Mining out the storm.
Despite Gold Slump, Industry Sets $11 Billion Record
The sounds of whirling helicopters and whining drills have once again returned to the hills and valleys of Alaska as the rough-and-tumble mineral exploration season hits its fall stride.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. a report produced by the Alaska Minerals Commission, major developments in the state include the continuation of commercial production at Fort Knox Fort Knox [for Henry Knox], U.S. military reservation, 110,000 acres (44,515 hectares), Hardin and Meade counties, N Ky.; est. 1917 as a training camp in World War I. It became a permanent post in 1932. In the steel and concrete vaults of the U.S. gold mine near Fairbanks and Illinois Creek gold mine near Galena galena (gəlē`nə) or lead glance, lustrous, blue-gray mineral crystallizing usually in cubes, sometimes in octahedrons. It is the most important ore and the principal source of lead. .
Additionally, the Red Dog zinc mine near Kotzebue perseveres with its $183 million expansion project; the Greens Creek mine near Juneau resumed full production; the Nixon Fork mine near McGrath expanded to allow continued production; and the Usibelli Coal Mine near Healy upgraded its major earthmoving equipment.
"The recent growth in the minerals industry is one of the shining stars Shining Stars is a program introduced by Russ Berrie Inc. toy company in partnership with the International Star Registry. Russ Berrie's Shining Star Friends product line was introduced to market the program. in Alaska's healthy economy, setting new records in each of the past two years," said Gov. Tony Knowles
Tony Knowles and Anthony Knowles may refer to:
Last year nearly $51 million was spent in exploration, $152 million in development, and $855 million in production. That $1.1 billion surpassed the previous record of $1.03 billion set in 1996.
"With five world-class hard rock mines operating today - from Fort Knox in Fairbanks, to Kotzebue's Red Dog, to Greens Creek in Southeast-and others coming on line, the value of Alaska's mining industry has tripled in just the past 10 years," Knowles added.
Leading the pack in Western Alaska is Cominco Alaska, Inc., which operates the Red Dog mine, the largest zinc mine in the world. Red Dog is located approximately 90 miles north of Kotzebue in the DeLong Mountains The DeLong Mountains are a mountain range in northwest Alaska. They are named after the explorer George Washington DeLong (1844-1881). , 55 miles inland from the Chuckchi Sea. It produces nearly 500,000 tons of zinc-ore each year.
Cominco recently announced an operating profit Operating profit (or loss)
Revenue from a firm's regular activities less costs and expenses and before income deductions.
See operating income. of $102 million for 1997, more than quadrupling 1996 profits of $25 million. Also noteworthy: Red Dog's expansion project is reported to be on schedule for a second-half 1998 completion. The $200 million infrastructure expansion includes construction at its port, as well as new housing and processing plant facilities. Port construction was recently completed.
Cominco, established in 1989, employs about 800 and is a subsidiary of Cominco Ltd, a Canadian-based mining and smelting smelting, in metallurgy, any process of melting or fusion, especially to extract a metal from its ore. Smelting processes vary in detail depending on the nature of the ore and the metal involved, but they are typified in the use of the blast furnace. company. Zinc and lead are exported worldwide out of Red Dog, which produced about 7 percent of the world's zinc in 1996. Last year, about 19 percent of the 50.6 million tons of ore removed was zinc-bearing.
Cominco also announced results from the Palaaq deposit, their newest ore body to be discovered. This deep extension of the Red Dog system is estimated to contain 14 million tons of zinc-bearing ore at depths ranging from 600 to 1,400 feet below the surface.
Red Dog is owned by NANA Regional Corporation NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. is one of thirteen Alaska Native Regional Corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) in settlement of aboriginal land claims. NANA was incorporated in Alaska on June 7, 1972. , and has a 50-year mine life expectancy Life Expectancy
1. The age until which a person is expected to live.
2. The remaining number of years an individual is expected to live, based on IRS issued life expectancy tables. . Cominco, the only taxpayer in the Northwest Arctic Borough, provides about $2.5 million annually to the borough's $5 million budget.
Placer Dome Placer Dome was a large mining company specializing in gold and other precious metals, with corporate headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Barrick has acquired 100% of the Placer Dome shares on January 20, 2006, and has integrated the company into its own. , also in western Alaska on the Kuskokwim Delta, announced a revised resource estimate totaling 61 million tons of gold-bearing ore (equivalent to 6.7 million ounces of gold) at its Donlin Creek deposit. That total is up from 1996 figures of 44.6 million tons of gold-bearing ore (or 5.3 million ounces of gold).
The Donlin Creek exploration project, located about halfway between McGrath and Bethel Bethel, in the Bible
Bethel (bĕth`əl) [Heb.,=house of God].
1 Ancient city of central Palestine, the modern Baytin, the West Bank, N of Jerusalem. , is on lands owned by Calista Native Corporation and is in its third year of operation. Calista, one of the state's largest private landowners, owns mineral rights on nearly 6.5 million acres. Most of the corporation's land is in the Kuskokwim Mineral Belt, noted for its rich placer gold deposits among other minerals.
Placer Dome spent about $7 million drilling more than 25,000 feet at Donlin Creek. The drilling, done at the invitation of Calista, is part of an early study of Placer Dome's copper/gold exploration project in Alaska. Continued drilling at Donlin Creek is a priority project, according to Placer Dome who spent more than $15 million last year on worldwide feasibility studies.
