An unnamed company has made a last-minute offer to buy two lead and zinc mines near Bathurst, N.B., that closed last fall.

A consortium of mining professionals bought the Caribou and Restigouche Mines for $4.25 million US on Tuesday, just one day before a planned auction to sell off the mines' assets.

About 200 people were laid off when Blue Note Mining closed the mines for the third time last October. The company filed for bankruptcy in July.

Bob Smith of PricewaterhouseCoopers said the consortium is working on a plan to reopen the mines, beginning with dewatering the mines that have been allowed to flood since they were closed.

"Permits and licences and all that sort of stuff that has to be arranged in order for the mine to go back into production," he said.

The New Brunswick government helped Bluenote Mining reopen the operation in 2007 with a $15-million loan guarantee. 

But that public support wasn't enough to keep the mines running while zinc prices sank.

Donald Hammond, executive director for Enterprise Chaleur, a local business organization, said there are some lingering hard feelings in the area over the mines' closure.

"Our companies in northern New Brunswick have been left a few times with a sour taste about the closure," Hammond said.

"And of course everyone will want to make sure that whatever job they're going to do over there, that they're going to get paid the next time."