Rio Tinto Minerals and International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 30 have agreed to extend an existing labor contract by five years, giving more than 500 workers in Boron a 2.5 percent annual raise through May 2021.

The accord, ratified Dec. 15 by 65 percent of ILWU locals, signals smooth labor relations at Rio Tinto’s Mojave Desert borate mine, one of the world’s richest.

“This agreement ... enables us to further strengthen our business and continue investing in our Kern County-based mining operations in Boron,” the company’s General Manager in California, Isabelle Brassard, said in a news release.

“At the same time, the agreement provides a solid foundation to be more globally competitive and maintain our position as the world’s leader in borate minerals and refined products.”

ILWU Local 30 President Dave Liebengood praised Brassard’s leadership for keeping both sides at the table.

Borates are used in hundreds of products, including fertilizers, glass, fiberglass, ceramics and detergents.

Sweetwater Tech Resources LLC, the Tucson, Ariz.-based developer of oil field wastewater treatment plants planned for Lost Hills and Wasco, has selected Los Angeles-based Water Planet to provide the technology for the projects.

Scheduled to begin construction early next year on a pilot basis, the projects would ultimately recycle between 800,000 and 4 million gallons per day of “produced water,” the salty fluid that comes up from the ground with local oil.

The purified water would be reused by local industry and agricultural companies.

A Kern County landowner has agreed to pay $46,000 to settle allegations it failed to acquire waste-discharge permits required by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The agency says M.C. Land Co. neglected to obtain a water quality permit for its commercial irrigated property. Such permits are required, it says, because pesticides and fertilizers used on cropland have the potential to pollute streams and groundwater.

A Canadian company building a 200 megawatt-AC solar plant near Rosamond has closed a financing deal that gives a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Power a majority stake in the project.

Recurrent Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ontario-based Canadian Solar Inc., agreed to an equity agreement giving Southern Power 51 percent ownership of the 2,000-acre Garland solar photovoltaic plant expected to begin commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Recurrent said the financing package consists of a combined construction and term-debt facility with an undisclosed, five-bank syndicate.

Southern California Edison has agreed to buy electricity from the plant under a long-term power purchase agreement.

The owner of RJ’s Bar and Grill, Russ Carter, has pledged to donate proceeds from his eighth-annual golf tournament to the AIS Cancer Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital.

Carter’s donation, raised in November and expected to total in the thousands of dollars, will be used to cover transportation and housing costs for out-of-town patients who need multiple treatments over a period of a few days.

Greenfield Market at 9590 S. Union Ave. has become a U-Haul neighborhood dealer.

Store owner Ghassan Abouied’s agreement with U-Haul Co. of California gives his customers access to trucks and towing equipment for rent, as well as rental support items and in-store pick-up for boxes.

The rental operation is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

The Ecological Farming Association will host the 36th annual EcoFarm Conference Jan. 23 to 23 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove.

United by the theme “Regenerating our Lands and Water,” the conference will feature more than 70 workshops targeting farmers, ranchers, distributors, retailers, activists, consumers, students and educators.

Attendees can registration online at

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