Update on Kingman mine layoffs today

Copper mine will idle 380 workers in the near future

KINGMAN - Mohave County Board of Supervisors will hear a presentation on the curtailment and suspension of operations at Mineral Park Mine at its regular meeting at 9:30 a.m. today in the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.

Steve Lawson, human resources manager at Mineral Park, will talk about the curtailment process that will lay off 380 mine workers over an eight-week period.

Mining and milling operations will be temporarily suspended and placed in care and maintenance status, Lawson told the Daily Miner. Heap leach operations are expected to continue into this year using a skeleton crew of workers.

Curtailment started on Dec. 29 and will continue this month. It will comply with environmental and applicable regulations to preserve the opportunity for mining operations to resume, Lawson said.

Mineral Park Mine, about 15 miles north of Kingman, entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August. Options are limited at this point due to market conditions and reduced commodity prices, chief financial officer Mark Distler said in a prepared statement. It's uncertain when full-scale mining and milling operations will begin again.

The Board of Supervisors on Dec. 15 tabled possible action on abatement or compromise of $16 million in property taxes owed by Mineral Park.

Michael Kearns, president of Mohave Community College, said he was counting on $1.5 million from those taxes to be deposited into the college's general fund. That money represents a sizeable chunk of the estimated $4.5 million to $5 million construction cost for new buildings at the community college campus.

"We'll have to reconsider whether building will move forward and the pace this is moving forward," Kearns told the board at its Dec. 15 meeting. "We haven't had time to consider what it's going to do."

Supervisor Jean Bishop agreed with Kearns that the tax abatement was "moving too fast," and made a motion to table the item for 30 days to do more research.

Other items on the supervisors' agenda:

• Discussion and possible action on appointment of North Canyon Constable to replace Travis Heaton, who submitted his resignation in December. Candidates for the job are Michael Hoggard, retired sergeant with Mohave County Sheriff's Office; Kenneth Kipp, retired from Riverside County (Calif.) Sheriff's Department; and Darrington Jay, a surveillance and security specialist.

• Approve election for recall of Rhonda Brooks, board member of Golden Valley Fire District, who was designated in recall petitions submitted to Mohave County Elections office in October and officially filed on Dec. 15. The election is scheduled for May 19.

• Approve purchase of 26 fleet vehicles under contract with Courtesy Chevrolet (Phoenix); PFVT Motors (Peoria); Berge Ford (Mesa); Martin Swanty CJDR (Kingman); and Midway Chevrolet Nissan Isuzu (Phoenix). Total amount including tax and extended warranty purchases when necessary is $853,095.

• Extension of time for rezone of commercial highway frontage to allow completion of site plan requirements and to establish proposed use of a commercial center in Dolan Springs, west of U.S. Highway 93 and north of Pierce Ferry Road.

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