HELENA, Mont. -

State environmental regulators have given Tintina Resources permission to drill four wells to assess the groundwater in the area of its proposed copper mine in central Montana.
    
Tintina Alaska Exploration vice president Jerry Zieg says the company plans to begin the 30-day test at the site of the Black Butte Copper Mine as soon as possible.
    
The company plans to drill three pumping wells and a monitoring well at depths of 200 to 400 feet to learn where the groundwater starts, how deep it goes and how quickly it recharges.
    
The mine is near Sheep Creek, a tributary of the Smith River.
    
The Department of Environmental Quality is requiring Tintina to store the pumped water in a tank rather than a lined pond. The water contains some arsenic and will be sprayed over a 12-acre area.