True Butte legacy
With many of the recent cleanup issues being addressed, and others still on the table, it’s time for a refreshing look at mining in Butte.
The copper and silver produced from Butte provided for the electrification of the state of Montana, the cities of Butte, Great Falls, Missoula, Columbia Falls, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, as well as many other cities throughout the U. S.
Mining at Butte provided the impetus for placing dams on the Missouri at Great Falls to provide low-cost power for smelting and refining copper and oil, as well as affordable power for the people of Montana. The silver provided metal for currency, and chemicals for the fledgling photographic industry. Copper and manganese for the war efforts helped the U. S. win two world wars and help forge a lasting peace with two former enemies, Germany and Japan.
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Molybdenum is used as a universal lubricant in the auto industry, in specialty refractories, petroleum refining, and in steel used to build computers, cars, boats, trains, homes, schools, buildings, and stadiums.
The mines at Butte encouraged the need for a mining school at Butte, which eventually established a worldwide reputation, and contributed to an exceptional geology program at, of all places, the University of Montana at Missoula. It also helped pay for the new stadium there. The gold produced gives you reliable electronics because it does not oxidize. This is the true legacy of the mining at Butte.
Greg Zeihen, Helena