Buyer of Springer tungsten mine sees a market bottom for industry

The Idaho company that’s paying $5 million for a long-shuttered tungsten facility in Pershing County is acting on the belief that the mining cycle is near its bottom.

Americas Bullion Royalty Corp. of Hayden, Idaho, said last week it’s buying the Springer Mining Co. from EMC Metals Corp. of Reno. The Springer mine and mill is at Imlay, between Lovelock and Winnemucca.

The deal also includes a potential vanadium mining property near Carlin and a small copper property in Pershing County.

William Sheriff, president and chief executive officer of Americas Bullion, noted that General Electric invested $71 million in construction of the tungsten mine and mill in the late 1970s. GE operated it only briefly before shutting it down in the early 1980s.

EMC paid $4.5 million, and agreed to pay another $1 million in reclamation liabilities, when it acquired the Springer property from GE in late 2006. The Reno company then invested another $20 million in upgrading the facility during the past four years.

A study completed late last year estimated that the Springer Mine has a five-year life.

Sheriff said his company is focusing on the acquisition of undervalued and distressed assets as small and mid-sized miners struggle to raise capital.

“The distressed asset market presents a compelling opportunities for companies with liquidity and access to capital,” he said.

Publicly held EMC, meanwhile, said the sale allows it to clear $3 million in debt off its books and will allow it to focus on development of a scandium property in New South Wales, Australia.

George Putnam, the CEO of EMC, said sale of the Springer property was a priority goal of his company this year.

NNBW staff


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