Repeated statements from IMMC that the ceramics plant will initially operate elsewhere1,2, with no estimate of when it will operate locally, are in direct conflict with many of the assumptions in the MEA, IS, and DEIR, and may invalidate the latest project application.

How Many Permanent jobs?

The Idaho-Maryland documents estimate 400 permanent jobs, 200 for the mining operations and 200 for the ceramics plant. The following information is taken from Table 6 -Estimated Workforce Phasing as published in the Idaho-Maryland Mine Project Documents, Appendix M, "Socioeconomics and Land Use", pg 8.

Year operations Jobs added Duration of Job
Year1 100 100 20
Year2 140 40 19
Year3 190 50 18
Year5 210 20 15
Year8 330 120 12
Year12 400 70 8
Year20 0 -400 0

*From each of the employment phase levels from Table 6 -Estimated Workforce Phasing, the duration of the job is calculated by assuming that each job will be full time until Project Year 20.

None of the jobs are really permanent, since the project is expected to last 20 years. 190 jobs will last 12 years or less. 210 jobs will last more than 12 years (53%). For the 400 permanent jobs suggested by the Idaho-Maryland Project, only 25% of those jobs are claimed to last the full 20 years, and more than 47% of the jobs will last 12 years or less.

How many of the permanent jobs will be for locals?

Of the grand total of 400 operations jobs, 126 (31.4%) are expected to be filled from Grass Valley, 67 (16.7%) from the surrounding Nevada County area, and 208 (52%) from out of the area (of which 138 are expected to move to Grass Valley);   [Taken from Table 7 - Idaho-Maryland Mine Population Projections, as published in Idaho Maryland Mine Project Documents, Appendix M, "Socioeconomics and Land Use", pg 10.]    Combining the Grass Valley jobs with those given to residents of surrounding Nevada County, locals may realize (31.4% + 16.7% = 48%) or (126 + 67 = 193 jobs):

48%, for a total of 193, of the permanent jobs could be filled by locals. This is the best case.

However, as shown above, only 53% of the jobs will last for more than 12 years. Therefore, IMM predicts (193 jobs for locals ) x 53% = 103 jobs lasting more than 12 years may go to locals. Again best case.

A recent study shows 75% of new jobs created in a local economy go to immigrants. "Who Benefits from Local Job Growth: Migrants or the Original Residents?", Timothy Bartik, Regional Studies: The Journal of the Regional Studies Association, Vol 27, #4, 1993, pp. 297-311. So, if this trend holds, then a grand total of 103 * .25 = 26 jobs for local residents.

Hence, we conclude that:
According to Idaho-Maryland Mine's projections of 400 permanent jobs, only about 103 jobs lasting more than 12 years could go to current Grass Valley area residents, with a real possibility that as few as 26 jobs would go to local residents. And if there is no ceramics plant these numbers plummet to 51 and 13 respectively.

How Much Do the Jobs Pay?

Using data provide by the project's SocioEconomic Analysis document [section 2.2.4, pg 12], the peak payroll for the combined operations is estimated to be $20 million and applies to approximately 400 employees. The document also states “The average salaries at peak operation of the gold and ceramics operations, respectively, are estimated to be approximately $65,000 and $45,000...” However, $20 million divided amongst 400 employees produces an average salary of $50,000. (see further analysis below) If we bring in 10 highly experienced miners at $100,000 per year, the average for the remaining employees drops to about $48,718 per year.

The Idaho-Maryland Project Overview, Fall 2008, states that workers in Nevada County in 2005 received an average salary of $32,500 per year. However, using data from Nevada County Board of Supervisors - Compensation and Benefits Review, Conducted by the Nevada County Grand Jury, June 26, 2008, pg 13, the average salary of a full time employee in Nevada County in 2008 is estimated to be $37, 893. (based upon Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Averages are very misleading however. According to the project documents about 50 employees per shift will be working underground. That totals to 150 of the 200 jobs, although at least 10/50 will likely be supervisors or skilled laborers. Figure 120 underground unskilled workers. Add in 25 administrative personnel in unskilled or minimum skill level positions for a total of 145 workers. Using local average wages per CA EDD for Q1 2008 as a guideline for all positions, we estimate that the lower wage positions will be paid less than $30K per year. It is easy to get an overall average of $50K/year with this assumption.
e.g. 145 unskilled * $30K/year plus 30 skilled * $68.5K/year plus 22 executive and professional * $125K/year plus 3 upper management * $300K/year = overall average of $50.275K.

Jobs are split 50-50 between the ceramics factory and the mine

Using current information, as provided by Emgold, each operation is forecast to provide at most 200 jobs over their life span. We do know that none of the jobs are permanent. Based on current information we estmate that should both projects move forward there will be 190 jobs lasting 12 years or less and 210 jobs lasting more than 12 years.

Is there now an Aggregate Plant?

The Fall 2008 Idaho-Maryland publication indicates that a gravel quarry will be added to the project. No numbers are available at this time as to how many jobs will be added for its operations and whether or not those numbers are included in any of the prior plans.

  1. “Mine lays off ceramic workers”, Aug. 2, 2007, The Union ( the “first commercial ceramics plant ... will open in another area where environmental reviews are not on the table” and “The plan is to build a production plant here, but Golden Bear [Ceramics] can start elsewhere right away”.
  2. Transcript: “Re-opening the Idaho-Maryland Mine: A Panel Discussion - June 25, 2008” - see responses to the question: “Air pollution; mining in serpentine; how to mitigate asbestos; epidemic in asthma in children.”

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