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Pinto Valley Mine outlines COVID-19 response planning actions

Pinto Valley. Photo by LCGross

In a letter to community partners, General Manager Mike Wickersham outlined the steps Pinto Valley Mine is taking to prevent the spread of the virus in their workplace, while supporting employees and optimizing copper production. 

Here is the full text: 

Dear Community Partners:

At Pinto Valley Mine, we continue to organize our COVID-19 response planning actions around four key principles.

  1. To prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace we have:
  • Established pre-access screening for all employees & contractors before entering the site to check for elevated body temperature or “flu-like” symptoms often associated with COVID-19;
  • Provided sanitizing supplies for mobile equipment operators for use in between crew change outs;
  • Donated N95 respirators to health care professionals in Gila County;
  • Installed “sneeze shield” barriers to protect Security guards and Warehouse staff;
  • Established social distancing guidelines for crew lineout meetings, for office spaces, and to limit the number of people in vans & pickups;
  • Established telecommute options for staff who can work away from site all or part of the time;
  • Providing cloth face masks to all employees and mandating they come part of our PPE to prevent the spread of the virus; and
  • Providing factual information based on CDC science to guide people in preventing the spread of the virus.

  1. To support our employees who are ill or caring for others affected by COVID-19 we have:
  • Established new pay practices which authorized 80-hrs of paid sick leave so that people who are not well or caring for others can stay home without loss of pay;
  • Modified attendance policies to ensure people missing work due to COVID-19 issues are not receiving any occurrences;
  • Established more rapid access to unused vacation time on short notice for more flexibility;
  • Provided access to virtual clinics so that employees who are unwell can receive initial diagnoses

outside of an ER or doctor’s office; and

  • Provided medical consultations for managing return to work safely once illness symptoms have been resolved.
  1. To support full copper production we are:
  • Optimizing maintenance uptime and reliability in Processing equipment;
  • Optimizing Mine blasting procedures for finer ore delivered to Processing;
  • Optimizing SXEW copper production; and
  • Optimizing Flotation Plant recovery.
  1. To stop all non-essential spending without compromising future results we are:
  • Placing a number of Engineering studies on hold;
  • Limiting recruitment to essential roles only;
  • Changing the timing of capital project expenditures;

Eliminating wasted time or excessive consumables usage; and

*Evaluating options to procure equipment and consumables at more favorable pricing.


With these principle-based actions and with the hard work of our Pinto Valley Mine team, we are pursuing two complementary objectives. First, we aim to keep our employees, our contractors, and their families healthy. Second, we intend to preserve the health of our copper business today and into the future. As the second-largest employer in Gila County and during this time of significant economic distress and uncertainty, we are firmly committed to doing all that is necessary to achieve and sustain these objectives.

If you should have any questions, please reach out to Jennifer Brown, HR Manager, at 928-473-6211 or via email at jbrown@pintovalleymine.com.


Mike Wickersham

General Manager


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