Bornite Camp is beyond all the roads in North America, on the southern edge of the massive Brooks Range. It’s home to grizzly bears, and the caribou, moose, and salmon essential to the survival of Alaska Natives who live off the land.
The only way in is by bush plane. If the weather goes bad, there’s no telling when you might get out. Yet in early autumn this tent city above the Arctic Circle—where satellite internet is spotty, bear encounters are expected, and visits to family are rare—is bustling with workers.
They’re searching for copper, cobalt, lead, and zinc along part of a 200-mile-belt of ore. Alaska officials and mining companies believe enough is here to redefine the electric car revolution.
President Joe Biden’s signature legislative achievement, the Inflation Reduction Act, slipped in tax incentives for companies like Ambler Metals LLC, which has been exploring here for more than a decade, to get the copper and critical minerals out of the ground.
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