Imperial Metals Seeks $100-Million for Cleanup Effort

By Joel Cuttiford

In the wake of last week’s major oil spill of mine waste in British Columbia, mine owner Imperial Metals Corp. is raising $100-million in debt to cover costs of the cleanup and to finish building the mine at the site.

The tailings dam burst at Imperial’s Mount Polley copper and gold mine, an accident that left many local residents unable to use the water supply.  The cleanup could ultimately cost between $50-million and $500-million.

“While the precise costs of remediation and repair are presently unknown, the company believes that the costs can be managed over time, given the underlying value of the company’s assets and by the resources provided by the additional financing,” Imperial said in a statement.

The company’s shares, which have plummetted since the spill, rose 5.8 percent today in early trading on the TSX.

Mount Polley has been closed indefinitely, costing the company a key source of revenue.

Imperial said that it would issue $100-million worth of convertible debentures.

N. Murray Edwards, the chair of oil and gas company Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., is a top shareholder in Imperial and has played a key role in the company’s response to the spill.

Edwards’ Edco Capital and affiliates have committed to buy $40 million of the issue, and his company has committed to buy more to meet Imperial’s fundraising needs if necessary.

Imperial said the Fairholme Partnership LP has also committed to buy $40-million. The Fairholme Partnership is a hedge fund launched in 2013 by Fairholme Capital Management.

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