Aug 29 2015
Reopened mine bringing in new business
MOJAVE - The reopening of the Golden Queen Mine in Mojave has brought another new business to town to provide the parts and service for the mine's heavy equipment.
Phoenix-based Road Machinery recently opened an office in a storefront on K Street in Mojave's downtown. A distributor for Komatsu, the second-largest mining machinery manufacturer in the world, the company provided nearly all of the heavy equipment for the mine, including trucks capable of hauling 100 tons of rock.
The equipment is "running fabulous," said mine manager Ken Mann, but should there be problems, the local outlet is on hand to deal with it.
"The hard work comes in after you deliver the equipment," said Steve Morico, Road Machinery's director of mining sales, speaking to the Mojave Chamber of Commerce Thursday.
Road Machinery has a dedicated technician for the mine located onsite, in order to help keep operations there running and on schedule, Morico said.
Prior to starting operations in Mojave, the company's nearest branch was in Bakersfield, one of nine in California. The company also has operations in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
The company is already outgrowing its temporary storefront and is planning on building a larger facility on Business Route 58, just east of the California Highway Patrol office, a $1 million investment. They hope to be open there within a year, Morico said.
In addition to the Golden Queen Mine, the Mojave location will also provide services to other mining operations in the area including CalPortland Cement, National Cement and hopefully Rio Tinto's borax mine in Boron. Globally, Rio Tinto is the company's largest customer, he said.
As part of the firm's efforts to integrate into the community, it has offered a two-year scholarship for an area student for training in the mechanical side of the operations.
Brian McClain, a 2015 Rosamond High School student, will attend Oklahoma State University, alternating semesters between school and working with the company in Mojave, Morico said.
The goal is for him to join the company full-time when his schooling is complete.
He already spent the summer interning with Golden Queen Mine, he said.
The scholarship program is one the company has practiced for the past decade or so, as a means of developing and retaining the skilled workforce it needs. Those who have completed the program in past years remain employed with the company.
"They're our superstars. It works out very well," Morico said.