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Troy Mine efforts re-establish mining route

by Alan Lewis Gerstenecker
| September 11, 2013 1:45 PM

The Revett Troy Mine, which ceased mineral extraction in December because of ground fall, is closer to resuming operations.

In a statement released Friday, Revett Minerals, Inc., states the company has had success “to re-establish access to the mining areas in the A and C beds via the lower quartzite route.

“We are pleased to confirm that the D Drive is indeed viable,” CEO and President John Shanahan said. “We remain cautiously optimistic that the remainder of this access route will meet our standards of safety, but we cannot be categorically be sure until all inspections are complete. Our commitment to getting the Troy Mine back into operation has not wavered, nor has our commitment to the safety of our employees.”

Since the suspension of underground activities in December, the company has monitored conditions underground and has taken efforts to identify a viable and safe route back into the previously established mining areas.

On Wednesday, Sept. 4, Troy Mine’s Operating Team, along with its geotechnical consultant and a Mine Health and Safety Administration representative were able to inspect an area extending approximately 400 feet south of the D Drive to current water levels. Initial observations reveal safe travel conditions to this point, the Revett statement said.

During the next 30 to 60 days, company workers will continue to dewater and further inspect this route meets operating standards. If inspections continue to indicate no further structural damage at the lower quartzite level, then mining operations could possibly resume as early as the fourth quarter of 2013.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” said Monique Hayes, Revett corportate secretary and spokeswoman. “We broke through on the D Drive. Everything looks good, but we need to dewater the area for 30 to 60 days.”

Shanahan said while he is optimistic he does not want to give miners laid off May 28 false hope.

“It is promising news,” Shanahan said. “We have good employees, and we can’t make promises we can’t fulfill. We know there are people out there making decisions about their families, where they want to live. I’d like to tell you that on Nov. 10 we’ll be back to work, but I just can’t do that. We just can’t say for sure. I’ve got to be realistic.”

Despite Shanahn’s cautionary tone, laid off miner James G. Shaw took the news well.

“I’ve been applying everywhere,” said Shaw, a driller who’s been at the mine two years.. “Hey, I’d be willing to go back today. If it pans out, it means we can stay in this area.”

For more than six months, the mine retained all its workers. Just before Memorial Day, the mine announced layoffs.

Currently, the mine employs about 75 people. Up until the week before the start of Memorial Day weekend, Revett officials had about 170 workers, down from the slightly more than 200 who were employed there before the December ore-extraction process halted.