Landslide forces layoffs at Kennecott Utah Copper
By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News
Published: Friday, May 3 2013
Ravell Call, Deseret News
Kennecott Utah Copper will lay off workers as a result of a massive landslide last month that crippled its Bingham Canyon Mine.
“While we still don’t have all of the answers, we have reached a point where additional measures are necessary to reduce operating costs. Additional changes to reduce our operating costs may be required as operating plans are finalized in the coming months.”
Company spokesman Kyle Bennett
SOUTH JORDAN — Kennecott Utah Copper will lay off workers as a result of a massive landslide last month that crippled its Bingham Canyon Mine.
The layoff will take place this month as part of cost-cutting measures across the operation, company spokesman Kyle Bennett said in a statement Thursday.
"At this time, we do not have numbers or a time frame in May when it will take place," Bennett said. "It is always difficult when jobs are lost because of the direct impact it has on individuals and families."
Wayne Holland, United Steelworkers International staff representative, said, "We do know the numbers will be significant and that they will commence in late May or early June."
Workers were informed of the impending job cuts late Thursday afternoon, which Holland said brought "a lot of anxiety, and a lot of people are in consternation about what the future is going to bring."
Scott Mullins, president of the United Steel Workers Local 392, said he remains optimistic the layoff will be minimal, but it’s too soon to know.
"Right now, it’s just a big question mark of what’s going to happen and what the plans are," Mullins said.
An enormous wall of dirt rumbled down the northeast section of the open-pit mine April 10. No workers were injured, but roads, buildings and vehicles were damaged.
Kennecott earlier said it expects production at Bingham Canyon to drop at least 50 percent in 2013.
During a media tour of the mine last week, Kennecott president and CEO Kelly Sanders acknowledged that the slide would impact workers, but he would not say whether that meant layoffs. The company had asked 2,100 employees to take vacation or unpaid time off.
"We must reduce our cost in accordance with the production reduction," Sanders said. "As a result of that, there will be some difficult decisions for us."
Bennett said the company is still in the early stages of recovering from the slide.
"While we still don’t have all of the answers, we have reached a point where additional measures are necessary to reduce operating costs. Additional changes to reduce our operating costs may be required as operating plans are finalized in the coming months," he said.
Some mining industry analysts estimate getting the mine fully operational could take at least $1 billion.
Sanders last week would not say how much the landslide has cost the company to date, nor would he speculate on recovery costs. Kennecott, owned by London-based international mining company Rio Tinto Group, has not released any financial information related to the slide.
Holland said union leaders and company officials will discuss pensions, early retirement and other ways to reduce the overall impact on the workforce. Mullins said they will also talk about Kennecott buying concentrate from other mines to run through the refinery process as a way to maintain jobs.
Kennecott last laid off workers in 2003 when copper prices bottomed out. Holland said he recalls about 200 people lost their jobs.
Bingham Canyon produced about 25 percent of the nation’s copper and 2 percent worldwide in 2010 and 2011, Sanders said. Output slowed last year. In addition to copper, the mine produces gold, silver and molybdenum, a metal used in steel alloys.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sat May 04, 2013 3:17 pm
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Dick Durbin Admonishes Firm for Explaining that Dodd-Frank Caused a Rise in Parking Rates, Forces Apology
Dick Durbin just loves to play the big shot. (I think most Senators do, but Durbin is especially prone.) How dare Parkmobile, a DC pay-by-phone parking contractor tell it’s customers in an email that rates would rise because of federal regs.
I mean the nerve!
Durban was so insensed this email that he sent a letter to the Mayor of Washington DC just to make sure Parkmobile knew who the boss was in these here parts.
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Drought forces farmers to sell livestock; feed is too costly
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY
CHICAGO – Some farmers are selling off their livestock herds because they can’t afford to buy feed, marking a new level of fallout from the drought that will affect consumers and possibly the entire U.S. economy.
The cost of meat at the grocery likely will drop as farmers liquidate cattle and pigs in the next few weeks, but higher pork prices and even shortages could follow in "as soon as six months," says Mike Platt, executive director of the Indiana Pork Producers.
"We’re going to see a very tight market" for beef "around the Christmas holidays and into January," says Joe Moore, executive vice president of the Indiana Beef Cattle Association.
