The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

Articles written by Curt Freeman

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  • A bunch of bananas sitting beside an hourglass-type sand timer.

    Green bananas, mining risks, and time

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Aug 19, 2022

    Noted Alaskan prospector Rudy Vetter once told me, "At my age, I don't even buy green bananas anymore." I heard this sage remark during a mineral property lease negotiation after I offered Mr. Vetter a production royalty, rather than the cold, hard cash he wanted. Mr. Vetter was in his 80s at the time and clearly knew his own investment risk timeline. He also clearly knew that Alaskan mines require a number of years to move from discovery to production. So not surprisingly,... Full story

  • A stopwatch showing little time left until a reset.

    Is it time to press the reset button?

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Jul 28, 2022

    I know, I know, I promised to shut up and go away a long time ago. But I lied, so sue me! Just be glad I didn't title this ramble "Is it time for Format-C?" after all, most of the young-uns would have to Google that term to see what in tarnation it meant! And even then, many would ask "what is a hard drive?" But I digress, which by the way, has a Latin derivation that means "step away," which I supposedly did some time ago (see above). Ironic, eh? But I am digressing about... Full story

  • The final entry of Captain Curt's log

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 26, 2020

    In November 1996, a little over 23 years ago, I began writing quarterly mining news summaries for the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG). Shortly after that, I began writing monthly summaries for this publication's ancestor, Mining News Alaska, and have continued both monthly, quarterly and annual mining news summaries ever since. With this summary, I have written my last Alaska update for North of 60 Mining News. When I wrote my first summary, Greens Creek was milling only... Full story

  • Old mining risks yield to new concerns

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 26, 2020

    As the year winds down, mineral industry evaluations for 2019 are being published at a rapid rate. One of the most interesting such global reviews is EY Global Mining and Metals' annual "risk radar" for mining and metals, outlining what mining companies perceive as the top ten risks facing them in the near future. This publication stated that, for the second straight year, "social license to operate" remains the number one risk facing mining companies in 2020. This was... Full story

  • Alaska exploration extends into mild fall

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 26, 2020

    An abnormally long fall has allowed the Alaska mining industry to extend seasonal work well into mid-October, creating a lot of new information about project work conducted around the state. Exploration efforts, in particular, benefitted from this additional field time. Based on information available to date, 2019 exploration expenditures are expected to be in the $135-140 million range, well ahead of the $120-125 million exploration spending tracked for 2018. In addition,...

  • Alaska mining traces erratic global trend

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 26, 2020

    If you have watched the metals markets over the last month, you know why Alaska's mineral industry has surged, stalled, swerved, swooped, slowed, shelved and stuttered, sometimes all at the same time! Gold has gone above US$1,500 per ounce; copper pundits are predicting an increasingly dour future; zinc markets are looking to dive below $1.00 per pound; tin markets have marched strongly upward due to supply disruptions; and silver bulls are calling for annual worldwide... Full story

  • Alaska's topsy-turvy exploration season

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 26, 2020

    As the rest of the country suffers through the Dog Days of summer, Alaska is approaching the end of a topsy-turvy summer season that saw unseasonably hot, dry weather in some parts of the state during some parts of the summer, while other parts of the state have seen record rainfall and unseasonably early snowfall. Gold prices have skyrocketed over the $1,500 per ounce mark and silver prices have moved strongly up, now trading at a one-year high. However, copper and zinc are a... Full story

  • Curt Freeman throws down rear earth element gauntlet

    Freeman throws down rare earth gauntlet

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 26, 2020

    Earlier this month Reuters reported that several agencies within the U.S. Federal government were "rapidly assessing" our domestic ability to mine and refine rare earth elements and utilize those 17 super cool elements in value-added products needed for a wide and ever-growing array of consumer and national defense products. Not surprisingly, mining industry officials demurred when quizzed about supplying information on where rare elements might be mined in the U.S. and how... Full story

