Shafter silver now being mined
By ALBERTO TOMAS HALPERN
SHAFTER – They’re mining silver in Shafter for the first time in 70 years.
On Friday, Rio Grande Mining Co. and its Canadian parent, Aurcana Corporation, threw a grand mine re-opening party. The old mine closed after World War II.
Inside a large air-conditioned tent in the desert mountains of Shafter, locals, visitors, staff, and local, state and foreign officials celebrated the re-opening of the silver mine site. The refreshment servers were dressed in black, and wore ties and white gloves.
“I’m proud to say Aurcana is the largest employer and the largest taxpayer in the county,” Aurcana CEO Lenic Rodriguez said to a large crowd of invited guests as they applauded him.
Presidio County records indeed show that the company is the largest business in the county, with market and taxable values at $32 million. It is the largest taxpayer in the county and in the Presidio Independent School district.
A company official said this week the mine employs more than 150 people, mainly in Shafter, but also at local headquarters in Alpine.
Michael Treyger, the regional director for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa in the International Business and Recruitment office of Texas Governor Rick Perry spoke at the event.
“I wish you great success. This is great news for Texas. Companies like Aurcana grow in Texas because of low taxes,” Treyger said, giving Rodriguez a letter of appreciation from Governor Perry.
“You see a coalition of Mexico, Canada and the United States,” State Representative Pete Gallego said. “It shows we’re part of global business,” Gallego continued, adding that this is an important step in creating jobs in the area and creating opportunities for children.
“This silver mine really unites these two friendly countries,” Mexican Consul Hector Raul Acosta said. “Let’s return this beautiful town to its roots,” Acosta added.
“I’m happy to have a Canadian company out here. Thank you for coming to Texas,” Canadian Consul General for Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, Paula Caldwell said.
“I’m very proud to call the United States our friends,” she added.
“The rebirth and renaissance of a mine is a historical event,” Aurcana board director Bob Tweedy said. “Shafter represents a $154 million investment. It will be the second largest (producer) in the United States and in the top 20 worldwide,” Tweedy exclaimed.
“The vision of the future is to build the world’s best silver company,” Tweedy said.