Archive | Alaska Mining

The ebb and flow of mining is reflected in Eldorado Creek’s history – by Ray Bonnell (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – February 25, 2018)

FAIRBANKS — Kantishna’s Eldorado Creek, as opposed to the 26 other Eldorado Creeks listed in the “Dictionary of Alaska Place Names,” is a 5.5-mile-long tributary of Moose Creek, located just downstream from the confluence of Moose and Eureka creeks.

Mined since the short-lived 1905-06 Kantishna gold rush, Eldorado Creek’s mining history is a microcosm of the ebb and flow of mineral development in the Kantishna area.

During the brief six months the rush lasted, lode deposits of silver were discovered along Eldorado Creek, as well as a stibnite deposit (an ore of antimony) on Slate Creek, an Eldorado Creek tributary near its headwaters. Continue Reading →

Canada ‘needs to act and act very soon’ on polluting mine, say Alaska politicians – by Dave Croft (CBC News North – February 6, 2018)

Alaska politicians on trip to Ottawa ask for progress on Tulsequah Chief mine cleanup

Senior Alaskan politicians say U.S. federal and state agencies are ramping up their efforts to force B.C. to clean up the abandoned Tulsequah Chief mine, about 80 kilometres south of Atlin.

Dan Sullivan, one of Alaska’s two U.S. senators, and the state’s Lt.-Gov. Byron Mallot were in Ottawa Monday for a series of meetings with Canadian officials, including federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna. Mallot said there will be more meetings on transboundary issues in April.

“Hopefully this will continue to create the kind of focus on the Tulsequah Chief mine that we raised in the last two years,” said Mallot. “Recognizing that the mine had been spewing water — waste water — for almost half a century, and we’ve got this focused at a level now that has never been focused on before,” he said. Continue Reading →

Alaska mine developer’s shares fall 20 percent; partner pressured – by Nicole Mordant (Reuters U.S. – January 29, 2018)

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Shares of mine developer Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd fell more than 20 percent on Monday, the first trading day after a U.S. regulator’s surprise move to keep restrictions on the company’s big copper and gold mine project in Alaska.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reversed itself on Friday by maintaining restrictions on the proposed Pebble copper and gold mine in southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, saying it needed more time to assess the project’s impact on the environment and area fisheries.

Pebble holds one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits. Its development, near one of the biggest sockeye salmon fisheries on earth, has been fiercely opposed by environmentalists, native groups and fisherman for years. Continue Reading →

Revived Pebble Mine in Alaska Reignites War Over Expansion – by Stephen Lee (Bloomberg News – January 18, 2018)

Pebble Partnership, which hopes to build a gold and copper mine in Alaska, isn’t denying suggestions that it might someday try to expand the project, as environmentalists fear.

But any expansion would have to satisfy federal regulators, Tom Collier, chief executive of the Pebble Partnership, told Bloomberg Environment.

“It wouldn’t surprise any of us that are working on this particular permit application that there might be another one at some point in the future,” Collier said. “But that expansion or second phase would require an entirely new, thorough, and rigorous process. You don’t get a leg up and an easy expansion once you’ve developed part of the project.” Continue Reading →

Permit application reveals size of scaled-down Pebble project – by Elwood Brehmer (Alaska Journal of Commerce – January 10, 2018)

The official Pebble mine plan released Jan. 5 by federal regulators describes a scaled-back project relative to prior concepts, but opponents contend it is a way for the company to get its foot in the door for future expansion.

Published by the Alaska District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the plan details a project that is much more than a mine. According to Pebble’s plan documents, its reach would stretch 187 miles from the mine site north of Iliamna Lake to the edge of the Sterling Highway on the southern Kenai Peninsula.

In between would be a natural gas pipeline up to 12 inches wide traversing the Cook Inlet sea floor for 95 miles from the Anchor Point area to a deepwater port at Amakdedori west of Augustine Island. Continue Reading →

Opening offshore drilling options: Trump’s move will benefit Alaska if done responsibly (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – January 7, 2018)

News-Miner opinion: The Trump administration moved toward opening up 90 percent of the nation’s offshore oil reserves last week. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke rolled out the five-year plan that allows for 47 offshore drilling leases, with 19 of those off the coast of Alaska.

