Montana’s Smith River is renowned for its spectacular scenery, towering limestone canyons, and blue-ribbon trout fishery. It is Montana’s only permitted recreational river due to the exceptional public demand for its fishing and recreational opportunities.
It depends on clean cold water from its tributaries to sustain its abundant trout and the agricultural operations downstream. Demands on the river’s waters already exceed available flows in many years, creating challenges for downstream water users.
This beloved Montana river is now at risk from a small Canadian start up company – Tintina – that seeks to develop a major copper mine at the headwaters of the Smith River, along Sheep Creek, 20 miles north of White Sulphur Springs in central Montana. The mine hasn’t submitted formal plans, but its mineral leases and claims cover about 12,000 acres, and the company projects an 11-year mine life.