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Site of rockfall still closed, under investigation

by Erika Kirsch Western News Editor
| August 29, 2007 12:00 AM

It's been two weeks since mining operations reconvened at the Revett Mine in Troy following a fatal incident that killed one man and sent two others to the hospital with minor injuries.

On July 30, an isolated rockfall in a tunnel roof of the mine killed mine mechanic Mike Ivins, 55, and sent Josh Peterson and Allen Layer to receive emergency care. Ivins was working on equipment needed to support the rock roof. The mine was subsequently shut down for an investigation.

There are approximately 170 employees working at the mine, with 70 of those being miners, according to Lloyd Doney, Human Resource manager at the mine. According to Revett Minerals Chief Financial Officer Scott Brunsdon, there have been approximately 10 resignations since the incident occurred. However, Doney could not confirm that number.

An official cause of the cave-in has not been determined, Brunsdon said, and Revett has retained additional geotechnical experts to contribute to ongoing inquiries.

However, on Aug. 9 the mill re-opened and on Aug. 12 the other mining operations were restarted, Brunsdon said. The entire mine is open save for the location where the accident ocurred, Brunsdon explained.

That area includes the east ore body edge. It's not a very high traffic area of the mine and it's in the "end of the mineral zone," Brunsdon said.

An investigation by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration is ongoing in the region where the rockfall ocurred. It is unclear when the area will be opened, Brunsdon added. Revett Minerals also has a geotech consultant reviewing the area, Brunsdon said.

A full report of the accident has not been released and an official cause of the rockfall has not been established.

The Troy Mine, which is owned by Revett Minerals in Spokane Valley, produces 3.2 million ounces of silver and 26 million pounds of copper each year.