BUTTE – Butte recently used the last of its $4 million Hard Rock mining fund.
All hard rock mining companies, like Montana Resources in Butte, pay into this fund each year and it becomes available to the communities to use for economic stimulus in the event the mine shuts down. Butte received access to this fund when Montana Resources brief shutdown in the early 2000s.
“We don’t ever want that to happen again, right. But once it does happen it allows access to these funds,” said Community Development Director Karen Byrnes.
Over the years, Butte used these funds to help several businesses in town locate to the Mining City or make renovations. The relocation of the Starbucks building in the former Hastings parking lot used the last $11,000 of the hard rock funds.
Now that these funds are depleted, the city will have to find other incentives.
“We can look in our community to find different ways to create pools of funds for local businesses and other incentive packages, ways for them to receive assistance for projects,” said Byrnes.
And while the city would much rather have Montana Resources remain operating over having access to hard rock funding, still when they did have access to that fund, it was a great incentive for economic development in Butte.
“Because that is something businesses look at, or industry looks at when they come to a community. Companies look for incentives when they’re looking at locating in a community,” said Byrnes.
Meanwhile, the Butte mining company continues to pay into a fund that Butte hopes it will never have to use.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News