Cemex to start mining at California site

Cemex is seeking final approvals on two 10-year contracts to mine a 493-acre plot on land in Soledad Canyon near the city of Santa Clarita, California.

The city owns the surface rights but Cemex was awarded mining contracts more than 10 years ago. After a period of an adversarial relationship, the city of Santa Clarita has been working with Cemex for several years to find a mutually beneficial compromise that would avoid the mine and compensate the company.

“Bringing a mine online is a very complex process, and for that reason, I’m not able to answer specifics (about when mining would begin,” said Sara Engdahl, spokeswoman for Cemex.

“The anticipated timeline to begin mining operations is dependent upon several steps the company must take before beginning operations.”

The process could take “many months” to complete, but the company remains “supportive of finding a mutually beneficial solution with the city of Santa Clarita,” she said.

“It is not a break in the partnership,” said Mike Murphy, intergovernmental relations officer for Santa Clarita. “They are very much committed to working with us on a legislative solution – but at the same time they’ve also indicated that they need to look at other options.”

Congressman Steve Knight, R-Santa Clarita, as well as Santa Clarita officials, are committed to a legislative solution, which is something that’s been discussed for more than a dozen years, Knight said Friday.

“I met with Cemex a couple of days ago, but I basically said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to give me a chance at this at least,'” Knight said, expressing frustration over past shortcomings on legislation to stop the mine.

Murphy said a legislative solution was Cemex’ preferred option, but officials are still unclear of the mechanism that would be used in Congress.

Murphy, Knight and other Santa Clarita officials have met with Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, R-Calif., to try and figure out whether a new bill would be identical to the last failed measure, SB 2938, or a different iteration altogether.

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