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Press Release

U.S. Government Files Civil Suit Involving Lincoln Area Mining Claims

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

HELENA – The United States Attorney’s Office announces today that a civil suit has been filed in federal court against George Kornec, Philip Nappo, and Intermountain Mining and Refining, LLC, in relation to alleged unauthorized illegal actions on mining claims in the Helena National Forest.  Kornec and Nappo are the managers or members of Intermountain Mining and Refining, LLC, according to a business entry on the Montana Secretary of State’s website.  The civil suit is being brought by attorneys in the Montana United Attorney’s Office on behalf of the United States Forest Service.

“The miners will have their day in court.  These disputes will be resolved by the rule of law in a federal courtroom,” said Montana U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter.

“The Forest Service has worked with the owner and operator of White Hope mine for decades,” said T. David Smith, Director of Public and Government Relations for the Forest Service’s Northern Region.  “It is unfortunate that today’s action has become necessary.  However, we have an obligation to ensure that all activities conducted on National Forest System lands are done so in accordance with the law and federal regulations.”

According to court documents filed today, the United States government asks the federal district court to find that Kornec, Nappo and Intermountain Mining and Refining, LLC, have failed to comply with regulations governing their unpatented mining claims and to find that they are illegally interfering with property of the United States, which is managed by the United States Forest Service.  Court filings further state that the government requests that the court permanently enjoin Kornec, Nappo and Intermountain Mining and Refining from such activity in the future until and unless a plan of operation authorizing mining activities has been approved by the United States Forest Service.  The Complaint requests that if a plan is not approved, that the building and roads that were constructed without approval be removed and reclaimed, and that Kornec, Nappo and Intermountain Mining and Refining, LLC, be ordered to cease and desist with interfering with public access across the unpatented mining claims.

To access further details and court filings related to this case, please see PACER case reference 15-78, at

Updated August 12, 2015

Press Release Number: LAURA WEISS, Public Information Officer, (406) 457-5274