It will be a bleak Christmas for 20 workers at Huckleberry Mine, an open pit copper mine located 88 km from Houston.
Huckleberry recently laid off 20 workers through a restructuring of the company.
According to Randall Thompson, Chief Operating Officer at Huckleberry Mine, the company has been facing higher operating costs and a drop in copper prices.
Copper prices have been falling for the last few years, reflecting a decline in world demand. Copper contracts traded below the $2 U.S. level on Canadian markets on Nov. 23, 2015, a low not seen since 2009, according to CBC News.
In light of the current low copper prices, Huckleberry has been working to optimize operations and minimize expenditures.
“This is the status quo for the company as we move forward,” said Thompson. “What we’re doing is trying to find a way to survive in this environment through cost management measures and ensuring safe operations.”
When it comes to the global economy, Thompson said it’s hard to predict what the future holds.
“I don’t really know if anybody has a real sense of what’s going to happen with the global economy,” he said.
Currently, Huckleberry has about 250 employees. Thompson said no more workers are expected to be laid off in the coming weeks.
Imperial Metal Corporation holds 50 per cent interest in Huckleberry Mines Ltd., owner/operator of the mine. The remaining 50 per cent is held by the Japan Group, comprised of Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, Dowa Mining Co. Ltd. and Furukawa Co.
Huckleberry commenced operations in 1997 and has a mine life stretching to 2022.