NEW YORK Junior copper-silver miner Revett Minerals Inc. has announced "an immediate and significant reduction in the work force at its Troy Mine" in Montana as most operations remain suspended and production looks unlikely to resume this quarter as previously forecast.
The company, which temporarily halted mining activities at its flagship Troy Mine in the fourth quarter due to "unstable and unsafe ground conditions" (amm.com, March 11), said it had continued some underground development work during the outage in an attempt to regain access to a key mining zone. However, many of those crews will now be made redundant as structural damage at the mine remains.
"We have kept our experienced and skilled crews busy in recent months with maintenance and capital projects. However, the realization that ... underground mining operations will not resume by the end of the second quarter as planned has forced us to take difficult cost-reduction measures," Revett president and chief executive officer John Shanahan said in a statement May 23.
The crews had been focusing on two separate drifts in an attempt to regain access to the mining zone, according to the company. After completing the installation of structural reinforcements along the first drift, "unexpected structural damage and ground fall was discovered."
Crews are now focusing their efforts on the second drift into the mining zone, which is expected to be completed in about eight weeks. Once the second drift is finished, Revett will launch a full assessment of the ore body for structural damage before resuming mining operations, it said.
"If access can be safely re-established, mining operations into the A and C beds could possibly resume in the fourth quarter of this year. In the event that access ... is not possible, the company is currently evaluating alternative development plans in order to access established mining reserves in the A, C and I bed mining areas," the Spokane Valley, Wash.-based company said.
The mine produced nearly 7.56 million pounds of copper last year, down 29 percent from 10.65 million pounds in 2011, while silver output slid 14 percent to 1.11 million ounces from 1.29 million ounces in the same comparison.