Former commissioner named community liaison
Kobex Resources Ltd./U.S. Energy Corp. has selected a new person to head its community relations efforts and it’s a familiar face. Former Gunnison County commissioner Perry Anderson, who has been working as a consultant for the Lucky Jack project for the past year, has become its community liaison.
Anderson is filling one of the roles vacated by former Lucky Jack project manager Clyde Gillespie, who stepped down in early October. Prior to that, Gillespie had spearheaded public relations efforts on behalf of the Lucky Jack project including scheduled weekly chats, water treatment plant tours, and an updated website for 18 months. Lucky Jack is owned and operated by a conglomeration of companies, Kobex Colorado Corporation and U.S. Moly Corp., which are both subsidiaries of their respective parent companies, Kobex Resources Ltd. and U.S. Energy Corp. The companies are proposing to develop a molybdenum mine on Mt. Emmons, known locally as Red Lady. When Gillespie stepped down in October, Kobex Resources Ltd. chief operating officer Maurice Tagami said the firms would hire several people to take on his role. In addition to Anderson, the company is searching for a new general manager, a health and safety manager and an environmental engineer. Those positions have not yet been filled. In the meantime, Tagami is filling in as general manager and U.S. Energy employee Fred Craft is taking on regulatory and permitting issues that Gillespie formerly handled. A 15-year resident, Anderson served on the Gunnison County Board of County Commissioners from 2000 to 2004. He owns and operates a lodging property in Gunnison. In addition, he’s worked as a ski instructor at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. In his new role as community liaison, Anderson says he anticipates “representing the community to the company and working with both entities to produce the best mine that we possibly can.” He will serve as a company spokesman but will not replace the senior management team of Kobex/U.S. Energy in representing the Lucky Jack project. Tagami says Anderson was a good choice. “Given his long-standing presence in the city and county and public service as county commissioner, we couldn’t think of a better qualified person to deliver our message locally and provide us with constructive feedback,” Tagami says. Anderson does not have any specific background in mining or the permit process that the proposed Lucky Jack project will undergo. However, he did help craft Gunnison County’s special area designation for the coal mines near Somerset during his tenure as county commissioner. “The only background I have with this process is as a county commissioner,” Anderson says. He anticipates learning with citizens about the process as the project moves ahead. High Country Citizens’ Alliance executive director Wendy McDermott says she’s not surprised that the company has chosen to replace Gillespie with several positions. “It’s yet another attempt at fragmenting important information that should be transparent and easily available to citizens, considering the magnitude of this issue,” she wrote in a statement. “Irrespective of who the corporate spokesperson or spokespeople are, a mine on Mt. Emmons would have very real, very serious detrimental impacts to our water and natural landscapes, and to the social and economic fabric of the Gunnison Valley.” Anderson says the public relations efforts that Gillespie started will continue after the New Year. In particular, the companies will resume their “Chats” program, which featured company representatives sitting down with citizens in an informal setting. However, Anderson says, the program will move to Gunnison in order to meet community requests that the program be available there. “We did six in Crested Butte and we’ll start after the New Year in Gunnison,” he says. Anderson does not anticipate moving the program back to Crested Butte. Instead, he says, U.S. Energy/Kobex intends to start a community advisory board to act as a sounding board for the company this spring. “The board is to provide the community with some ownership in dealing with and contributing to the resolution of any issues that come about as a result of community ideas and development of the project,” Tagami said. The board will be formed prior to the release of the companies’ plans of operations, scheduled for the first quarter of 2008, according to Tagami. However, Anderson indicated it may be delayed until the second quarter of 2008. “We want to go over it one more time and we want to produce it as near perfect as possible,” Anderson says of the potential delay. Citizens interested in serving on the community advisory board may contact Anderson at the Lucky Jack project office in Gunnison. The phone number for the office is (970) 641-4996.