Entrepreneur digs football, gold, Valley life Jan 9, 2006 7:13:01 GMT -5
Post by Franko10 ™ on Jan 9, 2006 7:13:01 GMT -5
Entrepreneur digs football, gold, Valley life
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 9, 2006 12:00 AM
The working life of 70-year-old Scottsdale businessman Charles C. Mottley has been an eclectic adventure that has included stints as a college football coach; Washington, D.C., minister; congressional candidate; newspaper columnist; mine developer; prospector; and philanthropist.
In 2005, Mottley and his wife, Linda, gave $11 million to build a library at his alma mater, Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.
Despite the career diversity, Mottley believes his life has had order, that it has unfolded exactly the way it was meant and that each chapter has provided key experiences that helped shape him into the person he is today. advertisement
"I've known him for more than 10 years, and I admire him both as a person and as a businessman," said Bruce Snyder, former head football coach at Arizona State University.
Mottley began his working life as a high school football coach in Richmond, Va. He spent one year coaching at the University of Virginia and left to sell mining equipment for his wife's family's business.
"I liked working with the kids, but college football was too much like a business," he said.
Today, as president and chief executive officer of El Capitan Precious Metals Inc., Mottley is exploring an old iron mine in New Mexico that may contain significant quantities of gold, platinum and silver.
Assay reports from AuRic Metallurgical Laboratories LLC in Salt Lake City have indicated an ore body of approximately 37.4 million tons, with precious metals running about 0.056 troy ounce per ton. Subsequent tests have shown even higher values, and the company is waiting for a report from a third party asked to verify the results.
News of the discovery of precious metals at the mine in south-central New Mexico sent the price of El Capitan Precious Metals' stock up 400 percent, from below 40 cents per share in late October, to more than $2 in early November. The stock closed Jan. 6 at $1.62.
Clyde Smith, the consulting geologist for the project, calls the discovery significant.
He acknowledges, however, that the assay method used to determine the level of precious metals in the mine's hematite ore is a fusion method and not the more accepted fire-assay process.
The precious minerals don't show up in fire assays because the high temperatures needed to liquefy the iron in the ore destroy precious metals. They're vaporized and go up the chimney. The fusion process removes the iron with chemicals before the ore is fire-assayed.
Smith also said the ore reserves are "inferred" and not the more generally accepted "proven." Proving the reserves requires much more extensive testing, Smith said.
Another caveat is the heavy iron content of the ore. Separating it from the precious metals is a complex and costly process.
Still, with gold selling for around $500 per ounce and platinum going for almost $950, Smith believes re-opening the mine is an economically viable proposition.
"It's a $400 prospect," he said, noting that the mine could be profitable as long as the price of gold is above $400 per ounce.
But El Capitan Precious Metals doesn't intend to bring the mine into production. It hopes to sell the property to a major mining company. Smith said he understood there has been some interest in the mine, but nothing official.
Field of football dreams
Mottley's north Scottsdale office is a reflection of his longtime interests in gold and football. Mining relics abound, as do sports photographs, autographs and even an early 1900s football uniform on a mannequin.
He has never lost his passion for the sport and his love of working with kids.
He spent six years working as a volunteer football coach at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale. He even wrote a book about the Chaparral Firebirds' noteworthy 1997 season.
The Turnaround recounts how the Firebirds overcame injuries, parental interference and other adversities to advance to the state Class 4-A semifinals, where they lost to Mingus Union High School of Cottonwood, 42-39.
It's one of five books Mottley has written, including one with Dick Arbuckle, special teams coach at Arizona State University, and another with ASU's Snyder.
"He's totally into what he does, and it carries over to the kids," said Ron Estabrook, varsity football coach at Chaparral High School. "The kids know he is dedicated to them and making them better players."
Mottley continues to work with kids at the football kicking camp he has run for 13 years with Valley coach Charlie Gorham. The camp, held on Sunday mornings in Scottsdale from January to July, has turned out some of the Valley's top high school and college kickers. Danny Baugher, University of Arizona punter, is a camp graduate.
"We have sent over 100 kids to college, either on scholarship or as walk-ons," Mottley said. "We have kids at Oklahoma, Michigan State, ASU and other universities."
The early years
Mottley graduated from Hampden-Sydney College near Richmond, Va., then trained as a minister at Union Theological Seminary, also in Richmond.
From 1970 to 1974, Mottley was involved with a lay ministry he founded with Charlie Harraway, former Washington Redskins running back. The Washington, D.C.-area ministry was called Man-to-Man and worked with prisoners to ease their transition back into society. It was the forerunner of the Prison Fellowship Ministries founded in 1976 by Charles Colson, the born-again Christian who was special counsel to President Nixon.
Mottley has taught Sunday school at Scottsdale Bible Church and was on the board of the Florida-based Man in the Mirror Ministries. He is writing a book for men called Jesus: A Man's Man.
"He has a good sense of a person's value and respects that," Snyder said. "I have never heard him say a bad thing about anybody."
After an unsuccessful run for Congress from Virginia's 7th District, Mottley tried his hand at journalism and wrote a newspaper column for the Charlottesville, Va., Daily Progress. It was in that endeavor that he was bitten by the gold bug.
"I wrote a series on gold in the economy, and it became a changing moment in my life," he said. "It occurred to me that the real bankers in the world were the people who produced gold."
All that glitters
A hard-money advocate, Mottley believes Nixon's greatest sin was not the Watergate cover-up, but his severing of the last ties between gold and the U.S. dollar in 1971.
"You can't keep printing paper dollars with nothing to back it up," he said.
Mottley broke even on a gold-dredging operation on the Orinoco River in Venezuela and bought a public shell company called Alaska Gold and Minerals Co. with partner Larry Lozensky.
The company then bought the Weaver Mine, a small gold prospect near Wickenburg. That brought Mottley to Arizona, where he has remained since 1978.
The Weaver Mine contained low-grade gold ore and a substance Mottley calls "black sand." The black sand held a relatively high concentration of gold and platinum locked in iron ore.
"We could break even with the gold, but there was real value in the black sand," he said.
Still, the company could not find an economically feasible way to separate the precious metals from the iron oxide. In 1984, falling gold prices prompted the closure of the Weaver Mine.
Mottley spent the next 10 years trying to find a way to separate precious metals from iron ore. He and his partner Lozensky built an experimental mill on Curry Road in Scottsdale where he tested various techniques for removing iron from the ore.
He found that if the ore was crushed to the consistency of baby powder, the magnetite could be taken out with a magnet and the hematite, which carries the gold and platinum, could be removed through a chemical process.
"It was really a breakthrough discovery," Mottley said.
A larger mill was set up at the El Capitan site to process small amounts of ore.
"My success was really born out of the failure of the Weaver Mine," he said.
That, he and his partners hope, will attract the interest and deep pockets of a major mining company that will buy El Capitan and put it back into production.
"He is very determined," Snyder said. "There is no such thing as an obstacle he can't overcome."