Federal wildlife officials say a silver and copper mine proposed for northwestern Montana won't harm grizzly bears or other threatened or endangered species in the area.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services on Monday issued its final biological opinion on the proposed Montanore Silver-Copper Project located about 17 miles south of Libby.
Spokane, Wash.-based Mines Management Inc. has been working to permit the mine since 2005.
Permitting consultant Eric Klepfer says he expects the preliminary Environmental Impact Statement to be completed in June and a final record of decision by late this year.
The plan calls for surface operations just outside the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness Area, with drilling underneath.
The USFWS says the mine could lead to the loss of one federally protected grizzly bear, but required mitigation will make up for the loss.