Troy Mine Could Reopen In April

By Beacon Staff

Officials with Revett Minerals, Inc. say the Troy Mine could reopen as soon as the first week of April. Meanwhile, miners have returned underground to remove loose rock, solidify mine walls and pump flooded areas.

The Lincoln County copper and silver mine employs more than 200 people and has been closed since December, when a series of rock falls made production too dangerous.

“(April) is our goal right now, but that depends on the condition of the lower haulage route,” said communication director Monique Hayes.

The Troy Mine first opened in 1981 and operated until 1993. Revett reopened the mine in 2005. Late last year, production was slowed when rain and freezing temperatures caused unstable ground conditions. On Dec. 1, all underground activities were suspended. Since then, Revett has been working with Mine Safety and Health Administration to inspect the site.

Last week, Revett and MSHA officials entered the mine through the south adit only to find the haulage route blocked 3,000 feet from the portal. Now, inspectors will have to find another route to that area. In another part of the mine, workers are currently scaling and solidifying areas near the north ore body, Revett’s primary source of copper and silver. Groundwater that flooded sections of the mine is also being pumped out.

“We are pleased that our assessments to date of the north ore body… indicate that it is largely unaffected by recent structural ground issues,” CEO John Shanahan said in a press release. “Regaining full and safe access to these areas and developing new haulage and regress routes will be our prime focus over the coming eight to 10 weeks.”

The slowdown late last year had a significant effect on Revett’s production. In 2012, the company brought in $18.7 million in net cash, down nearly $10 million from what it made in 2011. Silver production for 2012 was 1,112,089 ounces, compared to 1,291,010 ounces in 2011. And copper production was 7,555,215 pounds compared to 10,651,494 pounds the previous year. The issues at the Troy Mine have also affected the company’s stock value. On Nov. 13, when production began to slow down because of rock falls, Revett stock was worth $3.47 a share. This week a share is worth $2.30, the lowest since 2010.

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