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Hecla to buy mining company in $20 M stock deal

Buyout of Revett puts Hecla in charge of controversial Northwest Montana mining project

Hecla Mining Co. will acquire a mining company attempting to earn a permit to dig silver and copper from a Northwest Montana ore deposit that has drawn the ire of conservationists worried about wilderness protections and water quality for endangered fish.

The $20 million deal for Revett Mining was announced Friday. Hecla intends to continue advance permitting of the Rock Creek project, which the mining companies say contains one of the largest undeveloped silver and copper deposits in North America - 229 million ounces of silver and 2 billion pounds of copper.

It lies about 50 miles north of Hecla’s underground Lucky Friday silver mine in Mullan, Idaho.

Hecla also anticipates closing and reclaiming Revett’s nearby Troy silver mine. Revett put that mine into care and maintenance in January.

The Rock Creek project has been undertaken by many other mining companies following the discovery of potentially rich ore deposits 51 years ago that lie beneath what is now the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.

Hecla, based in Coeur d’Alene, is one of the nation’s oldest mining companies and this week celebrated 50 years of inclusion on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We are acquiring Revett with an eye to the future, as Rock Creek is a world-class silver-copper deposit,” Hecla chief executive Phillips Baker said in a Friday press release.

John Shanahan, the CEO of Revett, said Hecla brings the needed money and technical capabilities to mine the Rock Creek deposit.

This story will be updated.

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