First gold pour at Soledad Mountain

This 2016 file photo shows Golden Queen Mining Co. Ltd.'s pouring its first gold bar at the Soledad Mountain gold and silver mine, of which it has 50 percent ownership. The mine is located just south of Mojave in eastern Kern County.

Shareholders of a Canadian company that operate a gold and silver mine in eastern Kern County have voted to sell its 50-percent ownership of the facility.

By a margin of about 97 percent to 3 percent, owners of Golden Queen Mining Co. Ltd. stock approved a proposal to sell the company's stake in Soledad Mountain to the Clay family, which already owns nearly half the mine outside Mojave.

The vote announced Monday gives the company $4.25 million in cash plus debt relief totaling about $33 million.

Third-party analyses released before last week's vote suggested the company might have faced insolvency if the sale had not been approved.

A company spokeswoman said Golden Queen will continue to operate the mine.

"Nothing's going to change from a management perspective, and the jobs are going to continue," spokeswoman Brenda Dayton said. She noted the mine employs about 215 people.

Golden Queen has reported its financial losses from continuing operations worsened last year, deepening from a $6.18 million at the end of 2017 to a loss of $6.88 million during the 12 months ending Dec. 31.

The buyout proposal came with a pledge that if by June 20, 2020, the Clay family is able to sell Golden Queen's share for at least $55 million — 12 times the purchase offer first disclosed Jan. 4 — then the company would be refunded 20 percent of the new sale price.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf. Sign up at Bakersfield.com for free newsletters about local business.

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