Archive | Alaska Mining

[Alaska] Tribes hire coordinator to battle B.C. mines – by Kevin Gullufsen (Juneau Empire – August 7, 2017)

Banding together, 16 Southeast tribes will push for a seat at the table in talks with Canada about mining issues on shared waters. The United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group hired its first full-time employee, they announced in an Aug. 1 press release.

One of her first tasks will be to secure the tribes a stronger voice in inter-governmental talks about a series of large Canadian mining projects upriver from salmon habitat on the Stikine, Unuk and Taku River watersheds.

Based out of Wrangell, coordinator Tis Peterman will head up efforts to raise the tribes’ voice in ongoing discussions over the mines. Peterman is working on a Memorandum of Understanding, which would give the tribes a position alongside the state of Alaska and British Columbia in meetings about the controversial mining projects. Continue Reading →

Alaska, Canada must safeguard fisheries from B.C. mining operations – by Dale Kelley and Louise Stutes (Alaska Dispatch News – August 3, 2017)

Rep. Louise Stutes serves Alaska House District 32, which includes Kodiak, Cordova and Yakutat. Dale Kelley has been executive director of the Alaska Trollers Association for nearly 30 years. She serves on the boards of several state and national fisheries organizations and federal advisory groups.

Legislators and fishing representatives may appear to have very different jobs, but the reality is that we are both charged with looking out for the best interests of the hard-working people we represent.

One issue of mutual concern is making sure Alaska communities do not suffer harm from Canadian mines under development in our shared watersheds. And, should the unthinkable occur, we want the responsible parties to clean up the mess and reimburse any losses. Currently, Alaska has no binding agreement with Canada to ensure that happens. Continue Reading →

Pebble mine a step closer to reality as EPA to withdraw restrictions – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – July 13, 2017)

Shares in Canadian miner Northern Dynasty Minerals (TSX:NDM) were up Wednesday morning following a decision by the Trump administration that could further pave the way for the company’s vast, but stalled Pebble copper-gold-silver project in Alaska.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed late Tuesday revoking a 2014 ruling that bans large-scale mining in the area over the potential risks to one of the planet’s greatest wild salmon fisheries.

The federal agency noted it would accept public comments on the proposal for the next 90 days before making a final decision. Continue Reading →

Controversial Alaskan gold mine could be revived under Trump’s EPA – by Brady Dennis (Washington Post – July 11, 2017)

The Trump administration has taken a key step toward paving the way for a controversial gold, copper and molybdenum mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, marking a sharp reversal from President Barack Obama’s opposition to the project.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed withdrawing its 2014 determination barring any large-scale mine in the area because it would imperil the region’s valuable sockeye salmon fishery. The agency said it would accept public comments on the proposal for the next 90 days.

“The facts haven’t changed. The science hasn’t changed. The opposition hasn’t changed,” said Taryn Kiekow Heimer, a senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has fought the proposed mine. “The fact that it’s the wrong mine in the wrong place hasn’t changed. But the politics have changed.” Continue Reading →

Mining News: Prospects for change: NMA President Quinn encouraged by Trump’s resource development policies (North of 60 Mining News – July 9, 2017)

After eight years of battling anti-mining policies being promulgated by the Obama Administration, the National Mining Association is cautiously optimistic about the positive change in the tone and substance of U.S. resource development policies since Donald Trump has moved into the White House.

“The November election ushered in a surprisingly swift and dramatic change, particularly in the way people in Washington D.C. view natural resources,” NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn said during a June 28 keynote speech at the Resource Development Council for Alaska annual membership luncheon in Anchorage.

The leader of the United States’ top mining advocacy group said the about face in the tone and substance emanating from the White House when it comes to mining policies extends to the nation’s resource sectors at large. Continue Reading →

[Alaska] Robust Resources – Red Dog Mine celebrates milestone anniversary – by Melanie Franner (Mining North of 60 – April 14, 2015)

It’s been 25 years since the opening of the Red Dog zinc and lead mine, created through an operating agreement between Teck Resources Limited (Teck) and NANA Regional Corporation Inc. (NANA), an Alaskan native corporation, to develop mineral resources on its territorial land. That agreement is still in effect today and has resulted in approximately $1 billion in royalties being paid to NANA.

