Leadville's Climax Molybdenum Mine Likely To Reopen Next Year

07/22/2011 01:05 pm ET | Updated Sep 21, 2011

Leadville's Climax molybdenum mine may be restarted as early as next year, according to a Thursday report from the Leadville Herald Democrat.

The mine has been on 'maintenance status' since 1995 after halting production when molybdenum prices cratered in 1987. Molybdenum is commonly used in the production of stainless steel.

Demand for the mineral has grown lately, driving the price to around $15 a pound. During the mine's most profitable era, molybdenum sold for around $30 a pound.

Vail Daily reports the mine currently employs 160 people. The reopening will create 185 additional jobs for operations, maintenance, technical and administrative positions.

Leadville's mines have been the town's lifeblood in years past. High Country News states that in 1980 Climax was the largest underground mine in the world, running 24 hours a day with 3,200 employees.

The Climax mine has a reputation for environmentally friendly mining practices. None of the pollution in Leadville's Superfund site can be attributed to Climax, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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