Alaska’s state-owned investment bank files suit against owners of defunct Yukon mine

By James Brooks, Alaska Beacon - August 10, 2023
The ore loading machinery at Skagway’s ore transfer dock is seen on June 25, 2023, in Skagway, Alaska. (Photo by James Brooks)

The bankruptcy of Yukon’s Minto Metals Corp. spilled across the Alaska border last week as Alaska’s state-owned investment bank filed suit against the defunct mining company, joining a long list of creditors seeking repayment.

In a lawsuit filed July 31 in Anchorage District Court, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority claims Minto Metals failed to pay user fees for AIDEA’s Skagway ore terminal, used to ship mining concentrates out of the Yukon.

The City and Borough of Skagway took over ownership of the terminal in March, but before that transfer, AIDEA claims that Minto Metals owed more than $400,000 to the investment bank.

AIDEA has seized Minto Metals’ $350,000 security deposit, leaving a balance of $74,445.96. The bank is seeking that amount — plus legal fees — in the lawsuit.

AIDEA has a long history with the ore terminal, which it bought in 1990 for $25 million. The terminal operated for years before being shut down, then reactivated in 2007 at a cost of $14 million.

The terminal is located on waterfront property owned by Skagway, and after a cost-benefit analysis ordered in 2021, AIDEA elected not to renew its waterfront lease, effectively handing over the facility to Skagway.

The city subsequently signed a multimillion-dollar deal with the Yukon government, which is subsidizing a two-year renovation project in exchange for a 35-year preferential use agreement.

The AIDEA lawsuit is not expected to affect that arrangement, and city officials have said that the closure of Minto Metals’ Yukon mine is not expected to have a significant local effect.

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