Burrowing Under Mosquito Pass?
Coming ‘Round, Under, Over The Mountain?
By Kathy Bedell, © Leadville Today
This story was updated Oct. 14, 2021.
It was a Google alert, one of many Leadville Today receives to keep an eye on news that could impact Lake County. The notification shared info about a Webinar held on October 6 concerning The London Mine. An initial review of the documents revealed that a majority of the property is located in neighboring Park County, just the other side of Mosquito Pass.
The London Mine sits in the heart of what is known among geologists as the Colorado Mineral Belt named because of its prolific lineament of minerals stretching across the state. The mine is also directly adjacent to the historic Leadville mining district and just 5 miles south of The Climax Molybdenum Mine. The London may be in Park, but any activity in this area could impact life in Lake County in a number of ways.
So last week, LT sat in on the meeting with Bunker Hill Mining Corp. (CSE: BNKR, OTCQB: BHLL) executives as they announced the company’s intention to “enter into a joint venture with MineWater Finance LLC to explore the mineral potential of the London gold mine, and the surrounding district.”
MineWater Owns The London Mine
MineWater LLC was founded in 2014 by Joseph Harrington. Two years later the company acquired the London Mine from the former owner who was faced with a near one-million dollar penalty from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The charge: draining more than 1 million gallons of tainted water into South Mosquito Creek – every day!
Now, five years later Harrington has racked up a series of narratives regarding the company’s intention with the nearly 3,000 acres just the other side of the Mosquito Range. From dreams of recreation trails to water deals with the City of Aurora to last week’s announcement of possibly re-opening gold production at The London.
And why not? The London Mine’s history notes full production of the operation from 1875 to 1942, producing over 650,000 gold ounces from more than 3km of strike length on multiple gold-quartz vein structures. Remnants of the old mine and mill can still be seen by jeepers along the Mosquito Pass road which crosses over The Continental Divide at 13, 186 feet before it drops into Park County and eventually the town of Alma, home to MineWater.
Production at The London ceased due to metals prices and government production restrictions related to the War Powers Act of 1973. Small-scale mining operations continued after the cessation of WWII through the end of the 1970’s and exploration activities were undertaken through 1991, when the exploration agreement on the property was finally dropped by Lessees. For many years it was just another old ghost town on a jeep tour, but since Harrington’s acquisition a short five years ago, The London continues to make headlines.
Newsfeeds: The London Mine
- Aurora Spent $34 M on Water from a Toxic Mine.
- Recreation Trails: Mining Shacks to Ski Huts
- Outdoor Recreation: A Path to Preserving Colorado’s Past
This brings the timeline to last week’s webinar on The London Mine Joint Venture announcement between Bunker Hill and MineWater. The news that Harrington was exploring opening back up gold mine production at the site wasn’t a complete surprise, especially for those who follow the markets and see the resurgence of mining in the west. And the executive’s “too soon to tell” response to Leadville Today’s question about how the project would impact Lake County and Leadville’s historic mining district wasn’t surprising either. After all, it is early in the game for this venture, right now they are trying to put some cash together.
This is Todd Hennis from Colorado. Mr. Ryan of your board knows me well. I am involved in a large milling/processing potential project on the Leadville side of the Mosquito Range. Not wanting to put the cart before the horse, I know the London Mine over the years, and that there will be sufficient ore (based on Cobb’ Resources and other work). We are looking at the possibility of an all-weather tunnel under the Mosquito Range to transport ore and dumps to the Leadville side for processing. If of interest, get my details from Mr. Ryan of your board.
It would be another comment deemed premature by the corporate team – Executive Chairman Richard Williams, CEO Sam Ash and CFO David Wiens – who were running the show. However, it was clear that some initial discussion had already taken place between Hennis and the mine operators about processing some of the ore in Leadville. Historically speaking, such arrangements were standard during The London’s Pioneer Days of operation.
But that was then, and well, this is Leadville Today. What about the recreation development in the area, from winter trails to summer cycling? How could those trails and events be impacted for an operation that anticipates production within two years? And what about the tour guide operations that access the region? But above all, it’s about another precious natural resource: water. Leadville’s primary water source comes from The Mosquito Range. How could a possible “all-weather tunnel under the Mosquito Range to transport ore and dumps to the Leadville side for processing” impact Parkville Water District and its primary surface water at Big Evans Reservoir? History points to a former crossroads between the two entities, and it’s a cautionary tale.
