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High gold prices mean mine will stay open

Strong gold prices are making it profitable to keep the Golden Sunlight Mine here open through 2015, company officials said.

The mine had been slated to close this year, but general manager Tim Dimock said with gold prices hovering around $900 an ounce, the company plans to expand the pit and produce an additional 400,000 ounces of gold.

“With the higher price of metal, we’re able to pay more to get at the ore,” Dimock said. “We can continue to mine the same deposit we’ve been mining for the last 25 years.”

Golden Sunlight, which is owned by the Canadian company Barrick Gold Corp., opened in 1983. Dimock said with the surge in gold prices, the company plans to expand the open pit mine into an area that was buried with tailings years ago.

It will take several years for the tailings to be removed, so actual recovery of the ore is years away.

Associated Press


Galena Mine turns $1 million profit

U.S. Silver Corp. reported $1 million in profits during the first quarter, a milestone for the firm.

U.S. Silver owns the Galena Mine near Silverton, Idaho, which it purchased in mid-2006. At the time, the Galena was a money-loser.

Since then, the company has been working toward profitability. Higher metals prices and production improvements helped U.S. Silver achieve that goal during the first quarter, according to a press release put out by Mark Hartmann, U.S. Silver’s president.

The number of workers at the Galena has doubled over the past year to 210 mine employees plus 65 contractors. The 352,000 ounces of silver produced during the first quarter represents a 24 percent rise since the fourth quarter of 2007.

Becky Kramer


Chickens test positive for bird flu exposure

Tyson Foods Inc. has begun killing and burying 15,000 hens from a flock that tested positive for exposure to a strain of the bird flu in northwest Arkansas, state officials said Tuesday.

Tyson said preliminary tests on the flock indicated the presence of antibodies for H7N3, a less virulent strain of the virus.

Routine blood tests conducted Friday found the possible exposure, said Jon Fitch, director of the state’s Livestock and Poultry Commission.

Fitch said the company immediately began disposing of the birds.

“There is absolutely no human health threat,” Fitch said. “But we take this very seriously.”

Fitch said state officials decided against announcing the infection to the general public because the birds tested positive for exposure to the H7N3 strain of the virus. The strain that ravaged Asian poultry stocks in late 2003 was H5N1 bird flu virus. That version of the virus has killed 240 people worldwide and scientists worry it could mutate into a form that spreads easily among people.

Associated Press


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