The Troy mine is owned by Revett Minerals, the same company that owns the rights to the proposed Rock Creek mine. The Troy mine is located approximately 20 air miles from the proposed Rock Creek site, and has been used as an analog for what to expect at that yet to be permitted project. Since December of 2012, the Troy mine has been closed because of significant rock fall that has made the operation unsafe. While the mining company works to gain access to the idle Troy mine, the public and the permitting agencies need to pay attention to the happenings at Troy and recognize the implications for the proposed Rock Creek mine.
The Flathead Beacon
By: Justin Franz
Miners in Lincoln County have started digging a new tunnel in hopes of reopening Revett Minerals Inc.’s Troy Mine in 2014. The Mine Safety and Health Administration approved the plan to build a new development drift in October and work began this month.
As work commences underground, Revett is trying to change its jurisdiction of incorporation, a move that CEO and President John Shanahan says will save the company money. The company will now be incorporated in Delaware and will be renamed Revett Mining Company Inc.
“It’s like changing the registration on your car from Canada to the United States,” Shanahan said. “It’s the same old car, it just has different plates.”
Although all of Revett’s approximately 70 employees are in the U.S., the company was incorporated in Toronto. Shanahan said the Canadian city is the epicenter of the North American mining industry and it was important to be close to that center when the company started out in the early 2000s. Now that Revett is an established entity, it’s less important to have a connection to Toronto.
The change in jurisdiction still has to be approved by Revett’s shareholders. Shanahan said the move would help reduce costs, streamline its corporate structure and minimize tax exposure. He added that the company has to pay taxes and follow corporate regulations in both Canada and the U.S., which adds an unneeded burden.
Reincorporating in Delaware is a common move in the corporate world and Shanahan said it is the first step toward incorporating in Montana.
“We would prefer to be a Montana company, but we can’t do a continuance from Canada to Montana so we have to go to Delaware,” he said.
Shanahan said the reincorporation was possible, in part, because how far the company’s stock price has fallen in the last year. In October 2012, Revett stock was worth more than $3 a share. This week it was set at 61 cents.
A year ago, mining at Troy came to a sudden halt after a series of underground rockslides. This spring the company laid off more than half of its workforce. Today about 65 people are working at the mine. The company was hopeful it could use a preexisting tunnel to go around the rock falls, but earlier this autumn that tunnel was found to be structurally unstable. Now the company will spend $12 million and nearly a year building a new drift to gain access to the ore.
But regardless of the delays, Shanahan has repeatedly said the company is not going to give up on the Troy Mine. The mine was first opened in 1981 and ran until the early 1990s. Revett reopened it in the early 2000s. The company is also working on developing the Rock Creek Mine underneath the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness in nearby Sanders County.