SMITH COUNTY – A Smith County zinc mine that employs more than 300 Upper Cumberland residents has closed.
Officials with Nyrstar Tennessee Mines LLC notified the state this week that it will shutter its operation at 120 Zinc Mine Circle in Gordonsville, effective Monday. The total number of affected workers is 346, it said.
Bill Scotting, CEO of Nyrstar, in a statement said that all their Middle Tennessee mines are being placed on “care and maintenance.” That includes three mines at Gordonsville, Elmwood and Cumberland and a processing plant at the Gordonsville site. All three mining facilities are located within 10 miles of each other within a 20 square-mile area of Smith County.
Scotting said “further mine operation suspensions may be necessary” in the wake of declining metal prices worldwide.
“The decision to put our Middle Tennessee Mining operations on care and maintenance was not taken lightly,” he said. “However, given the continued depression of the metal price environment, it is the right decision for the company. We continue to take decisive action to reduce spending in our mines, and further mine operation suspensions may be necessary if the depressed metals price environment continues. We expect to complete the process to divest the majority or all of our mines over the course of 2016.”
According to the notice posted with the state, employees at the facility are not represented by a collective bargaining agreement.
Nyrstar acquired the Smith County operation in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy court sale from Mid-Tennessee Zinc Corporation (MTZ) in May 2009.
More information will be added as it becomes available.