Henderson provides $20,000 grant
The global molybdenum market is down, jobs are being cut from the local economy but despite reduced production figures Henderson Mill and Mine has provided the Town of Granby with a $20,000 grant to be applied to the Town’s new water treatment plant, set to be constructed this summer.
The last year has been rough for employees of the Henderson Mill and Mine Complex. The Freeport-McMoRan corporation, which operates the subsidiary Henderson Complex, announced an initial round of 80 layoffs at their facilities in Grand and Clear Creek Counties in late August 2015 and announced an additional round of 130 layoffs in Nov., with the job cuts scheduled for Jan. 2016.
The Henderson Complex is a molybdenum mine and production facility. Molybdenum is used primarily in the production of steel alloy and other steel products such as structural steel, stainless steel and cast iron. The reduction in global molybdenum demand, a result of the lower demand for both high-grade and stainless steel, is driven largely by declines in oil and gas drilling and lower overall investments in heavy machinery. The per-pound price for molybdenum oxide has declined by more than 50 percent since the beginning of 2015.
The decline in global molybdenum demand has resulted in Freeport-McMoRan’s decision to reduce their overall output to roughly one-third of what it was prior to the start of production reductions, from 27 million pounds annually to about 10 million pounds currently. The size of their workforce has also been reduced accordingly.
According to Granby Town Manager Wally Baird the grant Freeport-McMoRan provided to Granby is part of Freeport-McMoRan’s commitment to the towns in Grand and Clear Creek Counties to help establish sustainable communities in the areas around their mines, even after mining operations have ceased. Baird pointed out that mine production doesn’t operate indefinitely. “It is the nature of a mine,” said Baird. “Sooner or later it (minable elements) is all gone.”
Baird explained that Granby made an application to Freeport-McMoRan for the funds specifically to assist with the construction of the Town’s planned water treatment plant. The $20,000 grant from Freeport-McMoRan is only a pittance of the total $6 million estimated price tag for the water treatment plant, but Baird was appreciative of the figure, noting that $20,000 is not an insignificant amount, “it really helps,” he said.
The Town of Granby received grant receipt notification for the $20,000 on March 17 this year. Baird said Granby recently received their first request for payment related to the Water Treatment Plant project, totaling roughly $18,000. Baird said the grant from Freeport-McMoRan would be applied to those cost. The initial bill for the Water Treatment Plant received by the Town is for equipment mobilization and initial excavation work but Baird pointed out that the project has not yet broken ground.
“If we don’t get too much bad weather we expect to being breaking ground sometime next week,” Baird said. Baird explained that engineers for the project have estimated a completion date near the end of August. Contractors on the project indicated to Town officials they believed the project could be completed by the end of June or middle of July if weather is cooperative.
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The iconic cone-shaped building on the corner of Yampa and 11th streets in downtown Steamboat Springs was once a wood-waste burner before being moved to become the home for Sore Saddle Cyclery and Moots Bicycles.