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Saturday, June 6, 2009

How to live on a former Asarco smelter site

ASARCO former Ruston and Tacoma smelter site --
".... the cities of Ruston and Tacoma make money from the trickle down of millionaires, the developer rides the housing bubble through the crisis, and the EPA finds a new owner to take care of the toxic cleanup. But whatever kills you after three years is your own problem, because after the property is sold it has a three-year warranty. But, they add reassuringly in their FAQ, there will be a homeowners association prepared to manage that risk for you."

Friday, June 5, 2009

1988 "Only Asarco’s El Paso smelter currently treats concentrates that are considered to have high levels of volatile impurities"

"....[1988 - four years before the ConTop installation...] contamination of the soil surrounding a smelter also is of concern. Fortunately, toxic metals are present only in very small concentrations in most domestic copper ores.  Only Asarco's El Paso smelter currently treats concentrates that are considered to have high levels of volatile impurities. The Anaconda-Butte and Asarco-Tacoma smelters used to treat such concentrates, but they closed in 1980 and 1985, respectively..."

U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Copper: Technology and Competitiveness,
OTA-E-367 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, September 1988).

1998: Yet another study that showed it is not just Lead-pottery and Lead-candy-wrappers

"...for three smelter studies: El Paso, Texas Lead Study [19], Helena Valley Lead Study [20],
and Silver Valley-Revisited Lead Study [17]. In the Midvale Community Lead Study [22] ....
The isopleths [i.e. graphs], which show increasing soil-lead concentrations in the vicinity of the smelters,
“support the conclusion that the smelters are the primary sources of lead contamination in the
In addition, the Heavy Metal Exposure Study [60] found that “there was a general trend
toward increasing levels of environmental metal burdens with proximity to the smelter.”
evidence for the emitter being the contributing source of the lead, therefore, stems from
increasing soil-lead concentrations with decreasing distance from the emitter."

February 1998
EPA 747-R-98-001a
Prepared by
Battelle Memorial Institute
Technical Programs Branch
Chemical Management Division
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC 20460

"In 1999, Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D. C. published a report on .... uranium and radioactive chemicals in the “Copper Belt” of Southern Arizona."


"Levels in excess of the federal MCLs and state guidelines were found in groundwater and surface water samples, as well as soil and sediment samples at abandoned and active copper mines. TENORM exceedences were also found in groundwater at active and inactive copper mines. Uranium byproducts were recovered from heap leach dumps and in-situ operations that feed SX-EW and ion exchange circuits at several copper mines. Radioactivity was discovered in copper mineral processing waste streams. Elevated levels of radioactivity were also found to occur in the process solutions and process wastes."

For entire report, see:  "

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"Vedanta tumbles on Asarco bidding war"

Google alert:
Vedanta tumbles on Asarco bidding war · Finance Yard
By Financial Times
.....Read the full story on the Financial Times.
"....Vedanta, through its Sterlite subsidiary, has the right to match any higher bid under the terms of its deal with Asarco’s administrators. However, the group had less than $2.9bn in cash at the end of March so an equal offer would probably require raising fresh capital.

“We are concerned that the higher bid by Grupo México could lead to Vedanta overpaying for the Asarco assets,” said GMP analyst Matt Fernley, who cut Vedanta to “hold”. He valued the Asarco assets at just $1.8bn."

Semi-privatization of PEMEX through "service contracts" - coming up in JULY

"Mexico's state oil company PEMEX this month or next will have the model ready for new service contracts..."Risk sharing and production sharing arrangements are still not legal by constitutional standards in Mexico. [The performance-based contracts] try to emulate risk sharing and production sharing without violating constitutional restrictions," González said."

PEMEX service contract model to be ready by July

"Americas Mining Company Wins Right to Appeal Judgement in ASARCO Ruling without Posting Cash Bond"

Americas Mining Company Wins Right to Appeal Judgement in ASARCO ...

"...U.S. Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Fifth Circuit District Court in Brownsville, Texas yesterday granted Grupo Mexico the right to post an alternative financial guarantee to secure its Motion for Stay. In its opinion, the Court said it would allow AMC [subsidiary of Grupo Mexico] to place in escrow shares of Southern Copper Corporation [Peru] stock rather than a cash bond, as was requested by ASARCO, to secure the enforcement of any judgment at appeal. The appeal is expected to take at least a year...."

updates from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regarding the ASARCO site in El Paso, TX.

CEQ ASARCO (El Paso) Update Under the heading "Custodial Trustee and Future Remedial Work" a paragraph has been updated to read :

"A proposed settlement agreement was filed with the bankruptcy court by the state of Texas and ASARCO. Under the proposed settlement agreement, ASARCO's El Paso smelter property will be placed in an environmental custodial trust and managed by a custodial trustee. Though the custodial trust approach has not yet been approved by the bankruptcy court in the ASARCO case, the TCEQ wishes to identify a potential trustee in the event that one must be chosen quickly as a result of the bankruptcy process. Any interested party is required to respond to the Request for Information (RFI), which is posted The deadline for submittal of responses to the RFI was June 1, 2009. The TCEQ received 25 submittals and is proceeding with evaluations."

You can also view this update on the main ASARCO web page.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Poker game raises the bid -- but, what are the stakes?

"MEXICO CITY, June 2 (Reuters) - Copper miner Grupo Mexico said on Tuesday would contribute $1.55 billion to Asarco, lifting the total amount of cash on hand in the Asarco estate available for distribution to its creditors to $2.9 billion."

"Americas Mining Company, a Grupo Mexico Affiliate, Amends Reorganization Plan to Retain Equity Interest in ASARCO LLC"

"[June 2, 2009 Business Wire]....the competing plan under consideration by the Court, offered by India-based Vedanta, offers only $1.1 billion in cash and a non-interest bearing so-called “copper note,” which Vedanta values at $200 million, backstopped only by a $100 million letter of credit. As previously announced, AMC has funded an escrow with $1.3 billion to backstop its plan. A third plan, offered by Harbinger Capital Partners, amounts to $500 million in cash with interests in litigation against Vedanta and AMC that may never be realized...."

"Insurer Objects To Grupo's Asarco Plan Disclosures"

"Insurance company Century Indemnity Co..... lodged its objection Friday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, claiming that the Mexican parent company’s disclosure statement fails to provide adequate information..."

Monday, June 1, 2009

20090504 Grupo Mexico could potentially win $2.6 Billion dollars if Sterlite loses their ASARCO bid (that's a lot of money)

"NRI billionaire Anil Agarwal-led Sterlite Industries faces a potential $2.6-billion lawsuit if it loses out in the race to acquire America's third-largest copper producer Asarco to the target firm's parent company Grupo Mexico....."

"Asarco's independent board and Sterlite sought the approval of certain conditions under which Asarco would grant a release from the potential $2.6 billion lawsuit to be brought against Sterlite for having breached the original purchase agreement to buy Asarco's assets.

However, Judge Schmidt (of bankruptcy court) ruled that such release will not take effect if it is the Grupo Mexico Reorganization Plan the one that is eventually confirmed and approved, in which case Asarco, under the control of Grupo Mexico, would be able to pursue the aforementioned suit against Sterlite," Grupo Mexico said....."