Posted: Mar 20, 2012 9:08 PM by Heath Heggem (KRTV Great Falls)
Updated: Mar 21, 2012 7:44 AM
GREAT FALLS- Michael Duane Roberts, who took over operations at the sapphire nine near Utica in central Montana just a few years ago, has died in an apparent mining accident.
Roberts was 54 years old. The Judith Basin County Coroner's Office tells us the accident was reported just before 4 a.m. on Monday.
Roberts was reportedly the only person in the mine and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The circumstances surrounding the accident are still being investigated.
Roberts had recently moved to Montana from Alaska when he took us on a tour of the mine back in 2009 (photo above).
He told us at the time he was seeking a new adventure and was hoping the mine would help him strike it rich. He renamed the historical site in the Little Belt Mountains the Roberts Yogo Mine and the site produces some of the most valuable gems in the world.