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Shafter Mine to Close; Presidio County Tax Rolls Will Take a Hit

Shafter Ghost Town

Marfa Public Radio KRTS has learned that the silver mine in Shafter is shutting its doors. The mine's parent company, Aurcana Corporation is closing the facility due to financial reasons.

The company released a statement explaining that the mine is now on "care and maintenance."

In a live discussion moments after the company made the announcement John Waters, publisher of the Big Bend Gazette,  expressed regret for the mine's employees. Waters also said the company was not proceeding with what it terms its "resource estimate," attempt to reassess the value and availability of mineral resources beneath the ghost town of Shafter.

KRTS News also spoke with Presidio County Judge Paul Hunt, the county's top elected politician.

Despite repeated and acknowledged mistakes by the company, the mining operation is still one of the largest taxpayers in the county. He said the mine shutdown would result in a hit to county tax rolls. He highlighted "management missteps" in the operation of the mine.

Aurcana's stock, which had already dropped last week, hit a new low this week. A month ago, the company laid off half its workforce. The historic mine, long dormant in Shafter, was most recently re-opened in February 2011.

The mining company has disputed the tax appraisal made by the county. It is seeking to litigate over the dispute. In 2012, the Rio Grande Mining Company successfully argued for a reduction in its tax bill.

Former KRTS/KXWT News Director