Propane tanks and power generators at the Minto mine site, which was inspected on April 26, prior to its abandonment by Minto Metals Corp. (Screenshot/Department of Energy, Mines and Resources inspection report)

Propane tanks and power generators at the Minto mine site, which was inspected on April 26, prior to its abandonment by Minto Metals Corp. (Screenshot/Department of Energy, Mines and Resources inspection report)

Former Minto workers’ claims won’t be heard by receiver

Receiver dealing with unsold copper states claims by terminated employees are outside its purview

Minto Metals Corp.’s court-appointed receiver says the mining corporation’s former workers are outside its purview.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc., commonly known as PwC, has published a series of updates and recent documents related to Minto Metals Corp. on its website.

In May, when Minto Metals Corp. abandoned the Minto mine site located north of Whitehorse, all the corporation’s directors resigned and its employees were terminated. The Yukon government assumed care and control of the mine and contracted JDS Mining to continue with water treatment and management.

Now the Yukon government and multiple businesses are taking Minto Metals Corp. to court. Court documents filed against Minto Metals Corp. outline a total of more than $19 million outstanding, in addition to $42.2 million in liens registered against the mine by 25 separate applicants.

On June 29, the Supreme Court of British Columbia granted an order appointing PwC as the receiver of certain assets of Minto Metals Corp.

Per the website, the unsold concentrates receivership order provides a stay of proceedings against Minto Metals Corp.

The order also appoints PwC as the receiver of all copper concentrates procured by Minto Metals Corp. which have not been sold, authorizes and directs PwC to sell the unsold concentrates to Sumitomo Canada Limited, requires PwC to hold the proceeds from the sale in the post-receivership account and gives permission to Sumitomo Canada Ltd. to remove any copper concentrates it owns from the mine site.

On July 5, the court granted an amended and restated order which, among other things, confirms lien claimants’ ability to take the required steps to preserve their rights.

As of July 7, an unspecified number of ex-employees of Minto Metals Corp. contacted PwC about filing proof of claim forms, which the website indicates is beyond PwC’s jurisdiction.

“The receiver does not have any jurisdiction to deal with any of the employees of Minto Metal Corp., or commence any applications under the Wage Earners Protection Program on their behalf,” reads the website.

Per the website, PwC filed its first report to court dated July 14.

The report, which was prepared for a hearing scheduled from July 18 to July 20, provides an update to the court on PwC’s activities since its appointment as receiver. It indicates PwC is authorized and directed to sell up to about 400 dry metric tonnes of unsold concentrate to Sumitomo Canada Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of a multinational firm that works in a wide variety of sectors including mining, for about US$1.49 million.

Application for bankruptcy order, petition filed

Sumitomo Canada Ltd. asked that the court declare Minto Metals Corp. bankrupt.

Court documents sum up the amount Minto Metals Corp. owed to Sumitomo is estimated to be about US$5.7 million, plus legal fees and interest.

“It is not certain whether the Minto Mine site is secure and, in that regard, it is unknown whether the property is being safeguarded and maintained,” reads a petition filed June 28.

Per the petition, the mine’s insurance runs out at the end of June unless Minto Metals Corp. pays an additional premium to the insurer, and it is unknown whether the purchased concentrate is being safeguarded and insured.

“As noted above, Sumitomo is in the process of concluding an agreement with JDS, who can begin transporting the purchased concentrate on July 1. However, during the week of June 19 while Sumitomo’s negotiations with JDS were ongoing, Sumitomo learned that [the Yukon government] might seek to prevent Sumitomo from removing the purchased concentrate from the Minto Mine site,” reads the petition.

“Sumitomo sought to negotiate an agreement with [the Yukon government] to avoid any dispute regarding Sumitomo’s right to recover its purchased concentrate, however, it very recently became clear that the parties would not be able to conclude any such agreement.”

Contact Dana Hatherly at