By Michelle Bigelbach
The Courier 

Bentonite Mining Underway in Valley County


November 15, 2017

Millions of Americans need bentonite every day, but many don’t even know it.

To supply that demand, bentonite mining started in Valley County on Nov. 13, on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management Glasgow Field Office. According to BLM Geologist Craig Towery, mobilizing of equipment for the mining has started. Throughout the next couple of weeks, there will be an increase in traffic in the area as the equipment comes and goes during mining operations. BLM officials would like the public to be extra cautious when driving in and around the area.

Mining operations are scheduled to shut down for the year on Nov. 30. “Since the mining is taking place during hunting season, we are asking hunters to take extra safety precautions when in the vicinity of the mining activity,” said BLM Glasgow Field Manager Pat Gunderson. This mine is also within the Sagebrush Focal Area. “The BLM is honoring valid and existing rights on unpatented mining claims in accordance with our new Resource Management Plan,” explained Gunderson.

Operations began as an open pit bentonite mine about two acres in size, approximately 20 miles southwest of Glasgow. This is a portion of a total of 17.8 acres that was approved to mine in April 2016. “Bentonite is a locatable mineral used for a wide variety of industrial purposes, including: medical products, binder, drilling mud and even cosmetic make-up,” said Towery.

For more information, contact Craig Towery at 406-538-1906 or [email protected].


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