  • Metals feel love, explorers not so much

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    Earlier this month S&P Global put out a summary indicating that during the first quarter of 2019 metals like copper, zinc and nickel were up quarter over quarter by 11 percent, 22 percent and 25 percent, respectively. More recently gold has skyrocketed beyond the $1,400-per-ounce mark for the first time in many months. Correspondingly, the mining industry's aggregate market cap also rebounded strongly in the period after four bearish quarters, rising 12 percent to $1.43... Full story

  • The 2019 mining game is afoot in Alaska

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    In the famous words of Sherlock Holmes, the game is afoot! After seasonally slower news from Alaska's mining industry in March and April, the dam has broken with over two dozen Alaska mining project news releases issued in the last month. Including those projects moving forward that have not released their 2019 plans, Alaska has become a very busy place under the sun. All of our major metal mines reported strong performances in the first quarter, several of Alaska's most... Full story

  • Calm before the 2019 exploration storm

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    As is usually the case this time of year, news about Alaska mineral activities is a bit sparse this month as planning activities are at flank speed ahead of next month's surge in field activities. That said, there has been a blizzard of mineral industry data released recently that has both direct and indirect applications to the Alaska mineral industry. First off, some internally generated data. Current public and private budget announcements suggest Alaska's exploration... Full story

  • Concerning mineral exploration trend 2019

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    As is usually the case this time of year, the mining industry is awash in backward-looking statements designed to allow for more accurate forward-looking statements. Prime among them is one of my favorites, S&P Global's annual "World Exploration Trends 2019", a summary of what happened industry-wide in 2018 and what it may portend for the mining industry in 2019. The study predicts that global exploration budgets will increase again in 2019, although by a smaller amount, with... Full story

  • Unbridled enthusiasm keeps miners happy

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    Those of you that attended the recent Cordilleran Roundup Convention in Vancouver can attest to the exuberant, upbeat atmosphere that pervaded the conference and was very much in evidence at the standing-room only festivities at our annual self-hosted Alaska Night meet and greet. But digging down under this veneer of optimism, many of the junior explorers and most of the producers admitted to their expectations of challenging times in 2019. Putting words to this apparent... Full story

  • Keeping the main thing, the main thing

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    I, for one, feel vindicated, relieved and ready to face the New Year! How so, you ask? Please let me explain. For those of you who remember my column in November, I noted that EY Global Mining and Metals publishes an annual "risk radar" for mining and metals, outlining what mining companies perceive as the top ten risks facing them in the near future. This publication was for the years 2017-2018 and stated that "Our number one risk this year is digital effectiveness." If you... Full story

  • Mixed economic signals for Alaska mining Curt Freeman guest column

    Mixed economic signals for Alaska mining

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    As the year waned, Alaska's mining industry reported some of the last of its 2018 seasonal field results while the University of Alaska and state of Alaska released some current and projected state-wide economics. At the same time, some macro-economic data was released for the global mining industry. Combined, these figures show a mix of encouraging and not so encouraging trends facing the Alaska mining industry. At the global scale, things for the mining industry are looking... Full story

  • Northern Dynasty Pebble Limited Partnership copper project Bristol Bay

    Alaska drill results continue to roll in

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    WESTERN ALASKA Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. announced that it had finalized a surface right of way agreement with Alaska Peninsula Corporation for use of that latter's lands for the construction and operation of transportation infrastructure associated with the Pebble copper-molybdenum-gold project. Alaska Peninsula Corporation is an Alaska Native village corporation with extensive land holdings proximal to the Pebble site and more than 900 shareholders, many of which live... Full story

  • Avalon Development Curt Freeman Alaska Mining overview November 2018

    Mining risks change often, dramatically

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    As Alaska's mining industry nears the end of another hectic year during which metals prices and investor sentiments rose and fell as precipitously as the world's major stock exchanges, the industry is naturally looking into its crystal ball trying to anticipate what the new year will bring. EY Global Mining and Metals does this sort of forecasting by putting out an annual "risk radar" for mining and metals. The idea is to find out what the industry perceives as the top ten... Full story

