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A company is reopening a historic West Texas mine that was the nation's most reliable silver source when it closed nearly 70 years ago. The mine was once the lifeline of a bustling community in Shafter, which withered to a ghost town when the mine closed in 1942 partly because of tumbling silver prices. But with silver prices tripling since 2009, the town of about 60 residents is seeing more action than it has in decades.
The Rio Grande Mining Co., a subsidiary of Vancouver-based Aurcana Corp., is working to reopen the mine. It expects to be producing 800-pound silver bars next year and be Texas' only silver mine. It will produce half the amount as the nation's largest single silver operation, the Greens Creek mine in Alaska.