Underground: Closure & COO Shift
Matchless to Briefly Close for Rehab Work
The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) announced last week that the Matchless Mine will temporarily close to the public starting Thursday, Aug. 20 for some rehabilitation work. According to the popular Leadville attraction’s management, the guided tour and historic area need to be closed to the public during the earthmoving operations which are part of a project to rehabilitate the No. 6 hoist house.
The site will remain closed until sometime the first week of September. The exact reopening date will depend on how quickly the work progresses. After the work is complete, the tourist site will reopen offering tours led by trained guides through the end of September. No self-guided tours will be available after the site reopens while rehabilitation work continues.
The NMHFM and HistoriCorpsare partners in the rehabilitation project. The project is funded in part by a History Colorado State Historical Fund grant of $104,332 and a $29,000 grant from the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation on behalf of the Climax-Area Community Investment Fund, both awarded to the NMHFM in 2019.
The project’s focus is to rehabilitate and stabilize the No. 6 hoist house, an important Matchless Mine structure that is in danger of collapse.The hoist house contained the hoist that raised and lowered miners and ore in the No. 6 shaft at the mine. The weight of snow on the roof during more than a century of Leadville winters, lateral soil movement causing pressure on the walls, and wet conditions around the foundation have caused the building to sag and lean. Without rehabilitation, the building will not survive many more years.
The Matchless Mine produced large amounts of silver ore that helped to make Horace Tabor and his second wife, Baby Doe, fabulously wealthy. Horace served as Leadville’s mayor, Colorado’s lieutenant governor, and U.S. senator. The mine was associated with the Tabors from 1879, when Horace purchased it, until 1935, when Baby Doe died of heart failure in the former superintendent’s cabin. The Leadville Assembly gave the Matchless Mine to the NMHFM in 2006. The mine has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2010.
HistoriCorpsis the general contractor for the project. HistoriCorps is a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging volunteers in preserving and sustaining historic structures on public lands (including on private lands accessible to the public) for future generations. Since its founding in 2007, HistoriCorps has preserved more than 180 historic structures in 23 states and engaged more than 1,500 volunteers in more than 80,000 hours of service and training. All work will comply with The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstructing Historic Buildings.
Scheuber + Darden Architects will oversee construction to assure that the contractor completes work according to approved construction documents. Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers is a subcontractor. Metcalf Archaeological Consultants will ensure that the project complies with all federal, state, and local cultural resource laws, regulations, and requirements.
The hoist house project is the latest effort to preserve the Matchless Mine for future generations. The State Historical Fund, Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, and El Pomar Foundation financially supported rehabilitation of the mine’s powder magazine in 2014-2015. Grants from the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, and the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation enabled the NMHFM to partner successfully with HistoriCorps in 2017 to preserve the No. 6 headframe.
The Matchless Mine is open for self-guided surface tours from 11 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through August 19. Guided tours are available at noon, 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00. All visitors to the Matchless Mine are requested to maintain social distancing and wear a face mask to protect the staff and other visitors from COVID-19.
See www.mininghalloffame.org for more information about tours at the Matchless Mine.
Freeport Announces New Leadership
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) – which is also the parent company for the Climax Mine located in Lake County just north of Leadville Today – announced last week the appointment of Joshua F. “Josh” Olmsted as President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) – Americas upon the retirement of Harry M. “Red” Conger, IV (age 64). Following a successful 33-year career with Freeport-McMoRan, Red Conger has elected to retire effective September 1, 2020.
Josh Olmsted (age 49) currently serves as Senior Vice President – Americas. He has 28 years of experience in the Freeport-McMoRan organization, including senior leadership roles at several operating sites in the U.S. and South America. Over the last four years, he has assumed increasing leadership responsibilities within the Company’s Americas organization and has been highly effective in driving critical operational, technology and transformational initiatives currently in progress. Olmsted is a mining engineering graduate of Colorado School of Mines.
Richard C. Adkerson, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Red has made significant contributions to the Freeport organization and to the mining industry throughout his 43-year career in mining. He is a champion for our industry and has been instrumental in building our Americas business and developing exceptional operational and technical talent within Freeport-McMoRan. We appreciate his many contributions and wish him well in the future.”
Adkerson continued: “Josh has earned the respect and confidence of the organization and is a seasoned and accomplished operational leader. He has exceptional technical acumen in a broad range of mining and development activities, a relentless commitment to safety, a strong drive and value focus and proven abilities to lead, challenge and motivate our teams. I am confident that Josh will do an outstanding job in leading this exceptional operating team.”
FCX is a leading international mining company with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. FCX operates large, long-lived, geographically diverse assets with significant proven and probable reserves of copper, gold and molybdenum. FCX is one of the world’s largest publicly traded copper producers. FCX’s portfolio of assets includes the Grasberg minerals district in Indonesia, one of the world’s largest copper and gold deposits; and significant mining operations in North America and South America, including the large-scale Morenci minerals district in Arizona and the Cerro Verde operation in Peru. And of course, closer to home, the mining giant owns and operates The Climax Mine located in Lake County just north of Leadville Today.