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Gold’s Plunge Triggers Mining Industry Cutbacks

The line of people queued up to receive unemployment checks here is twice as long as it was a year ago, before plunging gold prices hit the mining industry.

And the ripple effect of layoffs by Newmont Gold Co. has spread beyond the pits and shafts along the Carlin Trend, according to Dennis Lattin of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

“Even some of the service industries are starting layoffs,” he said, noting that subcontractors are filing for claims in Elko. His office handed out 599 checks last month. A year ago, the demand was less than half that.

Winnemucca’s state employment office is feeling even more of the brunt from layoffs. During the four weeks ending Jan. 24, 277 first-time claims were filed, compared with 155 in the same period last year.

“I think that is just the tip of the iceberg,” said manager Joe Pratt. Besides Newmont, mining companies that have laid off workers or plan to include Getchell Gold Corp., Echo Bay Mines, Hycroft Resources and Battle Mountain Gold.

Spokane-based Pegasus Gold has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is debating whether to continue operating its Florida Canyon Mine in Nevada.


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