By Chrissy Webb and Matt Cvitkovich
Last Friday we made the journey to White Sulphur Springs to meet with executives of Tintina Resources to discuss their proposed Black Butte Copper Project in central Montana. We entered into the field trip with negative pre-conceived ideas about mining, but compared to the other miners we spoke with in Troy, the folks from Tintina were much more humble and believable because of their personal connections to the local community and environment. They reoriented our perspective on previous environmental disasters from mining activities, and described the new technology they’ll be using for the Black Butte Copper Project.
Nancy Schlepp, public relations director for Tintina Resources, grew up on a ranch outside of White Sulphur Springs. After some time away from the town, she now has settled here with her husband and raised a family. Her youngest son, a fourth grader, was trick or treating with his class at local businesses during her presentation in their downtown office. “Look for the white ninja; that’s my son” says Schlepp. Among these businesses is Two Basset, the town’s new brewery. Nancy is particularly excited about their Breaking Basset beer.
Jerry Zieg is Tintina’s vice president of exploration. He too is a White Sulphur Springs local. He told us a story of working with a University of Montana graduate student mapping the geology of his family’s ranch along the Smith River. He fell in love with geology, and pursued it himself as a master’s student at UM.
They fed us sandwiches on hamburger buns with brownish iceberg lettuce, offering Miracle Whip and mayonnaise and spicy mustard so everyone’s condiment needs were met. We left with baseball hats sporting the company’s logo, some camo and some denim, and blaze orange beer koozies.
(Above) Examining a model of the Johnny Lee deposit in the Tintina Resources office with Jerry Zieg.
Jordan and Dan show off a core sample from the Johnny Lee copper deposit.
Students stand on site at the proposed location of the access tunnel to the underground cooper deposit.
Jerry Zieg shows the location of the copper deposit.
In the background is Black Butte, after which the copper project is named. Chance Matthews, field technician for the project, uses horses for restoration projects, shown here.