Barrick’s Golden Sunlight mine is spearheading an ambitious project to clean up environmental contamination at historic mine sites in Montana that will save the state and federal taxpayers millions of dollars.
Montana’s long history of mining, much of which pre-dates modern mining and environmental regulation, left a collection of improperly closed tailings impoundments and waste-rock piles that require clean-up. With taxpayers on the hook for the costs, Barrick found a creative solution.
In particular, while Montana’s historic tailings impoundments and waste-rock piles contain metals that can harm the environment, they also contain gold that can be extracted profitably at today’s prices. Barrick’s Golden Sunlight mine offered to re-process and store this material in its modern facilities, obviating the need for taxpayer-funded clean-ups.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the project is helping to stimulate the local economy by creating jobs in small