A senior executive for a Mexican copper mine that has experienced numerous troubles since it was started by Vancouver’s Baja Mining Corp. (TSX:BAJ) is dead and another missing following a hurricane that slammed the Baja Peninsula earlier this week, shutting down the mine.
A consortium of South Korean lenders led by Korea Resources Corp. ended up taking over the financially troubled project.Baja Mining started the Minera y Metalurgica del Boleo copper-cobalt-zinc-manganese mine, but a series of financial setbacks has reduced its share in the project to just 10%.
According to a Baja news release, the mine’s chief operating officer, Kyoung Jin Park, was killed in a flash flood that hit the nearby town of Santa Rosalia earlier this week, and the company’s CEO, Sung Keun Chai, is missing.
“On behalf of Baja and its shareholders, I wish to offer my most sincere condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of Mr. Chai and Mr. Park and acknowledge the extraordinary commitment and contributions of these two individuals to the significant progress in advancing the Boleo Project,” Tom Ogryzlo, Baja’s interim CEO, said in a press release.The mine is currently shut down, according to Baja, although no major damage to infrastructure occurred.
The mine’s troubles began in 2012, when it was discovered the project was estimated to be $200 million to $400 million over budget. Baja founder, John Greenslade, was forced out. He quit as CEO and resigned from the board of directors.
“In my opinion, I was constructively dismissed as president and CEO,” Greenslade told Business in Vancouver at the time.
The company was sued by investors and the project appeared on the brink of failure several times. It was only salvaged when the consortium of Korean lenders bailed it out and assumed a majority position in the company.
The mine was expected to begin producing in the fourth quarter of this year.