development stage on its Elkhorn deposits and has expanded its investigation of the geology and metallurgy at the site. Chrome Corporation of America is conducting a sizable pre-development and ore definition program in the Still water complex. The results of their feasibility analysis suggest high potential for developing a chrome industry in Montana.

A number of very promising exploration projects are in progress in the state. The primary exploration target is gold, although companies have begun to show more interest in copper and tungsten. One of the most significant exploration programs is by Crown Butte Resources in the New World District near Cooke City. This high level of interest in the metal mining industry in the state should continue.

Robon McCulloch discussed Montana's mining industry. A mining engineer, he is a staff field agent for the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology at Montana Tech in Butte.
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Title Annotation:1990 Economic Outlook Seminar
Author:McCulloch, Robin
Publication:Montana Business Quarterly
Date:Mar 22, 1990
Previous Article:Agriculture forecast.
Next Article:Montana's oil and gas industry: an industry slow to recover.

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