Redfern Resources Ltd. is dead in the water.
Work has stopped indefinitely at the Tulsequah Chief mine near Atlin, BC, the company announced February 18.
Costs have ballooned. New estimates put the project cost at more than $500 million. Earlier estimates pegged the cost at just two-thirds of that.
Without enough money to move ahead, the company is now searching for a partner to help revive the project, it said in a news release.
Redfern hopes to re-open the old mine and barge ore rich in zinc, copper and lead down the Taku River to Juneau, Alaska.
The project has met heavy resistance from conservationists who worry that mine activity will hurt the river’s salmon stocks. The company faces delays inside the US environmental review regime, which it has yet to clear.
Plummeting commodity prices have also hurt the company’s prospects of opening the mine soon.
The company has put a brave face on all this, only pushing back the mine’s expected opening date from early 2010 to autumn of that year.
Redfern has spent $170.8 million on the project to date. For this, it has 15 kilometres of roads built at the mine site, an airstrip and temporary camp, and a collection of heavy equipment, river tugs and tow vehicles.
But it’s all of little use without a partner with deep pockets to bring the project to fruition.
Shareholders are jumping ship. Following the company’s announcement it had indefinitely suspended work, the stock price fell by 75 per cent to one penny, where it continues to sit today.