Major player in mining equipment repair business opens plant in Delta

Shelby Jones, left, sends a trail of sparks flying as he cuts a piece of metal for a temporary support while Jim Haga installs wear runners as the two Phillips Machine employees refurbish a continuous miner from Indiana at the company’s new Western Slope facility. The mining repair shop located at 1440 N. Highway 50 in Delta opened for business the first week of November.

DELTA — The world’s largest independently owned mining equipment repair company has opened an 18,000-square-foot facility on 12 acres in Delta.

West Virginia-based Phillips Machine Services rebuilds mining equipment for 50 to 60 percent of the cost of new equipment, according to company officials.

Phillips Machine West, 1426 N. U.S. Highway 50, partially opened in November. The full facility opened in December with a dozen employees.

High shipping costs to customers in the western United States, as high as $40,000 one way, led to the company’s decision to put down stakes on the Western Slope.

“They’ll have an impact on our community for a number of reasons,” said T.J. Davis, director of the Delta Chamber of Commerce. “One is bringing new jobs to our area and jobs that pay considerably more than most jobs in our community. And being a counterpart in the mining industry is excellent.”

Phillips Machine Services was founded 30 years ago and employs 240 people at its headquarters. The company is privately held and has hundreds of customers, officials said.

Phillips Machine West is interviewing but not yet hiring fully. The company will hire quickly as the workload increases, officials said.

“We will continue to explore that,” said Phil Schmidt, general manager. “We just brought a person on this week. We’ve had a lot of interest. You’ve got to look at your facility, your workload and see if it’s calling for more hiring. You have to see what talent is out there, and there is talent out there. We get people in here every day wanting to come work for Phillips Machine. We’ll expand it at a moment’s notice.”

Average annual salaries for machinists, mechanics, fabricators and electrician-background employees will be $45,000 to $75,000, depending on experience. Workers will start at $20 to $25 an hour. Including the benefits package, compensation could be $80,000 to $90,000 a year, he said.

The Delta site has customers in Colorado, Indiana, Utah and Wyoming. The company wants it to be the hub for customers in the western United States, Canada and Mexico.

“In the past, there have been people out here who said, ‘We’d consider doing business with Phillips, but they just don’t have the business in the West.’ Now that has changed. We expect to increase our customer base substantially.”

The company initially looked at locating in Grand Junction, but land prices went up significantly with the latest oil and gas boom, he said.

“Having them come to our area will benefit the industry as a whole in the western part of the United States,” Davis said.

Phillips Machine has a worldwide presence with an operating partner in China and a location in South Africa.


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