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Butte to begin next phase of removing buried mine waste

Posted at 10:00 AM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 12:00:48-05

BUTTE — The next phase of removing buried mine waste, known as the parrot tailings is set to begin next month.

That involves tearing down the current county maintenance building off Civic Center Road, digging up the tailings and hauling the waste to the Montana Resources property.

“It’s a huge effort that will be taken, it’ll be about a half-million cubic yards of mine waste that will be removed from that site, it will reclamate the site down to the level of what the civic center is and Civic Center Road will be closed during this time,” said Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher.

Butte’s Intermountain Construction Services was awarded the $8.6 million project to remove the tailings, which should be completed by 2022. Once this is done, the city will consider reclaiming the land for some kind of public use.

“We’ll make sure the public’s involved in what we’d like to see have as end-land use of what’s being cleaned up back there,” said Gallagher.

The county’s new maintenance shop being built off of Beef Trail Road is nearly complete, so operations can continue when the old shop is torn down.

“We’re hoping for a somewhat seamless transition, obviously there’s going to be a little bit of a hiccup to start jumping into the new place from the old, but we’ve got to keep certain things running at the old site and try to get them ready to quickly transfer to the new site,” said Gordon Mahood with Markovich Construction.

The city is eager to get the second phase of the parrot tailings removal going because that brings Butte a step closure to the ultimate goal of restoring the land.

“We will be in those meeting and discussions every step of the way, making sure Butte gets what was promised and that, you know, any kind of changes, we will be the one’s driving the bus when it comes to making any of those changes,” said the chief executive.