It’s the latest in a bevy of headlines that spark visions of a robust economy for Alaska in the not-too-distant future. Add offshore drilling to the list that includes the following: Gov. Bill Walker’s proposed natural gas pipeline, the opening of a portion of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development, Kinross applying for permits to expand the boundaries of its Fort Knox Gold Mine and the Pebble Partnership being allowed to apply for mining permits at its Pebble Mine site near Bristol Bay.

Alaska may not see all of these developments come to fruition, but this diverse portfolio has the potential to create many jobs and pump money into Alaska’s economy. Continue Reading →

U.S. agency starts review for Alaska mine project opposed by environmentalists – by Yereth Rosen (Reuters U.S. – Janaury 6, 2018)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – U.S. regulators formally launched a review process on Friday that could produce a permit a Canadian mining group needs to build the Pebble Mine copper and gold project in southwest Alaska, which is opposed by environmentalists.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency that regulates the development and dredging of wetlands, has published the completed permit application from the Pebble Limited Partnership on its website.

The application will trigger a formal environmental review of the plan to build an open-pit mine in a region with the world’s biggest sockeye salmon runs. Continue Reading →

Feds jump into transboundary mining dispute – by Ed Schoenfeld (Coast Alaska News – December 29, 2017)

Coast Alaska News

The federal government is taking on the transboundary mining issue. The U.S. State Department now acknowledges Alaskans’ concerns about pollution from British Columbia mines. And it’s committed to engaging Canadian officials to protect salmon-rich, cross-boundary watersheds.

In November, the State Department issued a statement saying it was aware of Alaskans’ environmental concerns. And it said it was raising the issue with its Canadian counterparts. But details were scarce.

Then, the department sent a letter to Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, who released it Dec. 28. He’s headed up the administration’s efforts to address potential pollution from mineral prospects across the border in British Columbia. Continue Reading →

Quantum Pebble leap: First Quantum enters $1.5B deal for half of Pebble; permitting begins – – by Shane Lasley (Mining News – December 24, 2017)

In a framework agreement announced on Dec. 18, First Quantum Minerals Ltd. was revealed as the major mining company that will complete the Pebble Limited Partnership.

“We have made good progress in the partnering process and are very pleased to be in advanced-stage discussions with First Quantum, an industry leader in mine development and management,” Ron Thiessen, president and CEO, Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., currently the sole owner of the Pebble Partnership.

While the final details of an agreement that will provide First Quantum the option to own half of the Pebble Partnership are being hammered out, the US$1.5 billion preliminary agreement announced on Monday includes a US$150 million investment by First Quantum the will involve four equal payments of US$37.5 million to fund the upcoming permitting process for Pebble. Continue Reading →

Fort Knox gold benefits the Interior: Parcel G new mineral rights could expand life of Fort Knox mine (Daily News-Miner – December 19, 2017)

News-Miner opinion: Earlier this month, Kinross Gold Corp. announced it acquired additional mineral rights directly west of its Fort Knox Gold Mine. Known as Parcel G, this 709-acre tract of land contains an estimated 2.1 million ounces of gold. Going by Monday’s gold price, there could be more than $2.6 billion in gold beneath the surface of the site.

Parcel G could expand the life of the Fort Knox Gold Mine. This would be great for Fairbanks, so let’s hope Parcel G is mined.

Located about 25 miles northeast of Fairbanks, the open-pit Fort Knox Gold Mine has been producing gold for 20 years. It has produced more than 7 million ounces since opening and is the largest producer of gold in Alaska’s history. Continue Reading →

First Quantum breathes new life into Northern Dynasty’s Pebble project – by Henry Lazenby ( – December 18, 2017)

VANCOUVER ( – Base metals miner First Quantum Minerals has signed a framework agreement with Northern Dynasty Minerals to work on formalising an option on the controversial Pebble copper/gold project, in south-east Alaska.

The announcement on Monday breathes new life into the project billed as the largest undeveloped copper/gold project in the world, and which faces strong opposition from local conservationists, Aboriginal groups and nongovernment organisations.

Under terms of the framework agreement, a subsidiary of First Quantum will sign an option agreement with Northern Dynasty and pay $150-million, staged over four years, to acquire the option to acquire half an interest in the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) for $1.35-billion. Continue Reading →

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

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)

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)

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)

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 →