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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

Feds approve expansion for central Idaho open pit mine

Associated Press

BOISE – Federal land managers on Thursday approved 10 more years of mining and a 500-acre expansion mostly on public land in central Idaho for one of the largest molybdenum mines in the world.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service each issued decisions allowing the work at Thompson Creek Mine about 20 miles southwest of Challis.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Jim Kopp, site manager for Thompson Creek Mining Co., noting work stopped in December 2014 as the company waited for approval of its 2008 request. “We’re happy that there’s a decision.”

He said the mine to date has produced about 452 million pounds of molybdenum and the expansion will allow the mining of 93 million more pounds. Kopp said the mine is currently in a care and maintenance mode with about 50 workers but won’t immediately restart because of low molybdenum prices. At full production, the mine is rural Custer County’s largest employer with about 400 workers.

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