Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mining Engineering

Committee Chair

Paul Conrad

First Advisor

Scott Rosenthal

Second Advisor

Robert Pal


The project discussed in this thesis is part of a larger project developing trees that can tolerate and withstand heavy metals and acidic soils from historic mining operations in Butte Montana as a solution to re-establishing long-term tree growth on those sites. The project involved growing tree seedlings native to Butte, Montana and planting them on degraded mine soils, tailings, and processing wastes (mine waste) located within the Butte Priority Soil Operable Unit (BPSOU). The seedlings were grown for 34 weeks in a greenhouse located on Montana Tech’s campus before being transplanted to a contaminated site (the Clark Mill site) located within the BPSOU. The outcome of the project is expected to lead to a successful solution for re-establishing tree growth in the degraded mine waste in Butte with minimal post-planting human intervention. Work conducted on the project to date has shown successful growth of seedlings in degraded mine waste. It is believed that the final outcome of the project will result in significantly improved reclamation of the BPSOU through tree growth. This will result in improved and maintained water quality in Silver Bow Creek in Butte Area One that can be accomplished with lower development and maintenance costs.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Mining Engineering