And while Hennis did not want to “put the cart before the horse,” Leadville knows a good burro-owing story when it hears one. Particularly from a party that is still immersed in one the biggest mining disasters of the 21st Century.
The Gold King Mine Disaster
If the name Todd Hennis rings a bell then you may recall the glaring national headlines from August 5, 2015. The date when the infamous Gold King Mine located near Durango began pouring three million gallons of water and mine debris into the Animas and San Juan Rivers, turning these live-giving southern Colorado waterways into a frightening stew of arsenic, zinc, iron, and copper. Todd Hennis owns The Gold King Mine which continues to make headlines.
But when Hennis who describes himself as “involved in a large milling/processing potential project on the Leadville side of the Mosquito Range,” appeared in the chat and made his intentions known to The London Mine owners, it’s the kind of news that should make headlines in Leadville Today. To stay informed and involved, along the way.
After the webinar, as is the protocol on these matters, LT followed up with the webinar’s hosts, The Bunker Hill executives and their PR team, specifically asking for more details concerning Hennis’ comment. What conversations have already taken place between Hennis and their board members? And would they be willing to share the nature of those conversations with Lake County residents in an effort of transparency from the onset? That was last Thursday, Oct. 7.
No response . . . yet. Should there be one, this report will be updated. However, here is what Leadville Today DOES know so far about The London Mine project, as provided by the Bunker Hill Executive Team.
October 14, 2021 Leadville Today received a voicemail from Brad Barnett Vice President of Sustainability for Bunker Hill Mining. Included in the message was the following response to LT’s media inquiry after the initial Oct. 6 webinar:
“We have never had any contact with this gentleman Todd in any form. None of us know him. And the person referenced is not on our board. We do not have any intention of contacting him,” Barnett concluded, adding that their team will be over in Colorado at The London Mine to continue the potential for mining exploration at the property located just the other side of Mosquito Pass in Park County “sometime soon.” LT will keep readers and residents posted.
In addition, The Sole Proprietor of The London Mine, Joe Harrington with MineWater LLC wrote regarding the initial story with this information:
“I have never worked on the idea of a tunnel between London and Leadville with anyone. I am not interested in such a project and don’t believe it is viable — in fact there are numerous owners who can and have blocked such ideas in the past including me. Also Mr Hennis has not worked with us on anything ever. His assertions are just trying to stir up something where nothing exists. I don’t represent Bunker Hill.” Joe Harrington, Manager, London Mine.
London Mine Partners With MineWater LLC
“We are delighted to announce this partnership with MineWater to explore the prospective London Mining District in Colorado,” stated Sam Ash, CEO of Bunker Hill Mining. “This aligns with our strategy to grow the value of our company via the regeneration of closed and undervalued precious metals assets in North America in ways that leverage advanced mining, governance and sustainability practices. This partnership combines Bunker Hill’s mining expertise with MineWater’s superb track record of environmental remediation and stewardship, which is key to sustainably revitalizing historic mining districts. While the near-term focus and capital allocation priority continue to be the rapid restart of the Bunker Hill Mine and its subsequent organic development, we are very excited to add this new option to our North American value-creation pipeline.”
TRANSACTION OVERVIEW AND BACKGROUND
The Company has signed a term sheet to enter into a joint venture with MineWater, the current owner of the London Mine and associated land package totaling over 3,000 acres of patented ground. Under the terms of the agreement, the Company has the option to invest up to US$3 million over a four-year period to earn a 50% ownership position in the joint venture. Upon completion of the definitive agreement, a Board of Directors will be formed to govern the joint venture, to be comprised of 3 members to be appointed by the Company, and 2 members to be appointed by MineWater.
The agreement remains subject to final definitive documentation and due diligence and is expected to close by the end of 2021.
