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Another U.S. precious metals miner goes foreign

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 By Michael Miller

10/19/2017  8:59AM

Scotiabank will sell its gold trading unit following a scandal involving a US refinery and smuggled gold from South America.

The Canadian bank’s ScotiaMocatta business is one of London’s main gold-trading banks, and was acquired by Scotiabank almost two decades ago., Chinese buyers are the key targets of the sale, which is being led by JPMorgan. What prompted the sale was Scotiabank’s lending to Elemetal, a precious metal refinery in Dallas.

Earlier this year, US prosecutors accused workers at NTR Metals, a subsidiary of Elemetal, of a money-laundering scheme using “billions of dollars of criminally derived gold,” mostly from Peru: “knowingly conspired to purchase gold with the intent to promote the carrying on of organized criminal activity, including illegal gold mining, gold smuggling and the entry of goods into the US by false means and statements to US Customs, and narcotics trafficking.”

Of course the whole issue has layers of responsible entities downstream from the bank. NTR Metals is said to have imported more than $3.6 billion worth of gold from Latin America between 2012 and 2015. Scotiabank and ScotiaMocatta have not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Scotiabank has been seeking a buyer for the unit for up to a year, and is likely to shrink the business if a sale is not completed. Scotiabank has the biggest foreign presence of any Canadian bank, and is focusing its international strategy on the Pacific Alliance, a Latin American trade bloc comprised of Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia.
 By Michael Miller

07/20/2017  4:50PM

US President Donald Trump and staff were approach with a suggestion to nationalize the whole Mountain Pass enchilada to turn it into a national laboratory “dedicated to rebuilding America’s rare-earth mining industry, so the world knows it is safe to build high-tech manufacturing plants in the U.S.”

The Trump administration has not commented on the proposal that Mountain Pass be nationalized by eminent domain via the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Yikes!!
Shall I make a comment regarding my belief that the U.S. must retain a domestic mining industry? Yes.

Whether it is gold in California or rare earth minerals in California, state and federal governments must take notice as to reasons our rare earth deposit fell into a mixture of foreign hands and the Sixteen to One mine is again the last commercial underground gold operation. BUT, nationalization?

No, our governments have projected a negative attitude to miners. We ask for a neutral behavior of regulating the industry or even a helping hand. Nationalization will bring more harm than benefits. Yet, to make America greater than it has been for a while, how about governmental bureaucracy easing the pain to our miners? Hey business leaders…find another way.

Here is a tiny story of what I currently face regarding California water regulations. The Sixteen to One mine is a mineralized area commonly called a deposit. Surface water trickles through the earth and discharges from an underground hole excavated in 1865. The water has done this over 150 years with no adverse effect to Kanaka Creek and its environment. When the federal and state bureaucrat launched its broad brush to save the environment, identifying mineral levels jumped from measurements in parts per million to parts per billion. The number becomes larger and frightening to the “soft knowing eyes.”

Here is the result: California water public servants decided that the water from the Sixteen to One mine must be treated to meet drinking water standards before it passes into mineral rich Kanaka Creek, previously recognized as highly mineralized. This is governmental insanity without doubt! Mine water is not a problem. Using precious funds to negate a non-problem without beneficial gain is money lost towards production. There is no economy here that provides benefit to the public.
 By Michael Miller

06/15/2017  9:59AM

What a surprise!!!

A buyout group backed by a Chinese company has been declared the winner at a bankruptcy auction yesterday (June 14, 2017) for the Mountain Pass rare earths mine, the sole U.S. source of elements essential to electronic devices. Molycorp, the mine’s original owner, poured $1.5 billion into Mountain Pass in 2011, when rare earths prices were high. A drop in light and heavy rare earths prices forced the mine to close in mid-2015, and Molycorp went bankrupt. The US currently imports most of its rare earths from China. What contributed to the drop in price? China began dumping inventory into a market it controls.

An Australian led group of companies was designated as backup bidder. The group will be submitting an objection on or before June 19th to object to issues related to the auction process. Swiss bases mining investment fund, Pala, plays a role in the take-over as does ERP Group of Companies (private company). Russian-born billionaire Vladimir Iorich established Pala Investments in 2007.

The high bid was $20.5 million.

...

 

  
 
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