Old Montana Mines Present New Opportunities

In Dust Control, EK35®, Mine & Quarry by Jim Silva

Smaller mining companies in Montana are finding lucrative deep deposits in the state’s historic mines, providing them with a valuable advantage over their competitors.

After years of inactivity, older mines across Montana are reentering commission as mining companies search them for new opportunities. Thanks to recent advances in mining exploration technology, this unusual approach to metal exploration is revealing new deposits throughout the state, helping smaller companies claim lucrative reserves with equally small investments. It’s a development that’s rapidly transforming mining at the heart of the industry.

Historic Mines and New Methods

Sometimes called “the Treasure State” because of its abundant mineral reserves, Montana has long encouraged mining with favorable regulations and a well-developed infrastructure. Some worksites have been in operation since the mid-nineteenth century, but many haven’t been explored for further deposits in decades.

Most of these older mines have seemingly been exhausted, but recent technologies have helped smaller exploration companies unearth additional untapped reserves beneath them. Canada’s Broadway Gold, for example, began rehabilitating a gold mine in Montana’s gold-copper belt that first operated in the 1860s, locating untouched copper-gold skarn deposits in the process. By using older worksites with established infrastructure and clear documentation of previous explorations, the company can invest much less in equipment and manpower while quickly discovering valuable reserves.

The Broadway Gold project depends on recent technologies such as deep drilling techniques, short-wave infrared spectroscopy, lithogeochemical analysis, and isotope geochemistry. By using these tactics, the company can locate additional deposits that previous miners missed, providing it with a valuable return on a greatly reduced investment. The strategy has already begun to bear fruits, attracting significant interest from major investors across the state.

Mining Companies of All Sizes Need Dust Control

While smaller mining companies in Montana might be giving old mines new life, they’ll still need to develop an effective dust control program to manage particulate matter emissions on these reopened worksites.

Without a reliable dust suppressant, fugitive particles from haul and access roads can damage essential equipment, threaten workers’ health, and violate government regulations, largely offsetting any gains from the lower cost of exploration.

Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. has supplied the mining industry with proven dust control products for decades, helping companies of every size solve their maintenance challenges. Our patented synthetic organic agent EnviroKleen® utilizes binder systems to bind with the aggregate and trap fines within the surface, preventing dust from entering the atmosphere while reinforcing the roadbed. Tested for quality and performance, it resists pressure, precipitation, and harsh temperatures for months at a time, reducing the need for repeated applications.

Regardless of your worksite’s needs, Midwest can work directly with you to prepare a custom application plan or managed service program tailored to your company’s needs. If you’re hoping to capitalize on these new mining opportunities in Montana or elsewhere around the world, Midwest stands ready to help you ensure high operating performance and minimize maintenance costs all year long.

Jim is Midwest’s Business Unit Manager for Global Mining. He is experienced in operations management, asset management, and business improvement.