- Bunker Hill secures exclusive option to earn 50% in a joint venture with MineWater Finance LLC to explore the prospective gold-focused London Mining District in Colorado for US$3 million of exploration within four years
- District includes the London Mine which produced >650,000 gold ounces at an average grade of 23 g/t gold from 1875-1942 before being shut down by emergency wartime legislation; also contains other closed mine sites
- JV has exclusive rights to >3,000 acres of patented claim ground, containing intact underground access to known mineralization, >220koz of historic reserves (non-NI 43-101 compliant), significant further exploration prospects
LONDON MINE AND DISTRICT OVERVIEW
Located approximately 70 miles southwest of Denver, Colorado in Park County, the London Mine lies at an elevation of 11,000’ up south Mosquito Creek from the town of Alma. The London Mine sits in the heart of the Colorado Mineral Belt, the prolific lineament stretching NE to SW across the state and is directly adjacent to the historic Leadville mining district. The Climax molybdenum mine is located just 5 miles north of the London mine workings and many of the same district scale structural features can be traced between the properties.
The London mine had been in full production from 1875 to 1942, producing over 650,000 gold ounces from more than 3km of strike length on multiple gold-quartz vein structures. Production ceased due to metals prices and government production restrictions related to the War Powers Act of 1973. Small-scale mining operations continued after the cessation of WWII through the end of the 1970’s and exploration activities were undertaken through 1991, when the exploration agreement on the property was finally dropped by Lessees.
Next Steps for The London Mine
Similar to work already completed at the Bunker Hill Mine, the next steps will be to compile and geo-reference historic data on the property into 3D space. Modeling historic workings and drill data related to the London Mine across the district will allow for more detailed exploration drill planning and remote sensing program assignments to be ready for future field seasons.
Bunker Hill (CSE: BNKR) is a large-scale resource and patented land package located in Northern Idaho’s prolific Silver Valley. Visit our website to learn more: www.bunkerhillmining.com
This is an active, ongoing Leadville Today story. It will be updated as new information is received. If you have comments or information regarding this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank You!
© Leadville Today. Colorado Journalist Kathy Bedell owns The Great Pumpkin LLC, a digital media company that publishes Leadville Today and Saguache Today. She may be reached at email@example.com.
Life Time Goes Public, Initial Reviews
Last week brought additional IPO market news to Leadville’s main street as the owners of the Leadville Race Series – Life Time Group Holdings, Inc. (“Life Time”) announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 39,000,000 shares of its common stock, at a public offering price of $18.00 per share. According to a press release distributed to media wires, shares of Life Time common stock were expected to begin trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “LTH” on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. The offering is expected to close today, October 12, 2021, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
By Saturday (10/09/21), financial market watch experts were already weighing in on move.
“Has the U.S. IPO market reached peak fitness?” asks columnist Ciara Linnane from Market Watch. “It may have, based on Thursday’s market, which saw the latest fitness company to go public — Life Time Group Holdings — flounder in early trade, while another expected this week, iFit Health & Fitness, postponed its deal, citing adverse market conditions.”
Initial numbers from the Market Watch report:
- Life Time Group LTH, a Minnesota-based fitness chain backed by private-equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, saw its deal price at $18 a share, which was at the low end of its proposed range. The company raised $702.0 million as it sold 39.0 million shares. The stock’s first trade was at $16.57 at 10:42 a.m. Eastern for 1.8 million shares. At that price, the company was valued at $3.28 billion. The stock is trading on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker “LTH.”
- Life Time, which was founded in 1992, said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that as of Aug. 31, all 155 of its fitness centers are open, after closing in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company, which said it has 1.4 million members, also intends to open new centers this year and beyond.
- Life Time posted $30 million in net income on $1.9 billion in revenue in 2019, according to its filing. In 2020, it had a $360 million net loss on revenue of $900 million, and as of June 30, the company’s 2021 net loss was $229 million on revenue of $600 million.
In addition, Life Time’s wire report wrote, the underwriters have been granted a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 5,850,000 shares of common stock at the initial public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions. Time will tell what lies ahead for the Minnesota-based company which did not specify how much it plans to raise in its IPO. The fitness company which owns and manages the Leadville Race Series sold for more than $4 billion when it went private. But one thing is clear, this newly established LTH is an IPO that PbVille will be keeping an eye on in the days ahead.