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      SubTerra expands its White Pine operations

      The seeds for growth have been planted 200 feet below the surface at an old copper mine in White Pine.

      SubTerra will be investing $2.5 million into its pharmaceutical manufacturing.

      "What we're expanding at SubTerra is really to begin the commercialization production facilities to start with our first enzyme to get it to a commercial scale," said Brent Zettl, SubTerra CEO.

      SubTerra is expanding its harvesting plants carrying adenosine deaminase, an enzyme used to treat severe combined immunodeficiency. The manufacturer already operates a 2500 square foot growth chamber, growing the profitable enzyme at full capacity.

      In late October, SubTerra harvested 450 plants and will plant new ones by December.

      Sharon Shilman is one of only four full-time employees and the only chamber technician.

      "I'm here every morning, making sure that they're receiving enough water or enough fertilizer," explained Shilman. "I take care of them from day one until they're harvested."

      SubTerra expects to build four more chambers to produce the enzyme.

      "It's been really busy, and I do need some help, so it will be nice to get some," Shilman said.

      SubTerra estimates it will hire between seven to ten full-time workers by the time the new chambers are running in a year and a half.

      "We want to see a couple hundred jobs here eventually," Zettl said. "That's what we hope to be and on a much bigger scale. The chambers are ultimately designed for whatever the market needs are for the compounds that we target."

      According to SubTerra, they already have eleven other compounds in the works.