Lincoln County Coverage

Jan 24, 2013 9:41 AM by Tara Oster - KAJ News

Troy mine workers still have jobs despite setback

LIBBY - Employees at the Troy Mine still have their jobs. That news comes after rock slides suspended production last month causing fear that some 200 workers might lose their jobs.

Reporter Tara Oster attended a special meeting between Revett Minerals and the Lincoln County Commission to learn more about what's going on at the mine.

"We haven't laid anybody off. We've given people the option whether they want to take vacation or they want to take days off or continue to work," Vice President of Operations Doug Miller explained.

Those employees who opted to keep working are doing maintenance for now after slides and unstable ground along the main underground haulage route in mid-December caused Revett Minerals to temporarily halt production at the Troy Mine due to safety concerns.

"Next week the intent is to come in from the south side of the ore body and work our way back to the north and see what the extent of that ground fall is," Miller said.

The company will assess the damage on the Jan. 28 and then come up with a specific timeline for their next steps, but as of right now they haven't determined a date to resume production.

While employees still have their jobs, one citizen pointed out during Wednesday's meeting that the current situation is still a cash flow drain for the company.

"Our intent now is to try to keep people working until we can get onto the other side - know that it's coming next week and formulate a plan," Miller said.

Company officials have promised to keep open lines of communication between themselves, the county commissioners, and the public, as they learn more about the extent of the rock fall.

Revett representative say this is a difficult time, but add they feel the company is solid financially to deal with this setback.

"They'll have ups and downs, and this is one of the downs, but it's a very safe company and they do a lot for our community," Lincoln County Commissioner Ron Downey pointed out.

County commissioners say they're encouraged about the damage assessment later this month, and are looking forward to hearing about a strategic plan from Revett officials.

Meanwhile, company officials say plans are still moving ahead on the Rock Creek project in Sanders County.

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