Ballard Spahr LLP will serve as prospective counsel to the trustee-led Chapter 11 of Molycorp Minerals LLC, owner of a 2,200-acre California rare earth mine left behind in bankruptcy when a Delaware judge confirmed parent Molycorp Inc.'s reorganization on March 30. The appointment would tidy up earlier case arrangements that on May 2 named Ballard partner Paul E. Harner trustee of the Molycorp Minerals estate but left open the issue of counsel for the effort.

Harner was chosen by the office of the U.S. trustee and confirmed by an order of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher S. Sontchi. The court, insurers, regulators and Molycorp Inc. agreed to a stopgap financing plan under Chapter 11 mainly to assure control of environmental hazards at the mine.

Harner said in a counsel appointment motion filed on Friday that "based upon Ballard Spahr's expertise in cases such as these, it would be cost-effective" to retain the Ballard firm as counsel, retroactively effective to the date of the spinoff and trustee assignment.