The Yukon Supreme Court has received a petition from an engineering firm that claims it is owed more than $1 million by Minto Mine. (Jim Elliot/Yukon News)

The Yukon Supreme Court has received a petition from an engineering firm that claims it is owed more than $1 million by Minto Mine. (Jim Elliot/Yukon News)

Engineering firm petitions Yukon Supreme Court with $1 million claim against Minto Mine

Petition seeks start to receivership and sale process. Claim not yet proven in court.

A multinational engineering firm is petitioning the Yukon Supreme Court for an order demanding more than $1 million for work they claim was done for Minto Metals Corp. but has gone unpaid. The company’s petition suggests that the receivership and sale of Minto’s mine located about 250 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse may be necessary for them to be paid.

Linkan Engineering Canada ULC filed their petition with the court on Dec. 2. The petition demands $1,040,520 the company claims it is owed for work it was contracted to do beginning in late 2021. Along with the principal amount Linkan claims it is owed, the company is also seeking interest accrued since Sept. 30, the date they allege payment was due.

Linkan is seeking declarations from the court verifying the amount it says it is owed as well as its claimed rates of interest and a lien on Minto Mine’s operation it filed under the Yukon’s Miner’s Lien Act.

The act states that any person who performs any work or service for a mine in the territory can claim rights to the material produced from that mine equal to the value of the service they performed.

The petition says the lien applies to Minto Mine’s claims and leases, the ore it produces and all equipment, machinery and other movable assets in use at the mine.

Linkan also wants the court to declare that its lien on the Minto operation should take priority over any claims from 14 other groups listed as respondents alongside Minto. The other respondents include banks, heavy equipment companies, financial services groups, a mining company and others that Linkan’s petition states have a financial relationship with Minto.

The engineering firm also wants the court to order the appointment of a receiver and to order that the mine be put up for sale with Linkan overseeing the process and free to inspect and appraise the property with the proceeds of sale paying for any necessary engineering, consulting or marketing work.

The petition contains a description of the work Linkan claims Minto has not paid them for. Linkan claims that they entered into a contract with Minto in November 2021 and performed water quality testing, a review of a water treatment facility at the mine that was not operating and a variety of design and construction work dealing with the mine’s water treatment system.

Linkan claims that as of Oct. 3, a total of 17 invoices they sent to Minto were outstanding as they hadn’t been paid in full.

Minto and the other parties had not filed responses as of Dec. 5. Linkan’s claims have not been heard or proven by the court. Minto’s CEO did not reply to a request for comment by the News’ print deadline.

In spring 2022, the Yukon government told the public that Minto had missed its deadline to pay an additional $32 million in financial security held to cover the costs of the cleanup and closure of the mine. This led the government to amend the mine’s license, limiting its operations and demanding more frequent reporting to the government as ways of limiting the environmental risks posed by the mine.

A Yukon government department of Energy, Mines and Resources representative said the government has been working with Minto on a plan to get the security paid. They said the government currently holds approximately $74.1 million in security for the mine meaning Minto has furnished roughly an additional $2 million since this spring.

The government also reduced its overall security requirement for the mine from approximately $104 million to $93.2 million. The Energy, Mines and Resources representative said this reflects work done by Minto to reduce environmental liabilities at the site and also a revised security estimate that no longer includes some work at Minto planned for the future.

The Yukon legislature also heard last month that the existing ore terminal in Skagway that Minto uses to ship ore to Japan faces an uncertain future — it may be slated for demolition and replacement with a new cruise ship facility. Work is underway on a solution but Yukon Minister of Economic Development Ranj Pillai acknowledged Minto might be left shipping ore from a port in Northern British Columbia in the interim.

-With files from Dana Hatherly

Note: Following the News’ deadline Minto Metals CEO replied by email stating that the company dispute’s Linkan’s claim and will vigoursly defend its position in court. He declined to comment further as the matter is before the courts.

Contact Jim Elliot at jim.elliot@yukon-news.com