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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Area reports: domestic 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 2 (1978-1979)

Krempasky, G. T.; Lawson, Don C.
Montana,   pp. 315-327 ff. PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 319

THE MINERAL INDUSTRY OF MONTANA 
319 
(1) 
~ 200 
~TAL 
COPPER 
I i I 
0 
 1977 1980 1985 
Figure 1.—Value of copper and total value of nonfuel mineral production
in Montana. 
REVIEW BY NONFUEL MINERAL COMMODITIES 
600 
METALS 
 The production values of the three principal metal commodities produced
in the State — copper, gold, and silver — reflected price
increases
when compared to the year!y average values of production over a 10year period
(1970-79). The average value of copper production was $131 million for the
period. In 1977, the value of copper production was 85% of the average; in
1978, it was 73%; and in 1979, it was 109%. The average value of silver production
was $13.9 million. In 1977, the value of silver production was 112% of the
average; in 1978, it was 113%; and in 1979, it was 264%. The average value
of gold production was $3.0 million. In 1977, the value of gold production
was 109% of the average; in 1978, it was 127%; and in 1979, it was 243%.
Dramatic price increases in precious metals were reflected in the 1979 production
values, and these price increases stimulated dramatic new explora 
tion and development activity in western Montana. However, except for silver
in 1977 and gold in 1979, the quantity of production was below the State's
10-year average in 1977,1978, and 1979. 
 Reflecting the increase in exploration and development activities, Zortman
Mining Co. and Landusky Mining Co. received operating permits for open pit
and heap-leach operations in the Little Rocky Mountains. At the Polaris Mine,
a relatively good grade silver ore was being mined, and development in virgin
ground indicated additional reserves. In the Tobacco Root Mountains, a gold
operation was idled because of a labormanagement dispute. The heap-leach
operation near Boulder, with approximately 35,000 short tons on the pad,
was shut down, and no definite plans existed for near-future resumption.
A small gold heap-leach plant was in the development stage at the old Atlantic/Pacific
Mine in the Tobacco Root Mountains. In the Rochester Basin area, 


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