HELENA – The company behind the proposed Black Butte Copper Project central Montana is getting a new name; Tintina Resources is now Sandfire Resources America, Inc.

Sandfire is a company that currently operates a copper mine in Western Australia. While the change is official February 2, 2018, CEO John Shanahan said this decision has been in the works for some time.

“We just felt particularly as we went through some of the scoping meetings, and questions were asked like ‘who is Tintina? Is it just another junior mining company?’ Well the fact is – it isn’t. We felt the best way we could explain to all stakeholders is our association with Sandfire,” Shanahan said.

Story continues below

Last fall, Sandfire acquired 78 percent of Tintina, but has had a financial stake in the company since 2014, when the company acquired 36 percent.

That leaves 22 percent of the company left, and Shanahan believes that’s a good thing for Montanans.

“Somewhere between 250 and 300 shareholders in Montana, so the reason today that Sandfire is not 100 percent is because they want to make sure that those shareholders particularly in Montana who have had a long term interested and are extremely supportive, still have an opportunity to participate and be part of this project,” Shanahan added.

According to the CEO, Sandfire’s presence can already be seen in the plans for the Black Butte Copper Project near White Sulphur Springs.

“A lot of the innovations and a lot of the really high profile technical aspects of the project such as the cemented tailings, a lot of these process were part of when Sandfire initially became part of the company so I think you already see their influence on the project to make it the best project that it can be,” he explained.

Shanahan also said Sandifre’s Australian copper mine DeGrussa has been recognized internationally as an industry leader and this change in name won’t mean a change in plans for Project.

“We’re not a junior mining company; we’re part of a large, international mining company that’s dedicated to responsible resource development. The mine plan, the people, the commitment, is not going to change,” explained Shanahan.

The DEQ wrapped up public scoping meetings and released the report early January. Shanahan said the environmental impact statement is expected to be completed by late summer or early fall.