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Pinto Valley restart is official

Posted: Wednesday, Feb 15th, 2012

Officials of BHP Billiton made the long-awaited announcement official on Monday. The company’s Pinto Valley Mine west of Miami is being restarted and will be in production by end of this year making copper concentrate at an annual rate of 60,000 tons. The restart is costing $195 million and means 650 new high paying jobs for Globe-Miami. A few of the key officials and administrators needed to reopen the mine were in the process of being hired by the company during the past several months.

“We will be hiring more than 600 new team members and look forward to work with the local communities to safely restart the mine,” said Wayne Issacs, President of BHP Billiton’s North American Properties. He added, “We are pleased to be resuming operations at Pinto Valley given the robust investment case and the potential for an extension of current reserves.”

The official announcement confirming the production restart at Pinto Valley came on the heels of last week’s statement made by Marius Kloppers, Chief Executive Officer for BHP Billiton .  Kloppers told reporters his company was planning to spend $80 billion worldwide over the next five years to increase the output of its existing Copper, Iron Ore and Coal mining properties.  Besides the Pinto Valley 5,000 acre site ,  locally,  BHP owns properties  at Miami East, Old Dominion and in the Sleeping Beauty areas.

Many residents of the Globe-Miami area still remember those news reports about the Pinto Valley mine which hit the community hard during the third week of January 2009.  That is when BHP made the shocking announcement it was cutting 6,000  jobs worldwide because of the global economic downturn and the Pinto Valley mine was included on the list.  The Melbourne, Australia  based company said it would be laying off 550 of the 700 workers at Pinto Valley and putting the mine in a leaching/maintenance mode which has been the situation ever since.

This all happened some  20 months after the April 23, 2007  exciting  announcement by BHP that it had decided to restart copper production Pinto Valley once again . The company in is 2007 announcement said it would take 90 days before production could reach full steam.. The restart costs of the Pinto Valley Mine for this period  of time was  reported at $140 million.  

With this new BHP announcement   that Pinto Valley is going into full production once again,  the local community is on an economic roll.  Freeport  McMoRan Miami has more than 1,000 workers and BHP will be employing 650 more workers to join the already 100 or so already at the Pinto Valley site. ASARCO, which has some expansion plans of its own,  presently has 1,350  employees  on their jobs in the Hayden Winkelman and Kearny area south of us . Just over the county line in the Superior / Oak Flat area, there are 500 persons working on the Resolution project.  However, the Carlota mine which had 250 workers around the first of last year had reduced its staff to 190 workers at last report and is planning to shut down in two years or so because of a copper production leaching problem. 

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