Bullion major Barrick on Friday officially opened its tailings reprocessing project at the end-of-life Golden Sunlight mine, in Montana, with CEO Mark Bristow hailing the project as a model for future mine closures.
The facility will reprocess the tailings at Golden Sunlight and remove the concentrate sulphur (iron pyrite) to be used in gold production by Barrick-operated Nevada Gold Mines. The remaining material will be backfilled into the Mineral Hill pit.
Barrick notes that the concentrated sulphur is not only valuable, but its removal will also eliminate a source of potential groundwater contamination.
In a media release issued after the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Bristow stated that the project would serve as a model for future mine closures.
“Last year we started this groundbreaking plan to initiate mining closure at Golden Sunlight while continuing to create economic benefits. Working in close collaboration with state agencies, we were able to complete the permitting process in time and commission the tailings processing facility, creating value for all our stakeholders. It’s a great example of what a true partnership between a miner and its host communities can accomplish.”
Bristow stated that the first concentrates would be shipped “within weeks”.
The ceremony was attended by Montana Governor Greg Gianforte and representatives of the Montana federal congressional delegation, as well as members of the community.
The opening of the facility has created jobs and has the potential to generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue over the next decade.
“We’re thrilled by Barrick’s investment in the Whitehall community and look forward to the benefits this project will bring, including more than 75 good-paying Montana jobs and a stronger, cleaner environment,” commented Gianforte.
The Golden Sunlight mine produced more than three-million ounces of gold during its nearly 40 years of operation. The mine shut down in 2019 when gold production was no longer economically viable.