Sunshine Lawsuit Settled


The terms of the settlement can be viewed this week?


Content of This Website


(Updated April 3, 2012) Please note that this website represents many historical postings and artifacts from late 2007 until the present time.   In late 2011 it was announced that there was new ownership of the proposed Crystal City smelter and barge port project.   References to previous owners of the project do not express or imply any present association between the current and previous owners.   These references along with references to the City of Crystal City, the Crystal City Council, the mayor of Crystal City, employees of Crystal City or any other person or entity associated with the City of Crystal City are only meant to provide an historical perspective of the events and do not express or imply any current fact or opinion.


Meet the New Boss

(Originally posted December, 2011, Updated April 3, 2012): The smelter project has officially changed hands as a result of recent legal wranglings in Federal and county courts.   The new boss is Pea Ridge Resources (PRR).   According to press releases the operation is under the new management, Alberici and MFC (a multinational company based in Canada).  They now own 97.4% of the iron ore mined.   The previous owner will retain 70% of all nonferrous (everything but iron) material.  

Is the new boss the same as the old boss?  No.  The previous owner has no ownership or control of the new operations.   And the corporation name of the previous owner no longer exists.

(Note: "Meet the New Boss" refers to a classic rock song and has no other implications.)

So what's next for previous owner?  It appears that the campaign to promote the use of Thorium nuclear energy and the independence from Chinese dominance over the production of rare earth elements (REE) will continue.  

And what's next for Alberici?  Alberici appears to be more interested in the producing of chemical-grade iron oxides.   This site says that they "will produce chemical-grade iron oxides that are used to make drinking water safe and remove harmful pollutants from coal-fired electric power plants. These iron oxides also are used to make pigments in paints and toner cartridges.  And this article announced that Alberici has just purchased a water-treatment construction company.  Does this play into making drinking water, processing the water from a 40 mile-long slurry pipe or both?

And what's next for MFC?  According to this MFC website they will be "exploiting the site's existing large tailings accumulation and exploring other areas for ferrous mineral production."

(Update 4-3-2012) It has been brought to our attention that the press may not have accurately reported the conditions of the legal settlement that brought major ownership of the smelter project to Pea Ridge Resources.  So we found this posting from MFC that describes their understanding of the settlement.  Keep in mind that MFC is a Canadian company and is regulated differently than U.S. companies.  Here is a quote from MFC in the above securities statement:


"In December 2011, MFC acquired, together with our partner, Alberici Group, Inc., the troubled Pea Ridge Mine (the “Mine”) located in Sullivan, Missouri, USA.  There were numerous contractual disputes and lawsuits with the previous owners of the Mine, which have now been settled. MFC’s investment in 2011 was approximately $12.1 million to acquire its indirect 50% interest in the Mine.  Pursuant to the transaction, the previous owners retained a 2.6% net smelter returns royalty on ferrous minerals produced at the Mine."  
  

One thing is for sure.  The current lease agreement for the old PPG property will expire at the end of this year.


Ron Moring
1/4/1950 - 1/18/2012

Ron Moring was a great friend.  He will be truly missed.




Concerned Citizens for Crystal City Earns
"Best Gadflies of 2011" Award


(Originally posted in 2011, Updated March 25, 2012) The Riverfront Times "Best of St. Louis" edition announced that our organization has earned the "Best Gadflies of 2011" award.   It has now been four years since it was announced that an agreement was made had to bring an iron ore smelter to Crystal City.   Shortly afterwards the Concerned Citizens for Crystal City was formed and filed a lawsuit defending their rights through the Missouri Sunshine Law.  

Here is a link to the article.


Crystal City Served with Mechanics Lien
-- $348,912.26 --

(Orginally posted in 2011, Updated March 25, 2012) On Thursday, March 24th, 2011 Alberici Constructors filed a Mechanics Lien against the "leasehold estate of the Subject Property".  The entire lien can be downloaded from here.  The definition of "Subject Property" can be found on page 3 of the lien.

