Henderson to Resume Mine Development
Freeport McMoRan, Inc. announced yesterday that due to improvements made in the Henderson Mine and Mill plan, along with increased productivity by the employees and a stronger molybdenum market, Henderson is taking steps to resume mine development activities at the 7210 A Panel. As a result, the known mine life of the Henderson mine, at the current production rates, will be extended from 2020 to 2026.
Often considered a “sister operation” to Lake County’s Climax Mine, sharing the same parent company, the Henderson is located near Kremmling, Colo. This facility is currently operating at a rate of approximately 22,000 tons of ore per day, producing molybdenum at an annual rate of approximately 10 million pounds. There are currently approximately 315 Henderson employees, 215 located at the mine in Empire and 100 at the mill.
“Henderson is grateful for the support and understanding from our local communities and county governments during this recent downturn,” stated Director of External Communications Eric Kinneberg. “Operating with the cyclicality of the molybdenum market is challenging, and can impact our stakeholders in Colorado. We are excited about this development and pleased with the positive outcomes it will have on our employees, the communities where we live and work, and county governments who so diligently work for this region.”
It was back in 2016, when the Henderson suspended further mine development in new areas in response to a deterioration in the molybdenum market when molybdenum oxide prices had declined to less than $5 per pound. Additionally, Henderson reduced its annual production rates of molybdenum in late 2015 and early 2016 from 27 million pounds to 10 million pounds per year.
The molybdenum oxide price has increased since the curtailment was implemented in late 2015 to a current price of approximately $8.30 per pound. The market for upgraded molybdenum products, such as lubricant grade molybdenum has also strengthened. The high quality of molybdenum concentrates from Henderson and the Climax Mine are conducive for the production of upgraded, high-value molybdenum products.
The mine development activities will be performed by a mining contractor who has been hired and is expected to begin work in September with a workforce of approximately 35 people. Additionally, the Henderson Mine currently has approximately 50 open positions required to support the mine development and to fill jobs that are open due to normal attrition. These open positions can be found on FMJobs.com.
Looking into the future, in order to mine all of Henderson’s ore reserves, additional panels would need to be developed which would extend the life of the mine to 2040 at the current production rate. Decisions whether to make the investment in mine development at Henderson will be made at a later time and would be dependent on market conditions and production factors at the time.