Joining Placer Dome is Ventures Resource Corporation who shares a nine-mile common boundary with Placer Dome. Ventures' 9,000-acre property, dubbed Donlin North, stretches for 4.4 miles along the projected mineralized min·er·al·ize
v. min·er·al·ized, min·er·al·iz·ing, min·er·al·iz·es
1. To convert to a mineral substance; petrify.
2. To transform a metal into a mineral by oxidation.
3. trend of the Donlin Creek ore deposit, according to Ventures Resource. Ventures, along with Cominco and Placer Dome, have been actively acquiring properties surrounding Donlin Creek at Flat, a historical mining district located about 12 miles to the north of Donlin Creek.
In the Eastern Interior, Amax Gold (Fairbanks Gold Mining, Inc.) and Toronto-based Kinross Gold Kinross Gold Corporation (TSX: K, NYSE: KGC) is a Canadian gold mining company. It is the seventh largest primary gold producer in the world. See also
1. ^ Kinross Gold. Corporation completed their merger making Kinross Gold Corporation owner of the Fort Knox gold mine near Fairbanks. First quarter 1998 production at Fort Knox totaled 87,232 ounces of gold at a cash cost of $189 per ounce. The company has also initiated a $4 million mill upgrade program that should see annual throughput increase by 12 percent.
The first gold was poured from Fort Knox in December of 1996. By the end of 1997, Fort Knox was the largest gold producer in Alaska. Its approximate 250 permanent employees are expected to pull out about 350,000 ounces of gold each year.
Greens Creek Mine, which began operation in 1989 as the first lode/hard-rock mine in Alaska since WWII WWII
World War II
WWII World War Two , posted an operating profit in 1997 despite depressed gold, silver and lead prices. The silver/zinc/gold/lead mine, located near Juneau on Admiralty Island Admiralty Island
A mountainous, heavily forested island of southeast Alaska in the Alexander Archipelago southwest of Juneau.
Noun 1. , is owned by Kennecott Greens Creek Mining Company/Kennecott Juneau Mining Company (70.3 percent) and Hecla Mining Company. Greens Creek is the largest silver mine in North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. .
About $4 million was spent last year on exploration activities at the mine, with the bulk of it taking place underground. According to Hecla, exploration efforts uncovered a "very important extension to the high-grade Southwest ore zone, and early results indicate it could be a major addition to the mine's reserves. The goal is to bring that resource into the "proven and probable reserve category by the end of the year," said Hecla.
First quarter 1998 production from the mine totaled 2.1 million ounces of silver at a cash cost of $3.55 per ounce. The operation also produced 3,993 ounces of gold, 1,412 tons of lead, and 3,574 tons of zinc.
Nixon Fork Gold Mine, an underground gold/copper mine located about 30 miles northeast of McGrath, is the highest grade gold mine the U.S., with ore averaging more than 1.5 ounces per ton. Intercepts included values as high as 2.5 ounces per ton, according to the Del Monte Mining Corporation.
Nixon Fork poured its first gold in October of 1995, and full production of about 50,000 ounces of gold per year was reached about a year ago. By the first quarter of this year, about 12,259 ounces of gold were produced at grades of 1.3 to 1.7 ounces per ton.
The mine is located on lands owned by Doyon Limited. Doyon has also partnered with Ventures Resource Alaska Corporation, ASA/Montague Gold NL Joint Venture and North Star Exploration, Inc. Doyon, which has entitlement to about 12.5 million acres in Alaska, is the largest private property owner in the state and one of the largest land owners in North America.
Near Delta Junction, Pogo Teck Corp. and partner Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. are continuing their $8 million surface drilling and underground exploration program on the Pogo gold deposit in the Goodpaster River country. The deposit contains resources of 10.9 million tons of gold-ore (0.41 ounces per ton), which will produce about 4.47 million ounces of gold. The gold is located in two flat-lying quartz veins with an average thickness of 24 feet. Permitting is continuing on the underground exploration portion of the program.
Dakota Mining, which operates in the Galena District, faced financial woes recently when its Alaskan subsidiary and operator of the Illinois Creek gold mine, USMX USMX United States Maritime Alliance, Ltd. of Alaska Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Interim financing Interim financing
A short-term loan made to a company on the condition that a takeout will follow with long-term or intermediate financing.
The financing that supports a transaction until permanent financing can be arranged. measures designed to avoid this event failed to materialize leaving USMX of Alaska with $12.1 million in debt.
The Illinois Creek heap leach mine recovered 20,111 ounces of gold through year-end 1997 while an estimated 52,500 recoverable ounces remained in the heaps. (Dakota expected to produce 65,000 of gold in 1997.) Cash costs at Illinois Creek for 1997 were $195 per ounce.
Dakota Mining explores, develops and operates gold properties throughout North America, however recently ceased all operations except those at Illinois Creek because of environmental compliance issues and low gold prices, the company said.
The Illinois Creek mine is on lands owned by Cook Inlet Cook Inlet
Inlet, Gulf of Alaska in the northern Pacific Ocean. Bounded by the Kenai Peninsula on the east, it extends northeast for 220 mi (350 km), narrowing from 80 to 9 mi (129 to 14 km). Anchorage is situated near its head. Region, Inc., the largest private landowner in the Cook Inlet region. CIRI CIRI Canadian Investor Relations Institute
CIRI Cook Inlet Region, Incorporated owns a royalty interest royalty interest
The proportional ownership interest by the owner of oil and gas rights in income produced by the asset. See also overriding royalty interest. in the mine. According to CIRI, "technical problems with the project, low gold prices, and financial circumstances of the operator all contribute to a less than optimistic outlook for this project."
Illinois Creek poured its first gold in June of last year. Illinois Creek is located about 325 miles north-northwest of Anchorage.
Curtis J. Freeman of Fairbanks contributed to this article.