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In brief: Sunshine Mine deal reached

A new buyer has emerged for the old Sunshine Mine refinery.

Formation Metals Inc. has reached an agreement to sell the refinery to Silver Opportunity Partners for $12 million, company officials said. The purchase is expected to be finalized next month. Another sales agreement with a different firm was canceled this summer.

Silver Opportunity Partners purchased the closed Sunshine Mine through a bankruptcy proceeding in 2010. The privately held company is part of the Electrum Group of Companies, a worldwide investor in silver, gold and platinum mines.

Both the Sunshine Mine and the refinery are in Big Creek, a canyon near Kellogg.

Fixed mortgage rates fall

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages declined this week amid signs the economic recovery is slowing.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.50 percent from 4.57 percent last week.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage dipped to 3.54 percent from 3.59 percent last week.

The retreat in the average rate of a 30-year mortgage comes just a couple of weeks after the rate reached a two-year high of 4.58 percent on Aug. 22. The average rate on a 15-year mortgage also hit a two-year high – 3.60 percent – that day. Overall, mortgage rates remain low by historical standards.

Long-term mortgage rates have risen more than a full percentage point since May when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke first signaled that the central bank could begin reducing its monthly $85 billion in bond purchases this year, if the economy looked strong enough.

The purchases have been intended to keep long-term loan rates extremely low to encourage borrowing and lending.

Wells Fargo plans layoffs

NEW YORK – Wells Fargo plans to lay off an additional 1,800 employees from its mortgage department, after cutting about 2,300 jobs from the same unit in August.

Spokesman Alfredo Padillo said Thursday that the San Francisco-based bank is cutting jobs in the mortgage department because fewer people than it expected are refinancing their mortgages. The jobs are in locations across the country.

The affected employees were given 60 days’ notice, Wells Fargo said. The bank said it is looking for other positions for those people within the company.


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