Royal Oak teeters on the brink of bankruptcy

Royal Oak Mines' bid to stay alive continued Wednesday in Ontario where the troubled mining company asked a court for another four weeks of protection from creditors.

They weren't granted four weeks but they were given until April 1 to come up with a restructuring plan before the gold miner will be allowed to slide into receivership.

Royal Oak runs gold mines in northern British Columbia, Yellowknife, and Timmins, Ont. The company, under court protection since February, is trying to buy time for a restructuring plan to dig out from a debt just under $600 million.

Due to plunging gold and copper prices, cashflow from the company's mines is too small to cover its $40 million annual debt-service costs.

In addition to an extension, Royal Oak also asked for almost $12 million in additional financing.

Meanwhile, the British Columbia government has also given the company until Monday to fix a tailings dam at its Kemess South mine or it will be shut down. That would likely push Royal Oak into bankruptcy.

The company has about 1,000 employees with three gold mines in Canada, including Kemess in B.C. and the Giant mine near Yellowknife.