The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

Articles written by Sarah Hurst

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  • Rollercoaster ride not over

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Dec 30, 2007

    A year ago, Vancouver-based NovaGold Resources Inc. triumphantly fought off a hostile takeover bid by Toronto giant Barrick Gold. In 2007, the ambitious junior brought its Rock Creek project near Nome to the brink of production, began construction at Galore Creek in British Columbia and just a few weeks ago sealed a deal with Barrick to end their dispute over the Donlin Creek project in southwest Alaska. On Nov. 7, NovaGold's share price hit a 52-week high of $21.91. Then disaster struck: NovaGold and its new partner at...

  • Judge supports Rock Creek project

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Oct 28, 2007

    Vancouver, B.C.-based NovaGold Resources is progressing rapidly with its Rock Creek and Galore Creek projects - and it looks like the company might get some support from an unexpected quarter. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held a hearing Sept. 26 in a lawsuit brought by a Nome citizens' group against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a permit it issued for Rock Creek, and at least one of the three judges was adamantly in favor of the mine. Judge Andrew Kleinfeld repeatedly interrupted attorney Brian Litmans, who with... Full story

  • Jericho nets higher grades during tests

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Aug 26, 2007

    Nunavut's first diamond mine, Jericho, operated by Toronto-based Tahera Diamond Corp., is still undergoing technical improvements aimed at increasing output and turning losses into profits. The value of the mine's production for the second quarter of 2007 was US$6.4 million, for a total cash operating cost of $16 million, Tahera said in a release Aug. 7. Jericho processed 95,500 metric tons of ore in Q2 at an average grade of 0.78 carats per ton, resulting in production of 74,000 carats. Overall, total tons processed at...

  • Polaris builds on quarry's early success

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Aug 26, 2007

    Almost six months after the Orca quarry on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, began production of sand and gravel, owner Polaris Minerals is looking back with pride on its early achievements and looking forward to an expansion of operations in the future. The quarry is on schedule to start seeing positive cash flow after its first year in production, Vancouver-based Polaris's management said in a second-quarter results conference call Aug. 17. "The Orca quarry continues to perform extremely well and productivity is improving... Full story

  • Anglo American to steer Pebble project

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Aug 26, 2007

    Like a magnet, Pebble's inferred resources of 42.9 billion pounds of copper, 39.6 million ounces of gold and 2.7 million pounds of molybdenum attracted Anglo American to the southwest Alaska project. What this adds up to is a potential mine life of 50 years or more, which was Pebble's biggest draw for the London-based major, representatives of the company told Mining News. In late July Anglo emerged as a 50-50 partner in Pebble with Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty, promising an investment of $1.4 billion. Unwilling to...

  • Private company takes on Yukon gold mine

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Aug 26, 2007

    Mining assets in the Yukon that formerly belonged to bankrupt company BYG Natural Resources have been sold to a privately held company, Saskatchewan Ltd., for $3.1 million. Ontario-based BYG's interim receiver, PricewaterhouseCoopers, announced the sale Aug. 9. The 199 claims and leases at the Mount Nansen property near Carmacks had been under the joint care of the governments of Yukon and Canada. Saskatchewan Ltd says it intends to begin developing an exploration program for the Mount Nansen site. The Vancouver-based...

  • Gibraltar expansion nears end of phase 1

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Aug 26, 2007

    The expansion of Vancouver-based Taseko's Gibraltar mine in south-central British Columbia is progressing rapidly and the company's revenues are up, Taseko announced in its third-quarter report Aug. 14. Cash flow from operations was C$14.6 million in the third quarter of this year, an increase of $2.2 million over the same period last year. Gibraltar produced 12.7 million pounds of copper in the third quarter, an increase of 2.6 million pounds over the same period last year. "We are very happy with the progress of operations...

  • Teck Cominco recovers Red Dog's costs

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Aug 26, 2007

    Vancouver-based Teck Cominco has almost made enough money at Red Dog mine to start paying Alaska Native corporation NANA a 25 percent net proceeds of production royalty, the company announced in its second-quarter report July 30. Teck Cominco currently pays NANA an annual advance royalty equal to 4.5 percent of Red Dog's net smelter return. At a certain point specified in the royalty agreement, NANA must pay the 25 percent royalty, which increases in 5 percent increments every fifth year to a maximum of 50 percent. Advance... Full story

  • Jury rules Sullivan mine deaths accidental

    Sarah Hurst|Updated Aug 26, 2007

    A coroner's jury at an inquest in Kimberley, British Columbia, in mid-July decided that the four deaths at Teck Cominco's decommissioned Sullivan mine last year were accidental. Two workers and two paramedics died when they entered an airless water-sampling shed on the site. The paramedics weren't prepared for entering a mine building because they thought they were dealing with a drowning, the inquest found. The jury handed down 16 recommendations to revamp mine safety rules. It recommended that the British Columbia Mines Min...

