MAC/20: Mines and Communities

2.2 million raised to repeal cyaninde leach mine ban

Published by MAC on 2004-10-19

$2.2 million raised to repeal cyaninde leach mine ban

By Jennifer McKee - IR State Bureau

19th October 2004

Helena - The out-of-state mining company behind an effort to repeal Montana's ban on cyanide leach mining gave nearly $850,000 to the effort - an average of about $23,000 every day - over the past five weeks, state records filed Monday show.

Miners, Merchants and Montanans for Jobs and Economic Opportunity, the group formed to promote Initiative 147, has raised a total of $2.2 million with 98 percent of that coming from one Colorado mining company, Canyon Resources Corp., state records show. Canyon gave $848,005 in both cash and in-kind donations between Sept. 7 and Oct. 13, according to information filed with the state commissioner of political practices. The company has given $2.16 million so far

I-147 would repeal a 1998 citizen-passed ban on cyanide leach mining, restore the mineral leases lost since the ban passed and require new environmental safeguards.

Canyon wanted to build a large cyanide leach gold mine near Lincoln when voters outlawed the practice.

Foes of I-147, a group called Save the Blackfoot, raised $212,138 in the past five weeks, an average of about $5,700 every day. They have spent $195,117.

About a third of Save the Blackfoot's money came from Montana Trout Unlimited, which gave just over $69,000 in cash and in-kind donations.

A second group opposed to I-147, called Montanans for Common Sense Mining Laws, raised $71,277 in the last month, records show, an average of about $1,900 a day. The group has spent $52,188.

The I-147 campaign has heated up recently, with both sides running television advertisements and sending large, glossy postcards to voters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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