TROY – Employees at Revett Minerals’ copper and silver operation here have been given another reprieve, thanks to rising metal prices and cheaper diesel fuel.
The Troy Mine’s 185 employees were told in December that if markets didn’t improve they could be laid off by Feb. 12. That deadline was pushed back to the end of February, and now company officials say the mine will stay open through March.
“There’s a great story here, of perseverance and focus, and of getting on during tough times,” said John Shanahan, Revett’s president and CEO. “We’re a relatively small mine, and we’ve survived this where others haven’t.”
Shanahan said the mine is averaging well over 4,000 tons of ore per day, up from the 3,000-ton range in recent years. The price of diesel fuel also has dropped, as has the cost of steel, explosives and other raw materials.
And the mine found “a little bit of breathing room” this winter by restructuring significant debt and pushing payments into the middle of 2009, while miners and management agreed to pay cuts, Shanahan said.
Those efforts, along with squeezing more life out of each piece of equipment, shaved an estimated 15 percent from overall operating costs, he said.
But owners say they will continue to assess the mine on a monthly basis.
“At the end of March, we’ll have to make another decision about April,” Shanahan said. “But right now, things are looking pretty good.”
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