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12:00 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Idaho Company To Double Workforce In Face Of Mining Boom

A north Idaho mining industry supplier plans to double its workforce over the next year. The company broke ground Tuesday on a new factory in Post Falls. As correspondent Jessica Robinson reports, the mining industry offers a rare economic bright spot in the Inland Northwest.

Gov. Butch Otter: “Three! Two! One!”

Governor Butch Otter counted down the ceremonial first shovel scoop for a new 85,000-square-foot factory in the Idaho panhandle. Ground Force Manufacturing plans to hire an additional 200 people for its new facility, more than doubling the company's local workforce. The company outfits 40-ton trucks to work at mines.

Ground Force is trying to keep pace with a boom in the mining industry. Gold and silver prices are spurring companies to dig deeper and open up old veins – including in north Idaho's nearby Silver Valley. Ron Nilson is the president of Ground Force.

Ron Nilson: "They're buying $3 million trucks, sometimes 50 of them at $3 million a piece, I mean I don't think this is going to end, I think it's going to continue, continue, continue.”

The president of Coeur d'Alene-based Hecla Mining was at the groundbreaking. Hecla plans to deepen its Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan to nearly 9,000 feet. And a New York company is studying the feasibility of reopening the historic Sunshine Mine in nearby Kellogg.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network