  • Millrock banking on giants in Alaska

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Aug 26, 2007

    Greg Beischer is a familiar face in Alaska's mining industry, but he's wearing a new hat now. For the past few years he's played a peripheral role, working for Bristol Environmental and Engineering Services, advising parent company Bristol Bay Native Corp. on mineral, oil and gas developments in the Bristol Bay region, including the Pebble project. He's also the outgoing chairman of the Alaska Miners Association's Anchorage branch. This summer Beischer has gone back to breaking rocks in an entirely new job. Beischer is now... Full story

  • Coal miner's daughter sings his praises

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News, The Associated Press contributed to this report.|Updated Aug 26, 2007

    Not all parents are sure that their kids appreciate them. But when they follow you into the family business and one of them writes an article describing you as a role model and all-around great guy, you can relax with a beer, put your feet up and think, "I've done OK." This is precisely the case for 43-year-old John Usibelli, father of Elizabeth and Vincent, all of whom are currently working at the coal mine in Healy that was founded by John's great-uncle, Emil. "He is a very talented, low-key man; a working man's man; a...

  • Alaskans won't get vote on mining ban

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jul 29, 2007

    Alaska's Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell has denied an application for a statewide ballot initiative submitted by three Bristol Bay residents who are concerned about the possible development of the Pebble project. Parnell followed the advice of the Department of Law in a June 21 memorandum to deny a vote on the Alaska Clean Water Initiative. The proposed law would have placed sweeping restrictions on the state's mining industry. The initiative aimed to prevent Alaska's waters from being "adversely impacted" by new large-scale metallic...

  • Agencies approve Fort Knox heap leach

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jul 29, 2007

    Alaska's Department of Natural Resources issued permits July 3 for Fort Knox gold mine's heap leach project, which will have a total capacity for leaching 161 million tons of ore. The heap leach facility will be in the Walter Creek drainage on about 310 acres of land, and the haul road to the pad will cover another 40 acres. DNR and the Department of Environmental Conservation responded to numerous public comments about the project that offered suggestions and expressed concerns. "The project is based on sound engineering...

  • NWT uranium exploration plan rejected

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jul 29, 2007

    The mining industry is concerned about its future in Canada's Northwest Territories in the wake of the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board's decision in May to recommend against a uranium exploration project that was proposed by Manotick, Ontario-based Ur-Energy. The company hopes to explore near Screech Lake in the Upper Thelon River basin. Canada's Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jim Prentice will now decide whether or not to accept MVEIRB's recommendation. Uranium exploration is quite similar to the dia... Full story

  • Too soon to decide on Donlin, judge rules

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jul 29, 2007

    A U.S. District Court judge in Anchorage has dismissed NovaGold's lawsuit against Barrick Gold over the Donlin Creek project where the two companies are joint venture partners. Vancouver-based NovaGold had asserted that Toronto-based Barrick, the world's largest gold producer, breached the terms of the companies' Mining Venture Agreement. Judge Timothy Burgess ruled that Barrick has until Nov. 12, 2007 - the date stipulated in the MVA - to fulfill its obligations on the project, and the company's success or failure cannot be...

  • Rock Creek sees fatalities; costs rise

    Sarah Hurst|Updated Jul 29, 2007

    Two iron workers died during construction of NovaGold's Rock Creek mine near Nome July 19. Craig Bagley, 27, from Anchorage and Tyler Kahle, 19, from Wisconsin, both worked for Anchorage-based contractor Alaska Mechanical. They were attaching siding to the mill building and fell about 50 feet when the lift basket they were working in tipped over, according to troopers. An investigation of the incident is under way. NovaGold will spend an additional $40 million to complete construction and commissioning of Rock Creek, the...