  • Australian junior exploring Kuskokwim Mineral Belt near Donlin Gold

    Explosion of mining activity in Alaska

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    Following a couple of quiet months where Alaska's mining industry focused on its work, the last month has seen an explosion of new info come out regarding that effort, some of it profound in its potential immediate, near-term and long-term implications. For example, one of Alaska's largest mines was sold to a new owner at a surprisingly low cost per ounce. The results of a robust new preliminary economic analysis were tabled by an advanced gold-silver exploration project... Full story

  • John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act rare earth element magnets

    Strategic metals ban rallies explorers

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    Underscoring the interconnected nature of the global mining market, not 48 hours after the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law, the mining industry began wondering out loud how they were going to produce rare earth element, tungsten, tantalum and molybdenum in the near future. Why these metals and why the worry now? Because one of the many impacts the Defense Authorization Act will have on the U.S. economy is its ban on the U.S. Department of... Full story

  • World-class gold mine development Yukon Kuskokwim region Alaksa

    Dead cat bounce for Alaska mining?

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    Although the Alaska mineral industry is in better health in the middle of 2018 than it has been in the last five years, the spirited recovery that was in progress in the first quarter of the year is now looking more like a dead-cat bounce – a minor recovery after a long down trend. This is particularly true of the exploration sector. Reviewing the Alaska minerals industry, you will note that several exploration projects are only now commencing their 2018 exploration p... Full story

  • Australian mineral exploration companies in Alaska Curt Freeman

    Alaska mineral exploration tops $100M

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    The summer field season is in full bloom across Alaska with programs stretching from the Brooks Range to southeastern Alaska, and from the Yukon border to southwestern Alaska. Exploration targets range from grassroots to mine-site, focused on commodities including gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper, cobalt and graphite. For Alaska's exploration industry, planned, announced and estimated expenditures are well over the $100 million mark for 2018. This expenditure level is well... Full story

  • Topographic, geologic and geophysical maps Alaska

    Critical Alaska geological maps needed

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    One of the most common complaints I hear from companies and individuals working in the mineral industry in Alaska is our deplorable lack of modern, usable-scale digital geophysical and geologic maps. How bad is it? Consider this: the U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that less than 2 percent of Alaska has acceptable geophysical data coverage, and less than 20 percent has been geologically mapped at a scale useful to evaluate the state's mineral resources. Nobody will deny... Full story

  • Zinc exploration Red Dog District, Teck Resources Solitario partnership

    Stiff competition for exploration services

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 25, 2020

    An early spring coupled with low snow fall in many parts of Alaska have combined to enable companies large and small to start their summer field programs early this year. As expected, competition is stiff for people, drills, helicopters, heavy equipment and related services, awarding those who committed budgets early and penalizing those who did not or could not commit early. For the first time in half a decade, projects with money at hand may not be able to get the services t... Full story

  • Kotzebue National Geographic TRI article Red Dog Environmental Protection Agency

    Alaska exploration mirrors global trend

    Curt Freeman, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 24, 2020

    In 2017 Alaska’s mineral exploration industry saw its first up-tick in exploration spending since 2011, an increase that S&P Global Market Intelligence’s “World Exploration Trends” indicates was mirrored on the world-wide level. According to S&P’s data, the worldwide exploration industry spent $8.4 billion in 2017, the first such increase in spending since 2012. S&P also forecast a 15-20 percent increase in exploration spending for 2018 as well. The study also showed that dema... Full story

  • Mining sector about to rocket ... or not

    Curt Freeman, Mining News|Updated Sep 24, 2020

    Seven days of near-continuous rain did nothing to dampen the mood at the recently concluded Cordilleran Roundup Convention in Vancouver. The event was buoyed by a realistic optimism we have not seen in over five years. This change from half-empty to half-full glasses is due to a number of things including strong commodities prices, increasing global demand for metals and current or looming supply shortfalls in many of the metals produced by this industry. The event was... Full story

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