Macon County Chronicle

Nystar Zinc Mine to Increase Production; 300 New Jobs to Open

With the economic downturn still plaguing our country, the prospect of 300 jobs in a neighboring county, is definitely an opportunity for unemployed folks in the surrounding area.

Nystar Zinc Mine, which is a Belgium based company located in Smith County, purchased the Mid-Tennessee Zinc Corporation during federal bankruptcy proceedings earlier this year. MTZ acquired the mine complex in 2006 and it has been on care and maintenance since October of 2008 with 40 employees. The mine complex has a history of close association with Nystar’s Clarksville smelter, which was originally constructed to treat concentrate from the mine complex. According to officials last spring they would recommence operations when the price of zinc increased and during the second week of November the price was just under $2,000 per dry metric ton, and is continuing to rise.

Since this past summer, the company has been preparing for full scale operations and in December, they are expecting to begin operating two shifts, five days a week.

Nystar is also expecting to increase employment during the next few months until the company is fully operational, which hopefully will be reached during the first quarter of 2010. When the zinc mine is operating at full capacity they could employ as many as 300 people and mine over 20,000 tons of ore per month.

 Officials recently stated that the company plans are to hire 20 to 30 people per month through March or April of next year and once operations are underway, the mine complex will continue to be an important source of concentrate for the Clarksville smelter, providing approximately 50 percent of its concentrate requirements. And according to another Nystar insider, ore reserves indicate a mine life of ten to fifteen years, but that expectancy can be increased with additional exploration and the location of added reserves. The company, which produces zinc, lead and other valuable metals, is a supplier to the global commodity market and is driven by value creation.

Individuals who are interested in possible employment at the facility should apply at the career center in Smith County instead of the zinc mine, and need a least a high school diploma or GED as part of the job qualifications.