  • Kensington shutdown would be costly

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jul 29, 2007

    Coeur Alaska has spent more than $206 million on the development and construction of Kensington gold mine near Juneau, but the economic benefits of the project could soon disappear if the mine doesn't commence operations, a report by the McDowell Group says. The mining company commissioned the report to determine how much Kensington is contributing to the economy of Southeast Alaska. Construction work has been completed on the main 12,000-foot access tunnel at Kensington, with all remaining, non-tailings-related surface facil...

  • Rail link would transport Yukon iron ore

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jul 29, 2007

    Proponents of an Alaska-Canada rail link are thinking big. In a phase 1 feasibility study commissioned by the State of Alaska and the Yukon government and published in June, they estimate that the project would generate 3,000 direct jobs in Alaska's mining sector and 2,300 additional new jobs in other industries. At least 8.8 billion tons of mineral concentrates could be developed in the rail corridor in Alaska over a 30-year period, with a gross metal value of $16.9 billion, according to the study. To illustrate the scale...

  • Drilling deep, costs high at Pebble

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jul 29, 2007

    At the site of Alaska's most controversial mining project, Pebble, near-tranquility reigns. Out on the mossy tundra, surrounded by deep blue lakes and streams, mountains and sky, the drone from the drill rigs and the buzzing of helicopters are the only disturbances. Away from the deposit itself, field crews conduct environmental studies in spots that would be ideal for picnicking, if they weren't so remote. Back in the village of Iliamna, where Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty has its project headquarters, core shack and empl...

  • Coal petition lacks merit, DNR rules

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jul 29, 2007

    Alaska's commissioner for the Department of Natural Resources, Tom Irwin, has rejected a petition to designate the Chuitna River watershed as unsuitable for coal mining. The petition was filed by non-profit law firm Trustees for Alaska on behalf of a group of people including the Chuitna Citizens NO-COALition, the Alaska Center for the Environment and Alaskans for Responsible Mining, who had hoped to block the planned Chuitna coal project that is being developed in the area. The petition includes lands exempt from the...

  • Alaska mine wins a round in legal battle

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jun 24, 2007

    An Anchorage judge gave little credence to arguments by a Nome citizens' group that construction of Rock Creek gold mine should be halted, decisively ruling in favor of developer NovaGold Resources. After a hearing in Alaska District Court June 7, Judge Ralph Beistline made his decision the following day. Bering Strait Citizens For Responsible Resource Development had requested an injunction to protect the area's wetlands. The plaintiffs argued that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' 404 permit authorizing some of Rock Creek's...

  • British Columbia producing faster than ever

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jun 24, 2007

    The mining industry in British Columbia surpassed itself in 2006, with revenues at an all-time high, according to the annual survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Net income for companies active in the province totaled C$2.3 billion, by far the highest amount since the survey was first published in 1968, and an increase of C$507 million on the previous year's figure. The average number of people employed in British Columbia's mining sector increased from 7,071 in 2005 to 7,345 in 2006. The latest survey covered 17 operating...

  • Petition calls for Cook Inlet coal mining ban

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jun 24, 2007

    TRustees for Alaska, the non-profit law firm that represented the Nome plaintiffs in the case against Rock Creek mine, has teamed up with another citizens' group to oppose coal mining in the Cook Inlet area. The new group is called the Chuitna Citizens NO-COALition, and together with Trustees for Alaska it has petitioned the Department of Natural Resources to declare the Chuitna watershed unsuitable for surface coal mining. Last summer the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held a series of scoping meetings about the...

  • Starfield Resources sees shine in PGMs

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jun 24, 2007

    Geology isn't always a fast-moving business, especially when you consider that minerals lie around for billions of years before they're discovered and eventually mined. So the fact that Toronto-based Starfield Resources has recently sprung into action after almost a decade of relative quiescence shouldn't mean too much in the grand scheme of things. What matters is that the company is now taking serious steps towards development of its sole project, the Ferguson Lake polymetallic deposit in Nunavut. Starfield appointed a new...

  • Hemis launches hunt for offshore gold

    Sarah Hurst, For Mining News|Updated Jun 24, 2007

    A geologist who worked in Alaska decades ago is following a long-harbored ambition to find out if there is gold on the seabed in Cook Inlet. Doug Oliver helped to build the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and returned to the state in the early 1980s with Tenneco Minerals, which had several exploration projects at the time. Tenneco was approached by Aspen Exploration to look for the offshore gold, but a deal couldn't be reached. Oliver was always interested in the idea and is now pursuing it with Zurich, Switzerland-based Hemis...

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