Archive | Alaska Mining

Alaskan Native village, conservation groups sue BLM over mine on Chilkat River – by Kevin Gullufsen (Juneau Empire – December 5, 2017)

http://juneauempire.com/

The tribal government of Klukwan filed a lawsuit Monday against the Bureau of Land Management, accusing it of failing to protect culturally-important salmon habitat and world’s largest bald eagle congregation from mining on the Chilkat River drainage.

Filed in U.S. District Court on Monday, the suit alleges that BLM neglected its duties when permitting expansions of mineral exploration in the area in the last year and a half.

Permitting mineral exploration would eventually lead to the creation of a hard rock mine, the suit argues, which has been shown to negatively affect water bodies downstream. Mining companies conduct mineral exploration in hopes of documenting the existence of valuable ore bodies. Smaller exploration companies often then sell their claims to larger extraction companies after they’ve proved valuable. Continue Reading →

OPINION: A Gold Rush in Salmon Country – by Brendan Jones (New York Times – November 24, 2017)

https://www.nytimes.com/

SITKA, Alaska — It is almost winter again here. The days shorten and the furrows of the volcano that looms over our town steadily fill with snow. At night my daughters and I watch northern lights dance green across a mountain ridge as we wait for our salmon to thaw for dinner.

In the courts there is a case in which the defendant, a fisherman, claims his cloth measuring tape constricted in the cold, causing him to mismeasure his halibut. In another case a fisherman blames his freezer for shrinking a king salmon. Alaska state troopers disagree. Life continues apace.

When I’m not working on our tugboat, I fish with Eric Jordan, a second-generation troller whose parents, like those of so many seasoned fishermen around here, fought for Alaskan statehood so salmon could be better managed. We work the winter line, stretching between Cape Edgecumbe Light and Point Woodhouse. Continue Reading →

War on mining is over: Zinke’s Alaska advisor delivers strong message from Interior Department – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – November 19, 2017)

http://www.petroleumnews.com/

When Steve Wackowski asked his superiors at the U.S. Department of Interior office in Washington D.C. for a message to deliver at the Alaska Miners Association’s annual convention in Anchorage, their response put an exclamation point on a clear shift in federal policy since President Donald Trump took office – “The war on mining is over.”

This does not mean the United States’ mining sector has a new federal ally, but it does indicate that the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and other agencies under the DOI banner are willing to grant mining due consideration on federal multi-use lands.

Wackowski, who was sworn in as Interior Ryan Zinke’s senior advisor for Alaska affairs in May, delivered this message during a Nov. 8 presentation at the AMA convention. Continue Reading →

The World Needs Copper. Does It Need This Controversial Mine? – by Julia Rosen (National Geographic – November 15, 2017)

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/

The fight over the proposed Pebble mine in southern Alaska is a harbinger: Global copper demand is expected to grow dramatically.

On a Thursday in October, dozens of Alaskans piled into a cavernous airplane hangar in the remote village of Iliamna to discuss — yet again — the fate of the proposed Pebble Mine. Seventeen miles to the northwest, underneath snaking rivers and spongy bogs, lies one of the largest undeveloped deposits of copper and gold in North America.

Mining companies have been exploring it for decades. But many fear that an open pit mine here, at the headwaters of two of the last great salmon rivers on Earth, will harm fish — and the people who depend on them.

In 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency moved to impose restrictions that would have blocked plans for a large mine, citing the impacts on fish-bearing streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. But the mine’s backers sued, putting the restrictions on hold. Continue Reading →

Op-Ed Pebble Mine is a poison pill for Alaska’s wild salmon – by Carl Safina and Joel Reynolds (Los Angeles Times – November 9, 2017)

http://www.latimes.com/

Carl Safina is a professor of journalism at Stony Brook University and the founder and president of the Safina Center. Joel Reynolds is western director and senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Bristol Bay watershed, in southwest Alaska, comprises 40,000 square miles of bogs and evergreen forests, rimmed by distant mountains and shimmering with rivers and feeder streams. In these waterways, miracles happen. Together they sustain the largest remaining salmon fishery on Earth.

