As reported by NBC Montana and other news outlets, the US Forest Service has approved exploratory drilling in the Beartooth Mountains to a Canadian firm pending their securement of a reclamation bond. The company purchased 282 mining claims in the area outside of Nye and plans to spend the next seven summers drilling core samples and researching the feasibility of mining gold, palladium, platinum, nickel and other precious metals. Depending on the outcome of their finds, the company aims to sell the claims to other firms to develop any actual mining activity.

Naturally, there are polarizing views on this news. Some outdoor enthusiasts and environmental groups are opposed to any new mining attempts in the Beartooth Mountains, citing previous examples of mining companies leaving behind environmental messes in Montana when they leave.

Other residents welcome the financial boost that Montana would see with new mining activity. The Montana Mining Association says,

Our primary purpose is to protect, preserve, and promote mining – an important contributor to our economic fabric dating back to Montana’s territorial days.

And they do have a point. Until fairly recent years our Montana economy has been largely based on natural resources, starting with fur traders back in the early 1800's, followed by the discovery of gold in 1852. The copper kings of Butte made fortunes on our natural resources and in turn helped develop the Montana we know today. Heck, it's even our state motto, "Oro y Plata"... Gold and Silver. Mining proponents tout good paying jobs, a boost to our tax base, cleaner technology and their commitment to reclamation efforts. And the fact remains that all of us use the minerals mining produces in our electronics, cars, etc.

What do you think? Do you support new mining efforts in the Beartooth Mountains? Or, do you think the area should be left alone? Let us know in the Comments.

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