Revenue Silver Mine on notice for numerous safety violations

UPDATED—9/26: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration put Fortune Minerals’ Revenue Silver Mine in Ouray County, Colorado on notice Thursday for 92 “significant and substantial violations” during a 12-month period beginning Aug. 1. 2013, and ending July 31, 2014.

On Nov. 17, 2013, Nick Cappano of Montrose, Colorado, and Rick Williams of Durango, Colorado were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning the day after explosives were detonated the previous day. The high carbon monoxide levels also injured 20 other miners.

The former Revenue-Virginius silver-lead-zinc-copper-gold mine employs roughly 100 workers. Fortune Minerals acquired the mine from Star Mine Operations in May of this year. The mine has been renamed the Revenue Silver Mine.

However, as recently as July 31st of this year, MSHA identified patterns of violations related to roof and rib hazards, handling of explosive materials, ventilations and training practices. Fifty-seven of the situations included “either high negligence or reckless disregard by the mine operation,” said the agency.

Fortune Minerals Investor Relations Management Troy Nazarewicz told Mineweb Friday, “Fortune Minerals’ primary focus is on safety. Embedded in the firm’s culture, safety starts with the leadership and its commitment to support employees through continual training and improvements at its operations. Fortune Minerals announced the staged acquisition of the Revenue Silver Mine in May of this year and continues to invest in workforce training and capital improvements at the mine.

“The Pattern of Violation recently issued by MSHA is based on historical issues and does not reflect the positive impact of our involvement since May. We are looking forward to the anticipated closing on October 1 of the 100% interest in the assets of the mine, full control of operations and a fresh start for the mine, its dedicated employees and the wider community,” he said.

However, Fortune’s website identifies Fortune, not Star Mine Operations, as the current operator of the mine.

The Revenue Silver Mine is a high-grade underground silver mine with a 400 ton per day mill and concentrator located in an underground excavation. The mine had been operating between 1876 and 1912 by the Caroline Mining Company with production at 15 million ounces of silver before the mill burned and the mine closed. The mine, which is believed to contain 16.3 million measured and indicated silver ounces, is located in the Sneffels silver mining district.