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Stillwater mine workers building temporary road for washed out Nye Road

Nye Road.jpg
Posted at 11:24 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-19 15:20:03-04

NYE - Operations at the Sibanye-Stillwater mine near Nye have been suspended since Monday, leaving more than a thousand employees out of work.

The normal route through Absarokee and Nye Road is currently closed.

That adds another 30 minutes of travel to everyone's commute.

The Stilwater River took out about 100 fee Nye Road leading to the mine.

It's had a big effect on the miners as well as a lot of other people throughout Stillwater County.

"At the Stillwater Mine, we haven't been operating since about 5 a.m. and Monday," said Heather McDowell, Sibanye-Stillwater vice-president. "Obviously we won't be operating until we can get access both up to the mine. And then across the river to our east side."

McDowell says the plan is to build a temporary road for the 1200 workers at the mine.

Nye Road.jpg

"We've gotten permission from the gracious landowners, our neighbors next to that area,"McDowell said. "We can access it now but we're just driving over a grassy rocky area and we need to get an actual roadway in."

The river also damaged other property along Nye Road.

It's not only the mine that is suffering.

The owner of Fishtail General Store, Katy Martin, says it's quieter than ever right now.

"To us, it's very, very important," Martin said about repairing the roads. "I'm sure it's really really important to all the people that work at the mine. It's a way of life. They're our a family."

Martin says she made it through fine this time, but that wasn't the case a couple of years ago when ice jams on West Rosebud Creek caused flooding at the store.

But she is once again proud of the community for stepping up.

"If it hadn't been for the community, the store would have been underwater," Martin said. "So we help each other. It's kind of the way of the world here."

She knows people in Stillwater County who have lost homes and a bridge was taken out a couple of miles down the road.

"I think the critical path is the bridge between Absarokee and Fishtail to all of us," McDowell said. "You know in Stillwater County, I think that is that that's what needs to happen first."

Martin talked about staying strong.

"God," she said. "He takes care of us. He doesn't always make it easy, but I don't think it said anywhere that it was going to be easy."

She also wants everyone to know they can still come to the Fishtail General Store.

"We're open," Martin said. "And we're here to help people and do what we can to make it easier."