Business

Sterling Mining to file for bankruptcy today

Embattled Sterling Mining Co. expects to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today, company officials announced Monday.

Roger Van Voorhees, who was recently appointed president, said filing for bankruptcy will give the company options for restructuring its debt.

Sterling owes roughly $2 million to creditors, according to lawsuits filed against the company. Sterling announced last week that it would vacate the lease on the historic Sunshine Mine in Big Creek. Officials said they could no longer pay the electric bill or the small maintenance staff that remained.

Most of the mine’s workers lost their jobs in September, when silver production ceased.

Van Voorhees is the only remaining member of the executive team. Former president and CEO John Ryan resigned last week, along with six members of Sterling’s board of directors. The board changed Sterling’s corporate bylaws to allow a minimum of one board member and corporate officer.

Inland northwest

Technology companies snag loans from Sirti

Two area technology companies, one in Spokane and the other in Sandpoint, have landed loans from the Sirti Technology Growth Fund.

Spokane-based IBQ Systems acquired $340,000 from the fund, half of which comes from a federal grant and half from funds provided by the Business Development Corp. of Eastern Washington.

Sandpoint-based GeoData Technologies landed $330,000 in its first capitalization through the growth fund.

Both loans are part of Sirti’s rotating capital fund, available to promising technology companies in the region. IBQ Systems uses Web technology to help insurance industry companies move and exchange data more efficiently.

GeoData Technologies uses licensed 3-D technology to let real estate firms display customized views of a real estate market and help buyers select properties.

Spokane airport’s traffic falls sharply

Spokane International Airport’s passenger and cargo traffic took sharp hits in January, based on data provided by the major air carriers.

Passenger traffic in January fell by 14.5 percent compared to one year earlier. The month saw 222,477 passengers come through the airport compared with 260,425 in January 2008.

Total cargo that was moved in and out of the Spokane airport dropped 12.3 percent from one year earlier.

The larger share of the cargo slump was offloaded goods, down 13.9 percent from January 2008. Cargo loaded on fell 9.5 percent, according to an airport news release.

Becky Kramer Tom Sowa Tom Sowa


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