This week, the Montana Supreme Court dealt what could be the final blow to the attempt by Lucky Minerals to mine for gold in the Paradise Valley near Yellowstone National Park.

An attorney for Earthjustice, Jenny Harbine explained.

“This case has been going on for about five years now and involves a fight by a community in Park County, Montana to stop the Canadian mining company from drilling for gold in the Paradise Valley and to prevent the resulting harm to wildlife, water and the local economy,” said Harbine. “This week the Montana Supreme Court found that the permit issued to Lucky Minerals to conduct that exploratory gold drilling was invalid and set aside the permit which will prevent that exploratory drilling from occurring.”

In addition, Harbine said the court invalidated a state law regarding mining and the environment.

“Importantly, the Montana Supreme Court also ruled that amendments to state law by our legislature in 2011, that have prohibited courts from invalidating permits that were unlawfully issued, is unconstitutional and violated Montanans right to a clean and healthful environment by stripping them at the ability to prevent environmental harm,” she said.

Harbine said it will be difficult for Lucky Minerals to mount another effort to mine near Yellowstone National Park.

“Certainly at this stage, Lucky Minerals, if they want to pursue exploratory drilling in the Paradise Valley, has to go back to the drawing board and would need to resubmit an application to the state for that exploration,” she said. “However, I'll say the bruising that Lucky Minerals has taken at every turn both inside and outside the courtroom from this community that does not want a mine developed in Paradise Valley should cause it to think twice before it does.”

Earlier, a Montana district court quashed Lucky Minerals’ permit to explore for gold in Emigrant Gulch.

 

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