The Lisbon Valley Copper Mine, located 40 miles southeast of Moab, plans to cease its mining operations in late January or early February, putting more than 100 employees in Grand and San Juan counties out of work.

The Lisbon Valley mine's parent company, Constellation Copper Corp., based in Lakewood, Colo., announced in a Nov. 30 release that it will mine approximately 900,000 more tons of ore from the site before shutting it down early next year.

The mine will also shut down, clean out and partially disassemble its secondary crushing plant, agglomerator, and stacking system for a possible future sale, the company said.

However, over the next one to three years, the mine will continue to perform a leaching recovery process which will extract copper from approximately 11 million tons of ore which has already been mined. This leach-only process, which could recover as much as 40 million pounds of copper, will continue to employ 55 to 60 mine workers.

The leaching process has proven to be slower than expected since the mine opened in late 2005, even after several initiatives were implemented in an effort to increase production.

When the Lisbon Valley mine opened, becoming the second active copper mine in Utah, it was anticipated that the mine's ore reserves would keep the mine busy for seven to 10 years. But the mine's operating costs have continued to be a cash drain on Constellation Copper Corp., prompting officials' decision to close down the mining operation in early 2008, the company said.