EMIGRANT, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has approved a 20-year ban on new mining claims in the mountains north of Yellowstone National Park after two proposed gold mines raised concerns the area could be spoiled.
Zinke signed the mineral ban Monday at a ceremony in Montana's Paradise Valley. The former Montana congressman was joined by local officials and others who support the move.
It extends a temporary ban imposed in 2016 under President Barack Obama. Most of the land is within the Custer Gallatin National Forest but the underground minerals are overseen by the Interior Department.
Colin Davis with the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition says his group will now focus on making the ban permanent through measures pending before Congress.
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U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is in southwestern Montana, where he's expected to approve a plan to block new mining claims on public lands near Yellowstone National Park.
Zinke's office says the former Montana congressman will make a major announcement during his visit Monday to the Paradise Valley north of the park.
Colin Davis of the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition has been asked to speak at the event. He says he expects Zinke to approve the 20-year mining ban for lands in the Paradise Valley and the Gardiner Basin.
The ban would include new claims for gold, silver and other minerals across 30,000 acres (12,140 hectares).
The new ban would extend a two-year ban imposed by former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell that was set to expire next month.

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