Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Snowshoe reclamation meeting scheduled

| January 10, 2006 11:00 PM

Reclamation plans for the abandoned Snowshoe Mine site, 10 miles southeast of Libby, will be shared by Montana Department of Environmental Quality officials during a public meeintg in Libby on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

The site has been identified as having uncontained heavy metals waste material that is impacting water and sediment quality in Snowshoe Creek, which flows into Big Cherry Creek, Granite Creek and Libby Creek before entering the Kootenai River, said Autumn Coleman, project manager.

In October 1889, John G. Abbott and Albert Dunlap located the Snowshoe Mine in October. The lead-silver-gold lode became the most important producer in the mining district.

The Snowshoe mine experienced many problems over the years, including a number of different owners and lessees, mismanagement, litigation, inefficient milling, and difficult transportation. Despite the challenges, owners erected a concentrator around 1897, enlarging it to 225 tons by 1906; electrified the mine; and purchased up-to-date drilling equipment. The mine produced well until closing in 1912. It was operated sporadically over the years until 1940 when operators installed a portable selective flotation concentrator to work both new ore and old tailings. Several thousand tons of ore processed in 1940-1942 yielded $125,000 worth of concentrates.

The nine-acre reclamation project lies within the Kootenai National Forest and is adjacent to the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness area.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the office of the Kootenai National Forest supervisor, 1101 U.S. Highway 2 in Libby. Reasonable accommodations will be provided for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in the meeting.

Contact the DEQ at 406-841-5029 for questions or needed accommodations.