Premier Magnesia in Gabbs impacts jobs, nationwide products
GABBS, Nev. — The next time you bathe in a tub full of soothing Epsom salts, you can thank Nevada’s longest, continuously operated mine in Gabbs — the only operating magnesium carbonate mine in the country.
The Fallon Chamber of Commerce, along with Lahontan Valley News, had a blast on May 2 as they exclusively toured Premier Magnesia, LLC.
Both parties witnessed an explosion at the mine, which occurs about every two to three weeks, according to President Lynden Johnson, who’s served the facility for almost 50 years.
The Gabbs location has 70 years of ore reserves and probable reserves greater than 120 years.
Using at least 25 tons of explosives to collect magnesium oxide, products are then shipped to Giles Chemical, the country’s largest Epsom salt producer, in Waynesville, North Carolina. MgO production capacity is in excess of 150,000 tons per year at the Gabbs facility.
Johnson said many of the Epsom salt products found in stores are composed by Giles Chemical, such as Dr. Teal’s.
“There’s a good chance of what you find in the stones was made in Gabbs,” Johnson said.
Although it’s about 83 miles outside of Fallon, 90 out of 125 employees at the facility are from Fallon, said Jennifer Williamson, human resources and safety coordinator.
“The tax dollars are used in Fallon even though Gabbs is in Nye County,” she said. “It’s a huge impact to the economy.”
Located miles beyond Sand Mountain and Earthquake Faults at Fairview Peak, the facility also is a wholesaler of Martin Marietta’s calcined magnesium and hydroxide slurry in 10 states, and specializes in sourcing and trading of non-metallic minerals.
Many of the products also are used for construction products, sewer and fertilization solutions, and over one million tons of soil and waste treated.
Deposits of the mine were discovered in 1927 and plant construction began in 1941, as a push to produce magnesium during World War II; the government produced more than 80,000 tons of metal.
At one time, Gabbs was the source of ore for the world’s largest magnesium metal plant located in Henderson.
In addition to the Gabbs plant, Premier Magnesia supplies light-burned MgO from Martin Marietta’s in Manistee, Michigan.
Demolition will be completed in three phases: asbestos abatement, interior demolition and exterior demolition. The first two phases have already begun inside the 150,000-square-foot retail location formerly known as Shoppers Square; the first visual of outside demolition will be in early October on the northwest corner of the project.