This was the second Mechanics Lien that Alberici filed.  The first one was filed against the previous owner in October of 2010.   That lien was soon followed by a lawsuit by Alberici against the previous owner on November 7, 2010 where Alberici is aledging that they had invested over $9 million in the smelter projects and that the previous owner had no right to enter into another agreement with Glencore without consulting Alberici first.  

Here are some interesting thoughts about this lien:

  • Crystal City formally owns the old PPG property.  But PRR now owns the 100 year lease on the property.   The previous owner paid Crystal City $2.2 million for the lease and Crystal City paid $2.2 million for the property.  So it is questionable what is more valuable - the lease or the ownership of the property.  
  • PRR has the right to use the $2.2 million lease as collateral for financing.  In the past, the public was not allowed to know who may be lending the lease-holder money or holding the lease as collateral for financing.
  • The new lien filed by Alberici outlines the work that was done.  Most of the work that Alberici is seeking payment on is from the groundbreaking ceremony that Crystal City hosted in March of 2010 right before the important city elections that occurred in April.
  • Some of the work described in the lien is for "Collapsed culvert repair" totalling $28,000.  The Concerned Citizens for Crystal City watched this work being done in late 2009 and brought up concerns about cost to Crystal City.  The location of the culvert repair was by the railroad trestle that spans Plattin Creek.  We were told that this repair had nothing to do with the smelter project.



Big Picture Finally Getting Clearer

(Originally posted in January, 2011, Updated March 25, 2012) The release of a draft Phase II port study finally shed some light on the more than three year old collaboration between the previous owner of the iron smelter project, Doe Run, Jefferson County and Crystal City.  A video of the Jefferson County Port Authority meeting of January 18, 2011 was recorded and can be viewed below.  

The presentation provides more detail about the possibility of ports in Crystal City and Pevely.  The previously considered port at LaRoche has been dropped from the plan.  The possibility of a new port in Herculaneum is almost a certainty given the impending closure of the aging lead smelter and the need to repurpose the Doe Run riverfront property.   

However, a piece of the puzzle still remains fuzzy.  The presentation revealed a preliminary study of a southern access route to the Crystal City port.   At that time, the proposed access route would have been shared with access to the proposed iron smelter in Crystal City.  Alberici has since said that this road is unnecessary.  Timelines and details of the Herculaneum, Crystal City and Pevely ports were available to attendees.   But pictures of the access route to the Crystal City port were not available for attendees to take home.  They were shown in the presentation on January 18th and available for viewing on a poster at the Open House on January 19, 2009.

Click on the image to the right to see an image of the proposed Crystal City port along with a rendering of the southern access route.  The rendering was produced by taking pictures of a poster that was displayed at the Herculaneum open house on January 19, 2011 and comparing it with aerial photographs.  For a VERY LARGE(4 MB) version of the port rendering click here.  You may have to click on the image again after it has been loaded for your browser to zoom in on the downloaded image.

The red lines on the map to the right represent the possible routes of the southern access.  The width of the red line is approximately 200 feet and can be used as a reference to determine distances.  Consultants available at the January 19th meeting said that the road would probably be between 200 feet and 250 feet wide and accommodate 2 or 3 lanes of heavy truck traffic.  The consultants spoke of a possible new interchange on highway 55.  But the possibility of using existing roads to access highway 55 were also presented.   Two main north/south alternatives are shown with one following the levee on the west and the other following the hillside of the River Hills subdivision on the east.  Crossing the existing BNSF railroad, mitigating contamination and dealing with wetlands and flood plains were presented as a major obstacles.