“We have been operating the Red Dog Mine since 1989,” explains Wayne Hall, manager, communications and public relations at Teck’s Red Dog Mine. “There is a long history associated with the mine which began in the early 1980s when NANA began looking for a mining company to partner with that had experience mining in northern latitudes and cold climates.” That company turned out to be Cominco Limited, which eventually became part of Teck Resources, Canada’s largest diversified resources company.

NANA, owned by the Iñupiat people of Northwest Alaska, is the landowner of a region that measures 38,000 square miles, most of which is above the Arctic Circle. The region includes 11 communities that range in size from 122 to more than 3,500 residents. Continue Reading →

Conservationists call on new B.C. gov’t to act on Tulsequah Chief mine cleanup – by Derrick Penner (Vancouver Sun – July 4, 2017)

Conservation and indigenous groups in Alaska are pushing B.C.’s new government to act on cleaning up the dormant Tulsequah Chief mine site near the border in Alaska’s southeastern panhandle.

The mine site has sat dormant since September 2016, when owner Chieftain Metals Corp. was pushed into receivership. But rather than allow the mine to be sold out of bankruptcy, the Alaskan groups are asking B.C. to just clean it up and shut it down.

Chieftain is now the second company that has fallen into bankruptcy trying to resurrect the Tulsequah Chief since it was shut down in 1957 by its original owner, and Chris Zimmer of the Alaska group Rivers Without Borders doesn’t want another replay of the scenario without a serious cleanup of acid-rock drainage that has poured out of the mine and into the Taku River for decades. Continue Reading →

[Alaska Barrick] Back to Donlin Gold – by Shane Lasley (Mining News – July 2, 2017)

With permitting nearly complete, partners carry out optimization drilling

If this year’s US$8 million drill program is any indication, Barrick Gold Corp. and Novagold Resources Inc. are getting serious about building “the largest pure gold mine in the world” at their Donlin Gold project in Southwest Alaska.

“Donlin Gold’s size, grade, production profile, exploration potential, mine life, community support and jurisdictional safety render it a unique asset in the gold industry,” said Novagold President and CEO Greg Lang. “Both partners envision Donlin Gold to be a pacesetter in the mining sector and are completely aligned in their objectives to optimize the project.”

This will be the first significant field program at the 40-million-ounce gold project since Donlin Gold LLC – equally owned by subsidiaries of Novagold Resources Inc. and Barrick Gold Corp. – completed a feasibility study in 2011 and submitted the project for permitting the following year. Continue Reading →

[Alaska] Miners get busy in elephant country – by Curt Freeman (Mining News – July 2, 2017)

Exploration drilling and field prospecting programs, many of them driven by newcomers, have popped up across Alaska this summer.

The summer solstice has come and gone, but the Alaska mining industry has paid little attention to the decreased amount of daylight because it is high summer in the high latitudes, time to be out completing work programs that have been in the planning since last fall. Exploration drilling programs have sprouted in the Brooks Range, Interior, Alaska Range, Southeast, Southwest and the Alaska Peninsula.

In addition, the sounds of tire-kicking are being heard over a wide area of the state with most of the interest focused on gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc prospects. Many of those thumping those tires are new to the Alaska mining scene, coming to elephant country to look for elephants. We will likely hear more from these new players later in the year.

Equal partners Novagold Resources and Barrick Gold announced a US$8 million budget for project optimization at their 39-million-ounce Donlin gold project. Continue Reading →

Felice Pedroni (Felix Pedro)- Sparked the 1902 Fairbanks Gold Rush – by Thomas K. Bundtzen (Alaska Mining Hall of Fame – 1998/2009)

Felice Pedroni, best known by his Hispanicized alias, Felix Pedro, was an Italian immigrant whose discovery of gold in the then remote Tanana River valley of Interior Alaska, sparked the 1902 Fairbanks gold rush, which resulted in the development of Alaska’s largest gold district, frequently referred to by chroniclers of the day as “America’s Klondike”.

Pedroni was born on April 16th, 1858, in Fanano, Duchy of Modena, Italy, to a family of subsistence farmers. In 1881, following the death of his father, Pedroni arrived in New York City, and eventually assumed the name of Felix Pedro. Pedro traveled across the North American Continent, and worked in New York City, Ohio, Washington State, and British Columbia and Yukon Territory, Canada.

