Echo Bay Mines received approval late Friday to develop the Lamefoot gold deposit at its Kettle River mine near Republic, Wash.
The federal Bureau of Land Management gave the final go-ahead for the Lamefoot expansion. The project will extend the mine below the current 2,750-foot level to reach the base of the gold deposit.
The BLM in 1994 required Echo Bay to conduct further studies beyond the initial environmental impact statement on the Lamefoot project. The further studies concluded that the expansion would have low environmental impact, the Denver-based company said in a release.
The Kettle River project has employed more than 200 people with a payroll of $56 million since its opening in 1988. The approval of the expansion lengthens the life of the mine operations.