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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shafter silver mine closing

Marfa Public Radio reported to day that the Shafter Silver Mine, run by Aurcana corporation out of Vancouver, is closing. This is bad news for the county in several ways but I must say that I am not surprised. Several years ago when the mine "re-opened" (which it did but never produced product) I was invited, as a City Councilman, to a party/BBQ at the mine with a whole bunch of other folks, including local leaders and Aurcana bigwigs. Canadian Business Television was covering the event and as the speeches went on, I went from being excited about the mine and its future to being somewhat blown away by the company's presentation towards the media. I drove home in complete silence and considered what I had seen and came to the conclusion (thought I might have jumped the gun on this one at the time but was convinced nonetheless) that the whole thing was being executed as a way to get more investor money and not actually about viability. Silver at that time was above $30/ounce and it was clear that their financial matrix was dependent on the price of silver staying there or rising. There were so many "forward looking statements" that I was nearly in shock. In retrospect it appears that the company may have been able to make it work if they had not made some grave errors in purchasing worn out equipment and been run more efficiently overall. I don't really know, but with silver hovering below $20/ounce recently I'm not bullish on them finding a buyer or another operator. Hopefully the work they did complete down there will pay off down the line someday for Shafter- for now it's just another sad ending to a chapter in the long history of that mine and the town.