Keeping Fingers Crossed For Balmat Zinc Mine's Future

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Local businessman Bill Lutz says he is hopeful the sale of the idled Balmat zinc mine to a Montreal, Quebec, company will go through.

Dozens of people will be hired and production resumed.

Lutz says the local economy, including his snowmobile and all terrain vehicle business has suffered, since the St. Lawrence Zinc mine shut down in August 2008 putting close to 200 workers out of a job.
 
"We need something good to happen in this neck of the woods," said Lutz, owner of Fun Unlimited.

Beaufiled Resources of Montreal has signed an exclusivity agreement and letter of intent with Canadian-based HudBay Minerals to acquire the mining operation for $12 million Canadian.

The mineral exploration company hopes to be able to buy the mine by the end of May.

A possible restart date for production is still weeks away but the company expects to be operational by year's end.
 
Geologists with the company believe the mine property has high potential both for zinc ore mining and mineral exploration.

While the actual acquisition hinges on Beaufield's ability to put together a financial package, local officials say they remain optimistic the mine will resume production and put people back to work.

"I do believe there's a lot of people looking for jobs and they will be well qualified for these positions - anything from mechanics to electricians," said Fowler Town Supervisor Michael Cappellino.
 
Even though zinc sold for $2 per pound when HudBay reopened the mine in 2005,current zinc prices stand at 95 cents per pound.
 
One worker at Bob's Market and Diner, who didn't want to be interviewed on camera, told us she was still skeptical about the mine's possible reopening.

"I'll believe it when I see it," she said.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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