The Festus Airport has been considered to be a key component in providing a southern access route to the proposed Crystal City port and, at the time of the port study, the proposed smelter in Crystal City.  As of the date of the original writing (01/23/2011), the status of Festus Airport sale was still undetermined.  The decision to sell the Festus Airport to the previous owner of the smelter project took place in May of 2010 but the financing to close on the sale was not been available.   On Friday, January 20, 2011 the local radio station KJFF announced that the airport would soon be in the possession of the previous owner of the smelter project because all of the paperwork was in place and the funds were in the process of being transferred.   KJFF also announced that the previous owner would present an update to Crystal City at the upcoming council meeting of Monday, January 24, 2011.   According to the posted agenda in the Crystal City office, the presentation was cancelled.

The consultants that were hired to create the port studies have announced that there would be a public comment meeting held in May of 2011 to discuss the proposed road.  No further public meetings occurred.


Was this the BIG SECRET?


(Originally posted in 2010, Updated March 25, 2012) Back in 2010 residents of Crystal City, Missouri were wondering "where's the money"?   The econonic numbers for an iron ore smelter have never seemed to make sense.  See the video sequence below filmed over 4 years ago where local engineer Roger Baker debates then council member Ben DeClue about the feasibility of the proposed iron ore smelter.

So where's the money?  In 2010, there was a lot of speculation about the value of the other minerals in iron mine in Sullivan, Missouri.  More information started to become available in February of 2009 when the conditional use hearings in Crystal City revealed that other products would be mined and marketed.  

In October of 2009 the previous owner of the smelter project attended a conference for the use of thorium, a radioactive element available from the Sullivan mine, that could be used for producing nuclear energy.  His presentation revealed that a regional defense contractor contacted him around the summer of 2007.   This is same time period that Crystal City was finalizing negotiations for the iron ore smelter.  

It was also discovered that U.S. Senator Kit Bond (R) from Missouri wrote a letter to the Brazilian Ambassador on April 30, 2010 stating that a delegation would be in Brazil from May 3 through May 7, 2010 to

"... respectfully request your consideration for arranging a meeting for them with the Brazilian Ministry of Trade and Natural Resources to discuss an important United States and Brazil initiative on Rare Earths."

There was more political motivation behind the rare earth element multi-national proposal.  U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) from Alaska submitted a bill to promote the mining of rare earth elements in the United States.  She notes that there is significant opportunity to mine in her own state near Ketchikan, Alaska.  A companion bill was previously introduced in the House of Representatives by representative Michael Coffman (R) from Colorado on March 17, 2010.  

This CNN segment from May 24, 2010 quotes Andrew Lubin, who spent 30 years trading in Chinese metals.

"American mine owners are using the threat of a Chinese boogeyman to pressure the U.S. government into removing environmental restrictions.  People are using national security as a reason for scaring some of the pollution problems away".

In July of 2010 nothing had happened on the old PPG property in Crystal City since the ground breaking ceremony on March 27, 2010 (except for a meeting with a Chinese delegation on April 17, 2010 - see below).   The ceremony on that date was strategically timed to occur right before the critical mayoral election on April 6, 2010 between incumbent mayor Tom Schilly and opponent Jack Ginnever.   


How Stupid Did They Think You Were?

(Originally posted in 2010, Updated March 25, 2012) There was a meeting on the old PPG grounds on the morning of Saturday, April 17, 2010.  An email with pictures of the meeting found it's way to the City Hall of Crystal City.  Apparently it made enough of a stir for the local radio station to issue this report:


"An email was sent to Crystal City council members this week that had photos of a meeting taking place over the weekend on the old PPG property...  The photos show ... a group of Asian businessmen, as well as other local figures conversing and taking notes on the site."  

"The one line in the email states 'more secrets from ground zero'.  But are there secrets?"

"According to Crystal City officials, the meeting was nothing more than... potential buyers of the product."  

"The company is China Minmetals Corporation and they are headquartered in Bejing. They are a large sized group dealing worldwide in development, production, trading and operation for metals and minerals."  
  

The original report from the radio station was that the company was MetalTek International.  It is unknown who reported this or why the report was changed.  Why is the identity of the Chinese company important?  Keep reading.

