A weekend Reuters News Service story on the possible closure of Ely’s Robinson Nevada Copper Mine by Polish parent KGHM International caught a lot of people by surprise.
It’s no secret that copper prices are in free fall, with early morning prices falling to below $2.15 a pound, the lowest since 2009 when copper fell below $1.50 a pound. According to a source who works at the mine, they have been fighting to cut production costs and thought they had everything going the right direction. Our source tells us this statement by KGHM International chief executive Herbert Wirth caught them all by surprise.
According to the source, one culprit to the probable closure is the County Commissions recently reinstituted Energy Franchise Fee, which could cost the mine thousands of dollars in added expenses. That fee has also been named one of the possible culprits in the closing of the Midway Gold Pan project in Western White Pine County. If copper prices don’t firm up, the county could once again sink into hard times. And the citizens of White Pine County may have to look at three of their County Commissioners, who decided that raising taxes was preferable to cutting expenses, and in the process, hastened the dire straits that two local mines were already facing due to plunging metals prices.
Meanwhile, our source expects to lose his job, but told me that when you’re in mining, it’s an occupational hazard. He looks at it as a vacation, albeit an unpaid one, and anticipates landing on his feet...sooner than later.