A company hoping to revive lead-zinc mining at Pine Point, 40 kilometres east of Hay River, is struggling to survive. Tamerlane Ventures has received court-ordered protection from its creditors, after failing to make seven payments on more than $12 million it owes its main lenders.

In an affidavit, Tamerlane’s chief financial officer, Margaret Kent, says the Pine Point property alone is worth more than that. Kent was known as Peggy Witte when she ran Giant Mine before it went bankrupt, and left taxpayers to pay for the billion dollar cleanup.

Kent says a preliminary valuation last July indicated the deposit at Pine Point is worth between $30 and $56 million, but Tamerlane — which also owns an exploration project in Peru — has run into the same difficulty raising money as many other junior mining companies.

The court has given Kent and Tamerlane until January 7 to pay off the $12 million debt, by selling off property or finding new financing. If the company doesn’t meet that deadline, it will go into receivership.

From 1964 to 1987, Cominco operated the most profitable underground and open pit lead-zinc mine in Canadian history. At it’s peak, the town of Pine Point housed 1,200 people, though most of the town has now been disassembled.

Tamerlane has estimated that the company left 3.6 million tonnes of metal in the ground.