Trying times for Alleghany gold mine |

Trying times for Alleghany gold mine

Battles with federal regulators and low gold prices took their toll on financial results at an Alleghany gold mine last year, according to a company official.

Bad news continued this year when trading of the mine’s publicly held stock on the Pacific Exchange was suspended.

The Original Sixteen to One Mine Inc. reported lower revenue and a loss in 2001, according to an annual financial report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Original Sixteen to One reported an operating loss of $591,249 in 2001 on revenue of $716,515.

When combined with a $799,000 write-down of costs associated with developing a section of the mine, the net loss for the year totaled $1,449,292.

The mine in 2000 had a profit of $589,441, its first profitable year since 1995, on revenues of $1,729,659. The mine benefitted that year from $510,000 in timber sales and sales of its gold-encrusted quartz to jewelers.

There is still plenty of demand for the gold-encrusted quartz, said President Michael Miller, but the mine’s production was hampered by problems with federal regulators and low prices for gold bullion.

Every time the mine is cited by the federal Mining Safety and Health Administration, right or wrong, miners have to quit tunneling into the mine and fix the problem in a day or two, said Miller. He termed federal inspectors’ scrutiny “harassment.”

Mine personnel have been exploring at lower levels, which also took its toll on production at the short-staffed underground mine, which employed 20 people at the end of 2001.

Gold prices that dropped to historic lows last year also did not help.

“Certainly, in the last year it was a pretty hostile environment to be a gold miner,” said Miller, who describes the mine as the oldest publicly listed U.S. gold mining corporation.

The mine’s problems continued this year. Its stock was suspended from trading on the Pacific Exchange March 21 because it did not comply with listing maintenance requirements, said Betty Manning, the San Francisco-based exchange’s public information assistant.

The stock price ranged from 17 cents a share to 40 cents a share in 2001, according to the financial report. Its last trade on March 21 was at 33 cents a share.

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