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MDEQ Authorizes Butte Highlands JV to Construct and Operate Proposed Underground Gold Mine

Timberline Resources Corporation ("Timberline" or the "Company") announced today that the Montana Department of Environmental Quality ("MDEQ") has authorized Butte Highlands Joint Venture ("BHJV") to construct and operate its proposed underground gold mine south of Butte, Montana by publishing its Record of Decision ("ROD") on the Final Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS") for the project.

The MDEQ, which was tasked with evaluating and selecting a plan for operating the mine, has selected the Agency Mitigated Alternative authorizing BHJV to construct and operate the proposed mine with certain modifications to some aspects of BHJV's proposed plan.

In announcing its decision in the ROD, the MDEQ noted, "The DEQ has selected the Agency Mitigated Alternative, authorizing BHJV to construct and operate the proposed underground gold mine. A detailed description of the Agency Mitigated Alternative is set forth on pages 51 through 62 of the Final EIS. This alternative meets the purpose and need for the proposal and complies with the substantive requirements of the Metal Mine Reclamation Act, the Montana Air or Water Quality acts, and the Montana Public Water Supply Act. The Agency Mitigated Alternative includes reasonable mitigation measures addressing compliance issues associated with protecting water resources as required by Section 82-4-336(10), MCA. While some of these mitigation measures were not included in the Draft Permit, they were developed in consultation with BHJV and are included in the Final Permit with the consent of BHJV."

The MDEQ added, "The Agency Mitigated Alternative includes modifications to some aspects of the Proposed Action. Under the Agency Mitigated Alternative, DEQ would require additional water quality monitoring, mitigations for reductions in flows during groundwater recharge after mining ceases, and flow augmentation in Fish Creek."

Timberline owns a 50-percent carried-to-production interest in BHJV, which owns the Butte Highlands Gold Project where mining is expected to commence following the issuance of the final hard rock operating permit ("Final HROP") and the U.S. Forest Service ("USFS") approval of a road-use plan of operations for material haulage. Timberline's joint venture partner is funding all mine development costs through to commercial production with Timberline's share of those costs to be repaid from proceeds of future mine production.

Kiran Patankar, Timberline's President and CEO, commented, "It is gratifying for the BHJV team to have achieved this key permitting milestone after a very lengthy process since submitting the Draft EIS for the project. We are pleased with the consultation between the MDEQ and BHJV, with critical input from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and Butte-Silver Bow. This cooperation has led to a sensible 'win-win' mitigation plan for the project, which provides for restoration of the site to pre-historic mining conditions in order to improve fisheries and provide significant economic benefits to the community. We now look forward to the USFS completing the road permit and ongoing cooperation with the regulatory agencies and the city and county of Butte-Silver Bow."

The ROD includes a final Basin Creek Stream Flow Nonsignficance Determination which concludes that reduced stream flow in upper Basin Creek that would result from plugging of the historic Highland Mine adit does not constitute significant degradation to the environment. The complete text of the ROD may be viewed at

With a positive ROD now issued, the DEQ is currently calculating the amount of a reclamation bond for the project. Key elements in that calculation have already been completed including estimates for plugging of the historic Highland Mine adit. The Final HROP can be issued once BHJV posts the reclamation bond.

Other critical permits required to allow mining to begin have already been issued including the Montana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("MPDES") Permit, MDEQ Air Quality Permit, EPA Underground Injection Control Permit, Conservation District 310 Permit, and an Army Corp of Engineers 404 Nationwide Permit. In addition, Butte-Silver Bow County has approved BHJV as a commercial water customer to support mitigation measures identified in the ROD.

The Company also today announces a revised schedule for completion of the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") environmental review by the USFS Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest on the proposed Plan of Operations for the Butte Highlands Mine Haul Road. The USFS issued a draft Environmental Assessment ("EA") in March, 2014 and now schedules release of a draft decision for public comment on March 18, 2015. The final decision is scheduled for May 11, 2015.


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