When that happens, small meatpacking plants might be forced to reduce shifts or lay off workers just as consumers tighten their budgets after a summer of high air-conditioning bills, says Chris Lehner, a Kansas City, Mo., commodities broker.
"We could see it affecting the whole economy," he says.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the nation’s cattle herd numbered 97.8 million as of July 1 — the lowest inventory since it began the count in 1973.
The drought, which now affects almost 63% of the contiguous USA, has seared crops and sent corn prices to record highs this week. Soybean prices rose more than 20% in the past few weeks.
A coalition of meat and poultry organizations, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, this week asked the Environmental Protection Agency to temporarily waive a federal mandate requiring petroleum blenders to use corn-based ethanol in gasoline. The groups say the move would free up more corn for feed.
When the price of feed is too high to ensure profits later when animals are sold, farmers cull their herds. Platt says some farmers in Indiana, which is among the hardest-hit drought states, are giving away piglets to avoid having to pay high feed prices during the six months it takes for them to grow large enough to be slaughtered.
Moore says some farmers who sell their cattle now might be forced out of business, because it takes 2-3 years to breed and raise cattle for the market. "I’m sure some people are liquidating and they’ll be done," he says.
Will Spargo, who raises corn and soybeans on a 3,300-acre farm in Naylor, Mo., says he’s keeping his crops alive — but at a high price. He irrigates his corn every three days, up from once a week in a normal year, and has had to shut down pumping from some streams because they ran dry. Seed and fertilizer costs were "up tremendously" this year, he says.
"It’s not going to be a banner year by any means," Spargo says.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:14 am
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By Sara Burrows
Feb. 14th, 2012
RAEFORD — A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because a state employee told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.
The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.
The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs — including in-home day care centers — to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.
The girl’s mother — who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation — said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a “healthy lunch” would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.
“I don’t feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home,” the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County.
The girl’s grandmother, who sometimes helps pack her lunch, told Carolina Journal that she is a petite, picky 4-year-old who eats white whole wheat bread and is not big on vegetables.
“What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly,” the girl’s mother told CJ. “I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”
When the girl came home with her lunch untouched, her mother wanted to know what she ate instead. Three chicken nuggets, the girl answered. Everything else on her cafeteria tray went to waste.
“She came home with her whole sandwich I had packed, because she chose to eat the nuggets on the lunch tray, because they put it in front of her,” her mother said. “You’re telling a 4-year-old. ‘oh. you’re lunch isn’t right,’ and she’s thinking there’s something wrong with her food.”
While the mother and grandmother thought the potato chips and lack of vegetable were what disqualified the lunch, a spokeswoman for the Division of Child Development said that should not have been a problem.
“With a turkey sandwich, that covers your protein, your grain, and if it had cheese on it, that’s the dairy,” said Jani Kozlowski, the fiscal and statutory policy manager for the division. “It sounds like the lunch itself would’ve met all of the standard.” The lunch has to include a fruit or vegetable, but not both, she said.
There are no clear restrictions about what additional items — like potato chips — can be included in preschoolers’ lunch boxes.
“If a parent sends their child with a Coke and a Twinkie, the child care provider is going to need to provide a balanced lunch for the child,” Kozlowski said.
Ultimately, the child care provider can’t take the Coke and Twinkie away from the child, but Kozlowski said she “would think the Pre-K provider would talk with the parent about that not being a healthy choice for their child.”
It is unclear whether the school was allowed to charge for the cafeteria lunches they gave to every preschooler in the class that day.
The state regulation reads:
“Sites must provide breakfast and/or snacks and lunch meeting USDA requirements during the regular school day. The partial/full cost of meals may be charged when families do not qualify for free/reduced price meals.
“When children bring their own food for meals and snacks to the center, if the food does not meet the specified nutritional requirements, the center must provide additional food necessary to meet those requirements.”
Still, Kozlowski said, the parents shouldn’t have been charged.
“The school may have interpreted [the rule] to mean they felt like the lunch wasn’t meeting the nutritional requirements and so they wanted the child to have the school lunch and then charged the parent,” she said. “It sounds like maybe a technical assistance need for that school.”
The school principal, Jackie Samuels, said he didn’t “know anything about” parents being charged for the meals that day. “I know they eat in the cafeteria. Whether they pay or not, they eat in the cafeteria.”
Pridgen’s office is looking into the issue.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:56 am
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