Flagstaff Mine back in business

An area of Stevens County with some serious mining history is in the forefront again with the impending opening of the old Flagstaff Mine.The open face barite mine, located some five miles from Northport, has been purchased by Kent Exploration Inc. and, according to company officials, should begin production within the next week. The mine re-opening will create at least 14 jobs, officials say, and maybe more.The mine, located five miles west of the historic mining town of Northport, was originally opened in 1982, but was shut down because of economic issues and a lack of interest in barite at the time. The mine, located on Bureau of Land Management land, was leased to Kent Exploration Inc. in 2006.“The mine is historic,” said Graeme O’Neill, CEO and President of Kent Exploration Inc., which is based out of Vancouver, B.C. “The original owners shut down because of economics. They left, put in roads, stripped it, drilled ore body and made everything accessible.”When in full production, the mine should employ upwards of 20 people—four contractors from North Columbia Enterprises, 14 workers from around the area; Roger Olsen, Senior Geologist from Las Vegas, NV and Ron Singh, General Manager of the project from Colorado Springs, CO.*For the complete story, see the 7-27-2011 print edition of the S-E.