October 20, 2017
This is a request for enforcement under the Metal Mine Reclamation Act (“MMRA”), MCA §§ 82-4-331(3), 82-4-335(9), and 82-4-360(1), submitted on behalf of Earthworks, Montana Environmental Information Center, Clark Fork Coalition, Rock Creek Alliance, and Save Our Cabinets (collectively, the “Conservation Organizations”). The cited MMRA provisions generally prohibit the former principals of companies that fail to complete required mine reclamation from receiving a hard rock exploration license or operating permit and conducting exploration or mining activities in Montana. As explained more fully below, these provisions apply to and prohibit Hecla Mining Company (“Hecla”) from developing the Rock Creek and Montanore mine projects because Hecla President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director Phillips S. Baker, Jr. is a former principal officer of Pegasus Gold Incorporated and its subsidiaries Pegasus Gold Corporation, Zortman Mining Incorporated, Pegasus Gold Montana Mining Incorporated, and Beal Mountain Mining Incorporated. The Pegasus entities failed to complete required reclamation of, at a minimum, the Zortman-Landusky and Basin Creek mines, resulting in DEQ’s receipt of bond funds to carry out necessary reclamation in their stead.