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Court: more study needed on Yellowstone-area gold mining

A gold exploration proposal just north of Yellowstone National Park has suffered a significant setback with a court ruling that says Montana officials understated mining’s potential harm to land, water and wildlife.

State Judge Brenda Gilbert said in a ruling made public Friday that the Montana Department of Environmental Quality should have conducted a more extensive review of the proposal from Lucky Minerals.

The Canadian company received approval last year to begin exploration work in the Emigrant Gulch area of southern Montana’s Paradise Valley.

That prompted environmental groups to sue on behalf of local residents, who are concerned mining could reduce tourism and pollute the nearby Yellowstone River.

Gilbert says state officials gave too much deference to the company in their consideration of the project.

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