REPUBLIC, Wash. — In a place where the amount of wildlife seems to match the population, Mayor Elbert Koontz says there's one thing the city of Republic, Washington, needs more of.
The history of gold mining has a hold on the city.
"When I first came in '88, we had Hecla mine, and it was producing. The people were making good money," Koontz said.
Over the years, the cost of mining and scarcity of gold forced Hecla and other mines to close, leaving Republic's literal rich history underground.
"We have been rated the coldest county in the state of Washington, Ferry County," Koontz said. "We have been rated the poorest."
But now, there's a chance history will repeat itself.
"And now, we have $3 billion worth of gold three miles out of town," Koontz said.
Calibre Mine released findings of exploratory drilling in the foothills of Republic, saying two million ounces of gold is sitting in the Golden Eagle Mine.
"For us, it would be a boom," Koontz said. "I mean, the town would grow and prosper, and you would have some really good-paying jobs."
A glimpse of the town's golden years is now on the horizon once again. But, some in town aren't sure about the prospect.
"I'm a bit of a pessimist at heart," Republic resident Sean French said. "We're a nice little small community, and it comes with it the worry that a lot of people might try to move up here just to try and get some gold."
Calibre Mines says 4 million ounces of gold have come out of this mining region over the past 130 years. The last operating mine in the area closed in 2017.
But rekindling that history of mining won't be easy.
The company will need to secure permits. Mayor Koontz says the existing mine itself would need a lot of work to get up and running again. But, no matter what the future holds, the news of gold is again taking hold in town.
HOW TO ADD THE KREM+ APP TO YOUR STREAMING DEVICE
ROKU: add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching for KREM in the Channel Store.
Fire TV: search for "KREM" to find the free app to add to your account. Another option for Fire TV is to have the app delivered directly to your Fire TV through Amazon.
To report a typo or grammatical error, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.