In each locale, Felix would work until he had earned enough money to travel again. Pedro finally reached Alaska sometime in the 1890s, before the 1893 Circle (Alaska) and 1896 Klondike (Canada) gold rushes. The Circle-based Pedro first prospected the Fortymile district near the Canadian border, and then the Piledriver Slough area near present day community of Salcha. Continue Reading →

Museum offers nuggets of mining history – by Staff (News Miner – June 16, 2017)

FAIRBANKS – Fairbanks has its roots in gold. When Felix Pedro found gold in Fish Creek in 1902, he and his fellow prospectors laid the groundwork for today’s lively community. Pedro, and the miners who followed him, including those active today, forged a rich history that is captured in the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame museum on First Avenue.

The museum, organized by the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame Foundation, opened in summer 2014 and is located in the Historic Bath House and Oddfellow’s Hall at 825 First Ave., on the corner of First Avenue and Cowles Street.

The two-story building was constructed in 1907. The Alaska Mining Hall of Fame Foundation was formed to honor outstanding individuals who have played important roles in the development of Alaska’s mineral industry. Continue Reading →

Opponents rally against copper prospect they fear could become another Pebble – by Alex DeMarban (Alaska Dispatch News – June 7, 2017)

Critics of a copper prospect in the Bristol Bay region who fear it could become a smaller version of its giant neighbor, Pebble, have launched an early campaign to stop it.

The so-called Groundhog prospect follows the same geological belt that supports Pebble, the proposed massive open-pit gold and copper mine a few miles to the south. Pebble has bitterly divided pro-development and conservation forces for years.

But unlike Pebble, an Alaska Native village corporation owns part of the Groundhog mineral claims on state land. That’s not enough for opponents, who earlier this week said they oppose any mining in a watershed that supports one of the world’s most important wild salmon fisheries. Continue Reading →

Alaska’s Quiet Gold Rush – by Mike Coppock (True West Magazine – March 1, 2009)

A history of Alaska’s gold rushes reveals riches found in historic mines today.

He said his name was Tommy. In his 60s, he had driven his compact pickup truck from Mississippi all the way to Alaska. Arriving in Homer, he spent nearly $1,000 having the vehicle transported by the ocean ferry Tustumena for Popof Island, nearly 300 miles west of Kodiak.

Popof can be one of Alaska’s most stunning vistas with its emerald grasslands and powerful mountain backdrops. But, not today. Aleutian-style weather had set it. It was late May, and I was amused that I could see my breath as horizontal rain dug deep into my face and clothes. Only my long johns kept me dry.

Tommy was oblivious to the weather or anything else. With the musical draw that defines a Southern accent, he showed me his equipment he had just lugged down from the cliff above. He had set up a sluice operation along a lonely beach just a few hundred feet from the edge of a runway serving as the town of Sand Point’s airport. Continue Reading →

EPA may allow massive mine near pristine Alaskan bay – by Becky Bohrer and Michael Biesecker (Victoria Times Colonist – May 12, 2017)

The Associated Press – WASHINGTON — The Trump administration settled a lawsuit Friday over the proposed development of a massive gold and copper mine at the headwaters of one of Alaska’s premier salmon fisheries.

The Environmental Protection Agency settled the long-running case with the Pebble Limited Partnership, agreeing to allow the Canadian-owned company to seek a federal permit to build its mine near Bristol Bay.

Pebble sued in federal court over what it claimed was EPA’s collusion with mine opponents to block the project, which a study shows could pose significant risk to salmon populations. A review by EPA’s inspector general found no evidence the agency acted improperly. Continue Reading →

After years of decline, mining appears to be on the rebound in Alaska – by Annie Zak (Alaska Dispatch News – May 8, 2017)

After several years of decline, Alaska’s mining industry seems to be clawing its way back. With a host of new mining exploration announcements in recent months as many commodity prices recover from a yearslong tailspin, industry experts in the state say more companies are eyeing Alaska as a place to spend money prospecting and developing projects.

“It was a three- to four-year decline,” said Curt Freeman, president of Fairbanks mineral exploration consulting firm Avalon Development Corp. “But the upturn, you could kind of feel it in the last year.”

When commodity prices drop, companies tend to focus their spending on maintaining current operations in places where they already have infrastructure, said Deantha Crockett, executive director of the Alaska Miners Association. Isolated Alaska feels the squeeze even harder, she said, because during tougher times, companies don’t want to spend money exploring such remote areas. Continue Reading →