ERP Named Stalking Horse Bidder for Mountain Pass

ERP Strategic Minerals has been selected as the stalking horse bidder by the Chapter 11 trustee for Molycorp Minerals and entered into an asset purchase agreement with the trustee to purchase substantially all the assets and the related surface property rights at the Mountain Pass rare earth minerals mine.

Located in San Bernardino County, California, approximately 50 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada, Mountain Pass is the only mine and processing facility for rare earths minerals in the United States. The mine has an operating history dating back to the 1950s and was most recently placed on care and maintenance after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2015.

If ERP is successful in purchasing the Mountain Pass mine through the bankruptcy sale process, the company said it will work collaboratively with San Bernardino County, the California state agencies and other regulatory stakeholders to complete the necessary technical studies and restart plan to return the mine to sustainable operations. Recognizing the Mountain Pass mine as a strategic US mining asset, ERP said it intends to manage its operations as a long-term sustainable business based on high environmental standards.

“Our goal is to return the Mountain Pass mine and mineral processing operation into a viable, sustainable and environmentally responsible business,” said Tom Clarke, CEO of ERP. “We have a strong track record of restarting mines acquired out of US bankruptcy and Canadian CCAA situations. ERP is committed to mining operations utilizing best management practices and high environmental standards. This is a complex venture which requires the skills of a reputable, high-quality team with best-in-class technical expertise in the mining sector.”

To assist with restarting the Mountain Pass mining and processing operations, ERP said it intends to assemble a consortium of highly experienced mining experts and professionals to support the restart. ERP is working with Pala investments and Peak Resources, which have deep industry knowledge in the rare earths sector and substantial specialist mining expertise, regarding their involvement in the restart and operation of Mountain Pass.

ERP Strategic Minerals is part of the ERP Group of companies, which has successfully completed five acquisitions out of bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings in the past two years. The ERP Group operations include the second largest coking coal producer in North America, merchant coke batteries, an iron ore pellet production business, and related mining operations with more than $2 billion in forecasted aggregate revenue in 2017. Pala is a Swiss-based multi-strategy investment company focused on the mining and metals value chain with a strong track record of successful investments and value creation. Peak and its partners, Appian Natural Resources Fund and International Finance Corp. (a division of the World Bank), are developing the Ngualla Project in Tanzania into a low cost next generation rare earth project.

As featured in Womp 2017 Vol 05 -