KD Feeback, geologist at the McDonald Mine, is not concerned about the hullabaloo over the environmental impact statement, the clean-water initiative or any opposition to the mine.
KD Feeback: "If you
look at the history of mine permitting, our EIS process is normal
for a project this size. They are always tedious and contentious.
There are obviously a lot of people with a vested interest in
seeing this project fail, and they will oppose us at every step.
"But we are not in charge of the EIS. We paid
for it and we will provide whatever data we are asked to provide
and that's the end of our involvement. The data is excellent
quality. The people part of it is completely out of our control.
All we can do is wait, along with everybody else.
"When I hear arguments against our proposal,
from a technical standpoint there is very little substance. From an
emotional standpoint, how can you deal with it? If you don't like
mining, quit using the commodities that come from it. I'm a 1970s
hipster type. I'm not nearly as callous to the touchy-feely stuff.
But if everyone in the U.S. had a rudimentary understanding of
geochemistry, 65 to 70 percent of environmental concerns would be
"From a technical standpoint, this is
such an exemplary ore body. The sulfides are negligible. There are
no bad-acting metals. I've drilled a million holes since 1989. I
was the first person on this project with Phelps Dodge. There are
no important risks. This is not a dangerous project. Size has
little to do with risk factor. Our waste rock piles are sculpted to
mimic topography. We will reclaim as we go along. When we finish,
there will be pine trees that are 12 years old. This is absolutely
the coolest thing I've ever worked on ...
a technical standpoint, (the clean-water initiative) had nothing to
do with clean-water at all, in any way. That initiative was
oriented expressly to stifle and, if possible, forbid mining. And
how can you penalize one industry in Montana and not the rest of