At the time Minmetals Corporation had a 300 million dollar deed of trust on the mine in Sullivan, Missouri.  Click here to see page 3 of the deed.  

Exact details of the Chinese financing were never revealed.  Concerned Citizens for Crystal City repeatedly asked who was financing the smelter project and who was financing the port project.  

So why would Minmetals want to meet in Crystal City to buy the product that would be mined from a location that they already have a deed of trust on?  

This raises even more questions about the meeting.  Why weren't all city officials informed about the meeting - especially if it was official city business and getting paid by taxpayer dollars?  

For more pictures click here.


Jefferson County Port Authority Releases First Port Study

(Originally posted in 2010) There was a meeting at Festus City Hall on Jan. 19, 2010 to discuss the new phase I feasibility study with the Festus, Crystal City, Herculaneum and Pevely council members.  There was another meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 in Crystal City to host an open house for the public.   Click here (caution - big document) to download the 118 page feasibility study.

Click on the image to the left to see the detail of Alternative number 1 for Crystal City.  The Crystal City alternatives begin appearing on page 61 of the port study.  The next step is for the Jefferson County Port Authority to solicit for funding for a phase II study.   The estimated cost of the phase II study is estimated to be around $500,000.


Citizen Addresses Council Regarding State Audit

(Originally posted in 2009) On Monday, November 9, 2009 a citizen addressed the council of Crystal City to express her views about how the State Audit is being handled by the city of Crystal City.  The short video below shows the end of her presentation where she is being escorted out of the council chambers by the Crystal City police at the request of the Mayor.

The entire presentation can be found in two parts.  Here is part 1 and here is part 2.





EPA Decides Crystal City is Not Classified for Lead Non-attainment Area Boundary

(Originally posted in 2009) There was a meeting on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 in Herculaneum regarding the extension of the lead non-attainment area boundary.   Here is the presentation from that meeting.  

Here are the boundary maps of the proposed non-attainment areas which would include the northern portion of Crystal City.  In December of 2009 the EPA decided that Crystal City was unclassified.




FINANCING QUESTIONS

(Originally posted in 2009, Updated March 25, 2012) The following video was filmed on the evening of March 5, 2009 at City Hall in Crystal City.  The video is of a vote by the Crystal City council on whether the financing for the smelter project should be revealed to the public.  

Why was this important and will continue to be important?  There are several reasons.  First, it would reveal the real motives behind the development of the smelter.  But more importantly, the 100 year lease that the city has signed can be used as collateral for the financing.   You can look at the original Lease Agreement here (careful it's 2MB) or a searchable MS Word version of the same document here.  Check out page 11, Section 9.3.  

So the real question is "why can't the citizens know who is financially in control of a 100 year lease in our city"?   Some council members and the mayor of Crystal City think that you don't need to know.




WATCH THIS UNEDITED VIDEO OF THE PUBLIC HEARING FOR THE SMELTER CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT

(Originally posted in 2009) The following video was filmed on the evening of March 2, 2009 at the Crystal City Elementary School.   It begins after the Alberici presentation.



LOW BLOWS, THE STATE AUDIT WAS NOT OVER

(Originally posted in 2009, Updated March 25, 2012) Click HERE for more information on this and other "low blows".


Please Help

The Concerned Citizens for Crystal City is a non-profit 501(c)(4) Missouri Corporation.  All of our funding comes from private donations and public fundraisers.  The money that we receive goes entirely to public awareness campaigns, research activity and for capital to run fundraisers.  

Our awareness campaigns help to inform tax paying citizens of activities in our area that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.  Our research activity often requires money to pay government agencies for record requests.  Click here or on the Newsletter to the left to see an historical example of our campaigns to inform the people of Festus and Crystal City of recent developments.

Your donations are not tax deductible but they do help to insure that your health and property interests are being protected.  Jefferson County is currently one of the most sought after locations for incoming corporations and industry.  The Concerned Citizens for Crystal City group was formed to help insure that the taxpaying citizens of our area are fairly represented.

