Snow geese deaths from mine pit number in the thousands

Mine officials say it's likely that several thousand migrating snow geese died after landing in the toxic waters of an old open pit mine in Montana last week.

Montana Resources and Atlantic Richfield Co. officials tell The Montana Standard ( that federal and state agencies are still verifying their counts, which are based on photos taken from drone and aircraft flights over the 700-acre Berkeley Pit in Butte that's now a Superfund site.

MR environmental affairs manager Mark Thompson said Tuesday the company expects the total deaths will be several times more than the 342 that died in 1995.

Mine officials estimate that that tens of thousands of snow geese landed in the pit during a snowstorm on Nov. 28. Mine officials have worked to haze the birds off the water and prevent others from landing.

The pit holds an estimated 45 billion gallons of acidic, metal-laden water.


Information from: The Montana Standard,