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Pea Ridge Mine sold to Alberici/MFC

The agreement ends litigation that has stalled mining plans

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Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 3:26 pm | Updated: 7:38 pm, Thu Jan 5, 2012.

SULLIVAN - A Canadian commodities supply chain and Overland-based Alberici Constructors will acquire the Pea Ridge iron ore mine here, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The new partnership between Alberici and MFC Industrial Ltd. will put an end to legal litigation that has stalled mining plans at the site since Jim Kennedy took ownership in 2001. Kennedy is president of St. Louis based Wings Enterprises.

What that means for the future of the mines is not immediately clear, but plans for the mine have been on hold since litigation was filed last year by Alberici.

The Sullivan Journal recently published a series of articles outlining Kennedy’s plans to extract iron ore and rare earth minerals from the mines located south of Sullivan off Highway 185.

Kennedy outlined a plan to ship ore via a pipeline to a facility that was being developed at the former site of PPG Glass in Crystal City. He has also advanced plans to extract highly valuable rare earth minerals, stating that hundreds of jobs would be forthcoming.

However, legal troubles dogged the plans after Alberici - who partnered with Kennedy to develop the mines - filed suit last summer. Apparently, a dispute arose between Alberici and Kennedy concerning equity interests in the venture, stalling progress at the mines. The former Pea Ridge Mine closed more than 10 years ago, after operating from 1963 to 2001. Kennedy acquired it soon after it closed, first developing a bird-hunting operation on the vast tract of land.

In the new partnership between MFC and Alberici, Kennedy will retain a 70 percent royalty interest on non-ferrous minerals and another royalty interest on ferrous minerals. The legal litigation will be dismissed.

“We are pleased to have settled all legal disputes with the owners of the Pea Ridge Mine,” said MFC’s CEO Michael Smith in a released statement.

MFC said it paid $13 million for its stake in the mine; Alberici has not released its financial stake in the new partnership.

During the Sullivan Journal’s visit to the mine in February 2011, Kennedy outlined aggressive plans to complete globally in the rare earth minerals market. He said that Pea Ridge was poised to create hundreds of area jobs.

The mine is estimated to contain more than 150 million metric tons of high-grade iron ore reserves.

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