If you would like to be informed about upcoming events via email just send us an email. .  Your email will stay with us and no one else.


WHAT DOES THE SIGN MEAN?

(Originally posted in 2008, Update March 25, 2012) In 2008 there were lawn signs in Crystal City apparently expressing loyalty to the smelter project and the industrial zoning that would allow a barge port to be put on Bill Bradley's farm.   But what exactly does the sign mean?

There are a group of arrows that form a circle with the words "Industry", "Jobs", "Progress", "Schools".   The CCCC group couldn't agree more.  We have never been against any of these concepts.  We are only opposed to (1) the way the deals were done and (2) the lack of oversight by our governments to provide leadership and to protect the citizens.  

The phrase "We Are Crystal" serves no purpose but to alienate everyone that disagrees with the pro-smelter group.  It implies that all opposition to the smelter is from people outside of Crystal City or, worse yet, people that live in Crystal City that are not in the pro-smelter circle.  Crystal City residents are the only ones that can vote for Crystal City issues.  Let's let the voting record decide who "we" are.

This same theme is made even more obvious by the words "Our Town Our Voice".  These words go further to imply that the city of Crystal City belongs to and is owned by this group of pro-smelter people.  This attitude displayed by the pro-smelter group should be an indication to anyone about the differences between the pro-smelter and anti-smelter groups. The CCCC group believes that all citizens of Crystal City deserve an open government and an opportunity to vote for the direction of the community.  The city of Crystal City belongs to all of it's citizens and not just some of them.


LABOR AND LOCAL ASSOCIATIONS SUPPORTED US

(Originally posted in 2008, Update March 25, 2012) In this Labor Tribune publication dated February 21, 2008 the Jefferson County Labor Club announced that they would campaign for candidates opposed to the smelter plan.  

On January 19, 2008 the Disability Resource Association issued a press release that they would stand with the citizens of Crystal City that oppose the iron smelter.

See more recent documents in our documents section.


MDNR REOPENED PPG CLEANUP

(Originally posted in 2008, Updated March 25, 2012) In a letter dated February 11, 2008, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has responded to a complaint of firebrick and glass cullet in Plattin Creek.  

In that response MDNR demanded that PPG sample the firebrick, do a metals analysis of Plattin Creek and investigate the firebrick and glass cullet for removal or capping.  MDNR stated that these actions should have been part of the BVCP (Brownfields/Voluntary Cleanup Program) that was done on the PPG property.

Probably the most important information that needs to be gathered is whether or not the firebrick contains Chromium 6.   Chromium 6 is the substance against which Erin Brockovich campaigned.  It is highly toxic even in small doses.

In their letter to PPG, MDNR requested a work plan from PPG.  



VIDEOS

(Updated March 25, 2012) Check out the Videos that have been recorded over the years.  

Here are edited versions of video that tell the story of how we've gotten to where we are. I you only have time to watch one set of videos - THIS IS IT!

Speechless - Part 1

Speechless - Part 2


TO THE PEOPLE OF CRYSTAL CITY AND SURROUNDING AREAS:

(Originally posted in late 2007, Updated March 25, 2012) Thank you for taking an interest in our group and the continuing story of the proposed smelter and port projects in Crystal City.  You probably have a lot of unanswered questions.  Frankly, we have a lot of questions too.  But we also have a lot of answers.   And, as time goes on, we're getting more answers.  We will continue to monitor all aspects of these projects and others in the Crystal City area.

We are a group of concerned citizens that just want to be sure that our voices are heard.  Our goal is to gather information about the proposed smelter and port projects and relate factual information to the public.   We are not anti-jobs and we are not anti-city.  We are not sponsored by any other organization.

Our justification for our actions is that these proposed projects could change the very complexion of our community for generations to come and that this very important decision should not be made by a few.  We will support the citizens to let your voice be heard!

If you disagree with this objective you still owe it to yourself and your children to stay informed.