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Sally Dunn, right, and Melody Ross work in the assay lab at the Pend Oreille Mine in Metaline Falls, Wash. A downturn in the nation’s economy is reducing the need for materials, and they are losing their jobs when the mine closes. Says Dunn, 43, “I don’t do a lot of it, but I’m praying. I hope they reopen this place; I’m fearful they won’t. I guess I thought that we were in a bubble up here, that what was happening in the economy wouldn’t touch us.” Adds Ross, 32, “We’re going to have a ghost town. We lost the mill, the cement plant and now the mine.”

Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review