Tintina Resources is planning to submit an application for a mine operating permit (MOP) to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for Black Butte copper project in the US.

The company sent a letter to the Montana DEQ withdrawing its request to construct an exploration decline under an amendment to its exploration license.

Tintina determined that it can gain the necessary baseline data to support a feasibility study and operating permit application with less invasive drilling operations during exploration.

The MOP application submission will start the environmental impact study (EIS) process for the whole project.

"We are focused and committed to protecting the surface and groundwaters of the Sheep Creek drainage basin."

Tintina Resources vice-president of operations Bob Jacko said that the DEQ did a good job developing the environmental assessment of the proposed exploration permit amendment.

"We believe this informative document will be extremely helpful when preparing for our Mine Operating Permit," Jacko said.

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The company said that this decision will avoid litigation costs associated with the complaint filed in Montana district court, naming both DEQ and Tintina as defendants, that challenges DEQ’s decision to enable an amendment to its exploration license.

Tintina reviewed the complaint with its litigation counsel and has said it is without merit.

The company’s decision to proceed with the MOP was due to the expected time and resources required to defeat the complaint.

Tintina Resources vice-president of exploration Jerry Zieg said that gathering data via additional drilling instead from an exploration decline is a better option than potentially lengthy litigation.

"Tintina remains committed to implementing environmental safeguards and protecting the environment while providing 200 full-time jobs in Meagher County," Zieg said.

"Tintina pledges continued transparency and public involvement in our activities. We are focused and committed to protecting the surface and groundwaters of the Sheep Creek drainage basin."