For more than a decade, a Canadian mining company, Northern Dynasty Minerals, has wanted to gouge one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines into the heart of the watershed, putting its rivers on a centuries-long poison drip.

The company has failed to move forward with the project, known as Pebble Mine, due to intense and sustained opposition. Continue Reading →

Zinc prices help NANA rebound from oil crash – by Elwood Brehmer (Alaska Journal of Commerce – October 25, 2017)

http://www.alaskajournal.com/

Strong returns from the Red Dog mine are helping NANA Regional Corp. overcome oil and gas industry losses. NANA CEO Wayne Westlake said in an interview that the Northwest Alaska zinc mine is outpacing production forecasts at a time when zinc prices are high.

The open-pit Red Dog mine sits about 90 miles north of Kotzebue, the largest community in the region. NANA, the Alaska Native regional corporation for the area, owns the mine that is operated by Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd.

Teck expects production from Red Dog to be between 525,000 and 550,000 metric tonnes this year, according to a September release from the company. Output in that range would be about 10 percent above prior production forecasts. Continue Reading →

Circle Mining District reunion relives gold rush history – by Kris Capps (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – October 22, 2017)

http://www.newsminer.com/

FAIRBANKS — When the price of gold went up in the early 1970s, a new generation of gold miners jumped on the opportunity to strike it rich. That renewed interest in mining created the second gold rush in the Circle Mining District of Interior Alaska.

“The Circle Mining District, in the 1980s, collectively with all the placer mines — a total of 92 — was the largest gold producer for placer gold mining in the United States,” according to Gail Ackels, who wrote a book about her family’s experiences on Gold Dust Creek in the Circle Mining District.

She should know. She and her husband, Del, were part of that group that also included Joe Vogler, Ernie Wolf, Ed Gelvin, Fred Wilkinson and many others. Many of those miners gathered for a special reunion earlier this month, hosted by fellow Gold Dust Creek miners Bernie and Connie Karl at Chena Hot Springs Resort. Continue Reading →

Group of 29 tribes oppose Pebble Mine, B.C.’s ‘transboundary’ projects – by Kevin Gullufsen (Juneau Empire – October 20, 2017)

http://juneauempire.com/

Southeast and Bristol Bay tribal mining opposition now has a unified front. Two Alaska Native tribal consortiums announced a “historic” partnership Wednesday at the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage.

Tribal groups representing a majority of the indigenous peoples in Southeast and Bristol Bay will work together to oppose mining projects in both regions. The Juneau-based Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) and Douglas Indian Association (DIA) are part of the agreement.

The United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB), which represents 80 percent of the 14 Yup’ik, Denai’na, and Alutiq indigenous communities in Bristol Bay, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC), which represents 15 of the region’s 19 tribal organizations. Continue Reading →

[Alaska Mining] Bristol Bay braces for long awaited Pebble Mine plans – by Dave Bendinger (Alaska Public Media – October 3, 2017)

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This week, Pebble Limited Partnership is expected to publicly unveil the outline for a plan to mine the copper and gold deposit northwest of Iliamna. Those who have been briefed say the company’s plans call for a much smaller mine than discussed before, and appear to address many of the concerns raised by Bristol Bay residents and fishermen, environmentalists and the EPA.

As a region, the Bristol Bay watershed has largely opposed Pebble, perhaps in increasing numbers, for the past decade. Much of the effort focused on pushing President Obama’s EPA to finalize preemptive Section 404(c) Clean Water Act restrictions that would have blocked permitting of Pebble Mine’s dredge and fill activities.

