Archive | Alaska Mining

Pebble Mine: Taking the Battle to the Board Room – Again – by Joel Reynolds (Natural Resources Defense Council – May 07, 2018)

Bristol Bay Coalition Delivers Message of Unrelenting Opposition in Meetings with First Quantum Minerals in Toronto

Sometimes really bad ideas are hard to kill – especially these days. Take, for example, the Pebble Mine, which Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Administrator Scott Pruitt rescued from its deathbed last May after cutting a deal with the project’s CEO. And just like that this reckless project had a new lease on life – and a new pitch for potential investors.

Last week in Toronto, together with a formidable delegation of leaders from the distant Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska, my NRDC colleague Chris Tackett and I attended the shareholders’ annual general meeting (“AGM”) of Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals and met with its Chair and CEO.

First Quantum, which draws 84% of its revenue from copper mines in Zambia, is looking to expand its operations to the United States by bankrolling the Pebble Mine – now solely owned by Northern Dynasty Minerals, a small Canadian mining exploration company based in Vancouver. Continue Reading →

Pebble Mine Investor Again Needs Time to Finish Deal – by Stephen Lee ( – May 1, 2018)

The backer of an Alaska copper and gold mine project said May 1 it needs another month to finish an agreement with the mine’s owner.

Should financier First Quantum Minerals Ltd. and Pebble Mine owner Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. fail to come together, the project would be in trouble. Northern Dynasty needs First Quantum’s $150 million cash infusion to file its application for permitting and to cover its legal and consulting costs, while the Army Corps of Engineers writes its environmental impact statement.

Meanwhile, Northern Dynasty’s financial filings sketch a picture of a company operating close to the bone. The company only has roughly $50 million in cash on hand, according to a March 29 financial statement. Continue Reading →

Barrick, NovaGold project in Alaska gets key environmental approval – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 30, 2018)

Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE:ABX) and NovaGold Resources’ (TSX, NYSE-MKT: NG) proposed gold mine in Alaska has received a long-waited final environmental clearance, granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Canadian miners said Monday.

The Dolin project, one of the world’s largest, highest grade, known gold deposits, is expected to require a $6.7 billion investment from the two owners, which are developing in assets in a 50-50 partnership.

Located in in Southwest Alaska, the proposed mine contains 39 million ounces of gold in the measured and indicated (M&I) resource categories. Continue Reading →

Hope is only surviving camp from Upper Kenai Peninsula gold rush – by Ray Bonnell (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – April 22, 2018)

FAIRBANKS — According to the 1915 U.S.G.S. report, “Geology and Mineral Resources of Kenai Peninsula, Alaska,” the only recorded instances of Russian gold exploration in Alaska occurred between 1848 and 1851, when Peter Doroshin, a Russian-American Company mining engineer, discovered gold in the Kenai River and spent two summers prospecting along the Russian River.

Doroshin, or his men, may have searched further afield, though. American miners in the Hope area found abandoned workings that they attributed to the Russians.

After the 1867 purchase of Alaska, prospectors began pushing north along the coast from British Columbia. By the 1880s, miners were working beach deposits along Lower Cook Inlet. In about 1888, a prospector named King (first name unknown) sojourned into the Upper Kenai Peninsula, returning two summers later with four pokes of gold. Continue Reading →

[Alaska Mining] Pogo discoveries excite exploration team – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – April 6, 2018)

While Pogo has surpassed its original life expectancy of 10 years and 3 million ounces of gold, the air of excitement emanating from the miners, geologists and management indicates that mining is just getting started at this high-grade underground gold mine in the heart of Alaska’s Interior.

Churning out 271,273 oz of gold from roughly 950,000 tons of ore in 2017, Pogo is on pace to pour its 4-millionth ounce of gold early in 2019 and based on current estimates would have enough ore in reserve to keep the underground mine in operation into 2021.

It has been a while, however, since the reserves for Pogo have been calculated and when that does happen – slated for later this year – we will likely be looking at enough high-grade ore to feed the mill for another decade. Continue Reading →

After Mount Polley: The activists and filmmaker behind the documentary ‘Uprivers’ – by Kevin Gulufsen (Juneau Empire – April 8, 2018)

Indigenous activists Jacinda Mack and Carrie James come from two different countries and opposite ends of rivers their livelihoods depend on. One issue unites them: concerns over under-regulation of Canadian mining projects on the U.S.-Canada border.

Mack, a Canadian from the Indigenous Xat’sull community, hails from Williams Lake, a small town near the headwaters of the Fraser River. She’s experienced environmental disaster before.

In August 2014, a tailings dam failed at Mount Polley mine, sending 847 million cubic feet of mining waste into nearby rivers, places she used to harvest subsistence foods to feed her family. Continue Reading →

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 →