Butte Highlands History
Butte Highlands was an historic lode mine that produced an estimated 60,000 ounces of gold from 1937 until its closure at the onset of WWII. The property was later explored by Battle Mountain, Placer Dome, ASARCO, and Orvana in the 1980s and 1990s which, in total, drilled more than 30,000 meters prior to its acquisition by Timberline Resources Corporation in 2007.
In 2009, Timberline formed a 50-50 joint venture with Highland Mining LLC (“Highland”) to create Butte Highlands Joint Venture LLC (“BHJV”) to develop the property. Timberline subsequently conducted surface exploration, drilling and permitting work as Highland began building surface and underground infrastructure.
In 2011, BHJV completed an underground exploration ramp and a 16,000-meter underground core drilling program to support mine modeling, focusing on the upper portion of the “Old Mill Block” which is approximately 85 metes along strike, 335 meters down dip, and has a mineralized thickness of 2.5 to 4.5 meters. The program returned many significant mineralized intercepts, including a highlight of 4.4 meters grading 232 gpt gold.
In 2012, Montana State Gold Company LLC (“MSGC”) purchased Highland, assuming its project loan and its funding commitment. A NI 43-101 compliant Technical Report for Butte Highlands was completed in 2013 by Mine Development Associates of Reno, Nevada.
The project has experienced significant timeline delays due, in part, to miscalculations of the permitting process and other technical issues. Permitting has advanced more effectively from 2013 to 2015, with the following critical milestones successfully achieved:
- In 2013, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) issued the final Montana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“MPDES”) water discharge permit;
- In 2015, the Montana DEQ authorized BHJV to construct and operate an underground gold mine by publishing a positive Record of Decision on the Final Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”);
- Also in 2015, the U.S. Forest Service (“USFS”) released its Final Decision Notice on haul road with a Finding of No Significant Impacts.
IN 2016 NJMC purchased Timberline’s 50-percent interest in BHJV. The property covers approximately 1,310 acres and includes 11 patented claims, 65 unpatented lode mining claims, and 20 unpatented mill-site claims. BHJV owns all of the unpatented lode mining claims and unpatented mill-site claims, along with mineral and/or surface rights to certain of the patented claims, with other mineral and/or surface rights held via lease agreements with a third party.