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Montana Open-pit Mining, I-147 (2004)

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The Montana Open-pit Mining Initiative, also known as I-147, was on the November 2, 2004 ballot in Montana as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated. The measure would have allowed new mines to use cyanide leach processing at open-pit gold and silver mines.[1][2]

Election results

Montana I-147 (2004)
Defeatedd No257,28058.04%
Yes 185,974 41.96%

Election results via: Montana Secretary of State

Text of measure

The text of the measure can be read here.


The initiative was sponsored primarily by Canyon Resources, a Colorado mining company who funded the campaign organization Miners, Merchants and Montanans for Jobs and Economic Opportunity For I-147. The official argument for the initiative was prepared by Senator Debbie Shea, Montana GOP Committeewoman Betti Hill and Don Serba. They argued that the 1998 ban on the use of the cyanide in mining in Montana had far-reaching, negative effects on the state's economy. They also assured voters that the initiative would require miners to comply with strict new environmental regulations.[3]


I-147 was opposed by Montana Conservation Voters, who argued that the cyanide-leach mining technology fails to protect the private property rights of adjoining landowners, exposes taxpayers to clean-up costs, and causes both ground and surface waters to be poisoned, posing a threat to public health, trout and other aquatic life. They also claimed that the so-called "new" environmental regulations had, in fact, already failed at mines in Montana. They also argued that Section 2 of the initiative grants a "special deal" to Canyon Resources.

The group also disagreed with the argument that the 1998 ban on cyanide-leach mining hurt Montana's economy, citing the University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research's findings that there were more mining jobs in Montana in 2004 than before the ban.[4][3]

Campaign financing

Major donors who were proponents of the measure include Miners Merchants and Montanans for Jobs and Economic Opportunity, who spent a total of $3,785,578 towards the proposed amendment.

Groups opposing the measure included Save the Blackfoot Vote No On I-47, who spent $419,903, and Montanans for Common Sense Mining Laws-Against I-47, who spent $114,313 towards the campaign against the proposed amendment.[5]

See also

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External links


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