Delay sought in Mineral Park sale

KINGMAN - A group of investors is asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware to extend the period for objections to the sale of Mineral Park mine.

Judge Kevin Carey on Jan. 20 approved the sale of Mineral Park mine's assets to Origin Mining for $10 million. Any objections were to be filed with the court by Jan. 16.

George Riddle, a mining safety instructor from Parker and chairman of the National Association of Mining Districts, said he went to work immediately to bring a valid competing offer to the court.

The open-pit copper mine near Chloride was once valued at more than $480 million, and posted revenue of $222.3 million in 2013. It can produce up to 50,000 tons of ore a day and had an estimated 20-year life as of 2013.

"To look at this, the value is enormous," Riddle said. "All estimates are about $200 million, so for someone to come in and take it for $10 million like Origin did would they like some partners and do something more amenable to people in the area there?"

An order extending the exclusivity period to file a Chapter 11 plan and solicit acceptances pursuant to U.S. Bankruptcy Code was filed Jan. 26 in the Delaware court.

Riddle said he was surprised and shocked that the court gave an extension.

"I have an immediate solution in getting everyone needed together to do some mining right away to create the monies needed to save this project themselves, especially the work force," he said.

Riddle contacted all of the lawyers involved and credible investors from a mining company that's traded on the New York Stock Exchange, though he asked the Daily Miner not to disclose its identity due to the sensitivity of negotiations.

Riddle said he was helping to negotiate the sale of 1,000 acres next to the Mineral Park mine pit and was talking with executives at Mercator Minerals, the Vancouver, B.C.-based parent of Mineral Park Inc.

"I saw that a disaster of bad mine management was going to happen," he said.

Riddle redirected his efforts to bringing in a better offer from a real company and "legally throw a wrench into the process." He wants to keep Mineral Park mine intact and restructure operations with good managers who carry out responsible mining.

He's starting the process to legally reactivate the dormant Wallapai Mining District and get district members to provide an "in-house solution to this tragedy."

In the latest development with Mineral Park, Great West Commercial Tire of Kingman on Monday filed a claim in the amount of $113,251 for immediate payment. The mine has been ordering large commercial tires and other products and services from Great West for five years, allowing the mine to continue operations while it attempted to negotiate a sale of its business.