On Monday, Nov. 9, Hayden-Winkelman School Superintendent Jeff Gregorich met with Asarco Mining Community Outreach Coordinator, James Steward, and Grupo Mexico Facilities Manager, Sandra Elizonda, who provided masks and educational supplies for students. The donations were to help support our students and local school districts.
Superintendent Jeff Gregorich asked Mr. Steward if there was a reopening plan in progress?
Mr. Steward said, “With the price of copper going up, it makes sense to continue mining operations at ASARCO. Unfortunately, we do not have specific information or dates at this time.”
“Our local economy relies on the long-lasting partnership with Asarco/Grupo Mexico and reopening the smelter to bring back workers is important for the local schools and community,” Gregorich said.
They discussed the need for skilled workers for the copper industry. Asarco/Grupo Mexico supports the local college and career technical programs. These programs provide the skilled work force for the future.
CAC Aravaipa welding and industrial technology programs were in the process of ramping up their programs when the COVID-19 shutdown came and these programs were stopped. The college had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into these programs.
“I was disappointed that COVID-19 temporarily closed the Aravaipa CAC welding and industrial trades programs. These programs are a big part of our local high schools’ college and career readiness programs,” said Mr. Gregorich.
“The college and high school had been working together to offer high-tech training to prepare local students for high paying industry level jobs of the future. Mining operations rely on these highly skilled workers for their future,” added Gregorich
Both Gregorich and Steward agreed that these technical college programs are critical to the future of our community and Asarco/Grupo Mexico plan to work together to restore these programs as soon as possible.