High-tech startup Metals U.S. announced plans this week to establish headquarters in Missoula, a move that CEO John Hammen says could create 120 new high-paying jobs.
The company uses a sustainable technology initially developed at NASA that can be used in mining and remediation.
"Montanans are very concerned," said Hammen. "We have a great mining legacy in this state, in terms of mineral availability, but we also have a lot of concerns and issues with practices that have been done in the past. We think we can change all of that."
Hammen says a major application for his company's technology is to filter wastewater.
In any mining process, water plays a big part in separating and cleaning the mined material. It results in massive amounts of toxic wastewater, which is is what fills Butte's Berkeley Pit.
"The reason that the mining industry is not able to clean things up is because they don't have the technology to separate metals efficiently," said Hammen. "We can provide that technology."
Hammen says Metals U.S. already has four contracts lined up in Montana.
His family is from Missoula, but that is not the only reason he's making the city his headquarters.
"We really think that Missoula, with its combination of environmental awareness and desire to see cleaner uses of our resources, could be a great place to launch this kind of technology," said Hammen.
For more information about Metals U.S., click here.