Pebble filed several lawsuits, alleging in one that EPA and anti-mine activists were colluding to reach a predetermined outcome. That lawsuit found traction in the court of U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland, who agreed to an injunction against further EPA effort until the case was resolved. Continue Reading →

[Alaska mining] Actor Leonardo DiCaprio donates $80,000 to Southeast group (Juneau Empire – September 23, 2017)

http://juneauempire.com/

You might call it a titanic contribution. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, founded in 1998 by the eponymous screen actor, announced an $80,000 grant to the Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC) on Tuesday. The money will help the group in its efforts to protect Southeast waters from Canadian mining projects they believe are threatening their indigenous way of life.

The donation was made as part of a $20 million philanthropic effort, according to Hollywood Reporter. DiCaprio announced the portfolio of grants at a climate change conference at Yale University.

SEITC is comprised of 16 federally-recognized tribes and is based out of Kasaan, Alaska. In a Friday phone conversation, Chairman Frederick Otilius Olsen, Jr. said the money will help the group protect the environment from industrialization rapidly occurring across the border from Southeast Alaska. Continue Reading →

Teck ups Red Dog guidance; outlines significant exploration target for Aktigiruq – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – September 19, 2017)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Canada’s largest diversified miner Teck Resources has added about 50 000 t of zinc output to the full-year guidance for its Red Dog mine, in Alaska.

Vancouver-headquartered Teck advised that improving recoveries in the last few months has prompted the company to lift guidance to a range of 525 000 t to 550 000 t of zinc, up from the most recent guidance range of 475 000 t to 500 000 t of zinc.

The company increased production because of changes in mine sequencing and improved metallurgical recoveries, enabling higher-grade mill feed with a greater percentage of ore from the Qanaiyaq pit in the second half of the year. Meanwhile, Teck expects yearly zinc output at Red Dog over the next five years to range between 475 000 t and 550 000 t of zinc. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Proposed Pebble Mine a non-starter for Alaska – by Joe Chythlook (Vancouver Sun – September 13, 2017)

http://vancouversun.com/

Joe Chythlook is chairman of the board of the Anchorage-based Bristol Bay Native Corporation.

By now, Alaskans have come to the unfortunate realization that the proposed Pebble Mine — a potentially massive gold and copper mine owned by a Vancouver company — is not dead.

A new administration in Washington, D.C. that is taking a vastly different approach to resource management is giving fresh life to a proposal to build a mine in an ecologically sensitive and economically important area of the state.

For many in the Bristol Bay region in southwest Alaska, timing of the Pebble Limited Partnership’s recent settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was ironic. It came just before the start of commercial fishing season — a season in which a near-record 59 million fish passed through Bristol Bay, waters that supply nearly half of the world’s wild sockeye salmon harvest. Continue Reading →

Fannie Quigley, the Alaska Gold Rush’s All-in-One Miner, Hunter, Brewer, and Cook – by Tessa Hulls (Atlas Obscura – August 21, 2017)

http://www.atlasobscura.com/

She used mine shafts as a beer fridge and shot bears to get lard for pie crusts.

TALES OF ALASKA’S GOLD RUSHES, which began in the 1890s, are full of larger-than-life men—bold, cantankerous fellows who drank and swore and shot as they chased promises of gold across the stark, untrammeled tundra. But nestled among all the stories of men is the story of Fannie Quigley, a five-foot-tall frontierswoman who spent almost 40 years homesteading and prospecting in Kantishna, a remote Alaskan mining region that would later become part of Denali National Park.

Like the men around her, Quigley drank, swore, and shot bears—but unlike those men, she used her bear lard to create the legendarily flaky crusts of the rhubarb pies she served to her backcountry guests.

Over her decades in the backcountry, Quigley acquired a reputation as not only a renowned hostess and cook, but one of the finest hunters the region had ever seen. Her guests—who were many, despite the fact that her cabin was only accessible by foot or dogsled— Continue Reading →

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

http://juneauempire.com/

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)

https://www.adn.com/

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 →