Teller County weighs gold price effects

Local gold mine is county's largest employer

Gold & Teller County's Economy

TELLER COUNTY, Colo. - Teller County, having recovered from the national recession, now watches what the effect of falling gold prices will have at a mine that employs 500 people.

The Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mining Company is the county's largest employer.  Spokeswoman Jane Mannon says there have been no layoffs or changes in production since the current management team arrived in 1995.

During a two-day period in mid-April, the per-ounce price of gold fell from $1,535 to $1,380.  Analysts said that 10 percent drop was the biggest in 30 years.  Since then, however, the price has risen to $1,471 as of Monday morning.

Mannon said gold price fluctuations are common and have short-term economic effects, while the mine plans for long-term goals.  No changes are planned at the mine, she said.

"When you look at the five-year average for gold price, it's actually still up around 60 percent," she said.  "It's now back to where it was two years ago."

Kevin Werner, a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and general manager of the Wildwood Casino in nearby Cripple Creek, said neither he nor the community is concerned.  He said they have faith that the mine will remain strong and the economy will continue its recovery.

"People feel better about what's going on," he said.  "People feel better about what's going on.  And if the economic climate is better, that's always good business."

Werner said he read a report stating gold prices will continue to rise during the next two years.

"But I have no idea how accurate it is," he said.

Gold prices began to fall last month after a report that China, one of the world's largest consumers of the precious metal, is entering a recession.

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