BALMAT, N.Y. (WWNY) - Empire State Mine says it has made promising zinc finds - not at its main mine, but south of there. Those finds could lead to expansion.
They say it's so close to the surface that they could mine it without sending miners underground. Instead, they could pit-mine it with heavy equipment.
The company recently told investors that zinc has been found as little as 11 feet underground in Balmat in St. Lawrence County.
Don Taylor, the CEO of Empire State Mine's parent company had this to say about it: “We have identified several near-surface targets at the mine site, and in the district, which we believe present an opportunity for ESM to add low-cost near-term production...The current drill program will allow us to evaluate the zones quickly for potential mining."
He went on say the mill one mile north at the existing Empire State Mine is not operating at full capacity. The zinc at Balmat could fill that void. All that is now giving people in Fowler hope again, following layoffs at the mine in February.
“Most people are cautiously optimistic. And I am myself. I would like to see more expansion,” said Michael Cappellino, Fowler town supervisor.
Empire State Mine says it has called back 26 miners laid off in February. It now has 107 people working. People hope for a resurgence in the mining that once made Fowler a bustling place.
“We need the industry. We need something to keep our people here, our young people,” said Karen Simmons, Fowler town councilor and historian.
Empire State Mine said earlier this year it would be looking for zinc at up to 20 sites in St. Lawrence County.
The company recently raised $4.7 million for exploration and projects like this. And most of that money was raised from company directors and executives.
That shows people running the company have faith in what the ground here may hold for the future.