Falling prices for molybdenum have led to the decision to lay off more than 200 people at Freeport-McMoRan’s Henderson Mine in Empire, CO. The layoffs are expected to take place early next year.
The Denver Post reported that Freeport-McMoRan disclosed the decision in filings to the Colorado labor department.
Production rates at the Clear Creek County mine and Grand County mill are expected to falter amid pressures in the molybdenum market, officials for Freeport-McMoRan wrote in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing with the state.
"We have continued to review the operations of Climax Molybdenum Company in Colorado in a weak market environment," wrote general manager J. Stuart Teuscher in a letter to the statewide WARN coordinator. "Regrettably, we have concluded that the production rates at the Henderson Mine and Henderson Mill will be reduced in response to the deterioration of the molybdenum price and the softening of worldwide molybdenum demand."
The timing of the production rates reduction has yet to be determined. Based upon the best available information, Freeport-McMoRan expects that more than 200 employees will be affected and that the first layoffs will be in the two weeks following Jan. 12, 2016, according to the letter.
Teuscher described the layoffs as "temporary," but the duration was not disclosed in the letter.
The expected reductions come amid a broader shedding of jobs at Freeport McMoRan. Last month, the Arizona Daily Star reported that the mining firm planned to cut 430 jobs at its Sierrita Mine in Green Valley near Tucson.