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Revett ramps up production at Troy mine

| June 30, 2006 12:00 AM

Production is ramping up at Revett Minerals' Troy mine while work continues on a revised biological opinion for the company's Rock Creek project, Revett officials told the Lincoln County Commissioners Wednesday.

Revett vice president for operations Carson Rife and Troy mine general manager Doug Miller met with the commissioners as part of what Rife called Revett's "good neighbor approach," aimed at keeping communications open and soliciting comments from stakeholders.

Revett is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Rock Creek biological opinion, a draft of which is expected to be released in July, Rife said. As a result of a lawsuit filed by a coalition of environmental groups, additional study is being required of possible impacts to endangered grizzly bears and bull trout.

The company is also working on updated road and water treatment proposals according to stipulations in a record of decision issued by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Forest Service, Rife said.

About 160 people are currently employed at the Troy mine, and some additional hiring is planned to help provide a trained workforce for the Rock Creek mine when it becomes operational, Rife said.

The copper and silver mine near Troy was permitted in 1978 and was operated by ASARCO until it was closed in the early 1990s. It was later reopened under Revett's management. The company recently reported a profit for the first time, credited to increased production at Troy and strong metal prices.

An upswing in metal prices is also contributing to an increase in the expected lifespan of the re-opened Troy mine from four years to five years. Additional exploration at the mine is planned for this summer.

Located at the southern edge of the Cabinet Mountains near Noxon, the proposed Rock Creek mine is expected to create 250 to 300 jobs paying around $40,000 a year.