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BIG TIMBER - Gilbert Western Corp. has released two liens totaling more than $4.8 million filed against Stillwater Mining Co.

The contractor reached an "amicable resolution of certain issues with Stillwater Mining Co.," according to a statement issued by Gilbert Western.

"We're pleased that it was resolved to everyone's satisfaction," said Chris Allen, Stillwater Mining vice president for environmental and government.

Gilbert Western, with offices in Omaha, Neb., filed the liens in February against Stillwater Mining's real property in Sweet Grass County where Stillwater owns a mine on the East Boulder.

"We always expected to reach a settlement, but were forced by Montana law to file the liens to protect our interests," Gilbert Western District Manager Jeff Raine said.

One lien claimed Gilbert Western was owed $2,557,538 for engineering, equipment, labor, materials and other services in 2000 to replace more than 17,000 feet of rail in one tunnel and 1,300 feet of rail in a second tunnel at the mine. The second lien claimed Gilbert Western was owed $2,269,347 for work performed by the company in 2001 for "construction of permanent underground infrastructure facilities."

"We would welcome the opportunity to resume our work when Stillwater resumes its expansion plans," Raine said.

Gilbert Western, a unit of Peter Kiewit Sons', Inc., was one of the contractors let go by Stillwater in November as a cost saving measure. At the time, an estimated 400 contract workers were laid off as a result of what the company called a "demobilization."

Raine said Stillwater exercised its contract options to terminate Gilbert Western's work when it decided to defer expansion.

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