By ZACHARY MATSON

TODAY’S NEWS-HERALD

A bankrupt copper mine near Kingman sent layoff notices to more than 350 employees Monday, citing a failure to sell the mine as the final straw resulting in the reductions.

Workers at the Mineral Park Mine, about 15 miles northwest of Kingman, began showing up at Mohave County’s one-stop career center with letters in hand that said Monday was their last day of work. The county had not received prior notice of the layoffs.

Nicole Moon, a spokesperson with the Arizona Department of Economic Security, said Mineral Park Inc. informed the state Monday that the layoffs would affect 383 employees.

Not all employees were notified as of Monday night, because they could not be reached, according to Steve Lawson, Mineral Park Inc. human resources manager. He said the reductions would be phased in over eight weeks as the mine’s operations were curtailed. Ultimately, the mine will enter “maintenance and care” mode, so it can be used again if the company’s financial situation improves.

“We are focusing our efforts to find a new place and support these folks in time of distress,” Lawson said. “I want to take care of these folks… these are good people.”

Susie Parel-Duranceau, the county’s community services director, said over the coming weeks the county will hold “rapid response orientations” to help the workers develop resumes, look for other jobs across the country and identify unemployment and other benefits they qualify for.

“In the last 16 years, this is probably one of the biggest layoffs that we will be reacting to for one company,” she said.

Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson said large companies often provide the county notice a month or two before major layoffs, allowing the county to educate workers about resources before they lose their jobs.

“It would have been nice if we would have been given some advanced notice, so we could be preparing for it,” County Supervisor Buster Johnson said.

The mining company, which filed for bankruptcy in August, had been attempting to sell the copper mine but, according to one of the layoff letters, the sale fell through.

“While the company would have preferred to provide more notice of the mine and mill closing, unforeseeable business circumstances have prevented it from doing so…” Lawson wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately, management has just learned that the sale process will not result in any offer to acquire the company…”

Earlier this month, Mineral Park had asked the county to reduce its $14 million-plus tax bill to help ease a potential sale. But county supervisors balked at the offer, requesting more information about the taxes and how the county factors into the company’s debt priorities.

“The circumstances surrounding whether the county will be able to obtain part, all or some of the taxes owed are still up in the air…” county manager Mike Hendrix said. “It could have a tremendous impact on the county and the taxing districts.”

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(9) comments

common sense

MClaus, "right to work state" simply means that employees CANNOT be forced to joine a union and have dues deducted from paychecks! "Right to work has nothing to do with workers "giving up" rights or being easier to fire! This is a miss belief. If the WARN act is federal then it likely applies. Do your research and find out, but since this is a lay off due to bankruptcy a lot of rules go out the door since there is no money to get from the company anyway!

WATCHING HAVASU DIE

Buster and the Gang knew about this and were unwilling to work with them,,, Now look what we have,,,, Good luck with collecting the back tax now,,,, Great Leadership People !

roupinianWARN

MClaus, the federal WARN Act trumps state law. According to the article, the company is trying to rely on a defense to giving its employees 60 days advance written notice, so it recognizes the WARN Act applies to the layoff. For more information on the law and damages, please visit www.warnlawyers.com website.

MClaus

roupinianWARN, I thought AZ was a right to work state? It would be amazing if this were true. The company lied to everyone not just my husband. 383+ men and women are now looking for jobs in an already flooded work force. Worry, financial stress and medical issues are just the tip of the iceberg for everyone in this situation....

Music Lover

Mike Hendrix, Buster and the MCC guy who spoke against reducing the taxes can now ask themselves if reducing the tax bill was a good idea or having 400+ out of work all at once was a good idea. But then these people don't have to try to find a job, or buy groceries while on unemployment. They have cushy, well-paid jobs that are free from stresses like this.

BLAZO

Devastating news for the local Kingman economy, even worse for Chloride and Golden Valley!

azroper61

Last year that mine layed off 45 workers with a certified letter why would they let the public know what they are doing that mine went out of business do to lack of management at the mine it all started with the mine superintendent and mine pit superintendent 2 people are the reason 380 men and woman lost there jobs

roupinianWARN

Under the federal WARN Act, employees are entitled to 60 days written notice prior to a layoff. The facts described here do not appear to create an exception to the notice requirements of WARN. As a result, the affected employees may each be entitled to 60 days of pay. www.warnlawyers.com

MClaus

Nice. My husband works (worked) there. Reading this is how we found out. They (Mineral Park) just got done telling everyone last week that the slow down was only until the end of the year and after the first everyone was going back to full production. Nice new year suprise!!

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