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Mining History / Alaska


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  • Army Corps. constructing Alaskan Highway in 1942.

    More than neighbors, a story of the North

    A.J. Roan, Mining News|Updated May 17, 2024

    Starting off on rocky footing, the relationship between Yukon and Alaska is more than just accommodating northern neighbors. Today, it is widely known that the 141st meridian west serves as the international border between Alaska and Canada, but it was not always this way. While the Yukon and Alaska share a mutual respect for shared realities of Arctic living, when the Klondike Gold Rush hit, it became evident that demarcation between countries would need to be put in to quell...

  • Painting of a young Nellie Cashman from a photograph in 1874.

    Heart of gold: the legend of Nellie Cashman

    A.J. Roan, Mining News|Updated May 8, 2024

    Undertake an adventure through the riveting tale of Nellie Cashman, perhaps one of the most inspiring women of the 18th century. Perhaps no other individual could be regarded as true an American pioneer as Irish immigrant Ellen "Nellie" Cashman. Easily regarded as a quintessential gold mining stampeder with her acumen in business and the nose to sniff out opportunity, she traveled the width and breadth of America, leaving success and hope in her wake. Known as the Angel of...

  • Close up of a silver colored platinum nugget found near Goodnews Bay.

    Alaska platinum pioneers Smith & Wuya

    A.J. Roan, Mining News|Updated May 8, 2024

    Discovering Alaska's hidden wealth, the journey of Indigenous explorers in the land of platinum, Goodnews Bay Mining District. In the heart of Alaska's wilderness, two Alaska Native men stamped their names in state history with the discovery of the largest platinum deposit ever found in the Last Frontier. Both born into Yup'ik heritage, the journey of Walter Smith and Henry Wuya begins with early prospecting as little more than teenagers, to the landmark 1926 discovery on the...

  • A portrait of Jefferson “Soapy” Smith.

    The dirt on notorious conman Soapy Smith

    A.J. Roan, Mining News|Updated Feb 1, 2024

    In the annals of outlaw lore, a figure less infamous but no less intriguing than other notorious ne'er-do-wells left his mark on the world. Amidst the Klondike Gold Rush, a time speckled with countless renegades and hustlers, a man by the name of Soapy Smith remains a local enigma around his various stomping grounds, his notoriety now persisting as a fanciful tale of the Wild West. There were many dangers faced by people flooding the American West in the late 19th century....

  • Exploration camp at Pebble Mine back in 2013.

    Pebble: Origins of the enduring controversy

    A.J. Roan, Mining News|Updated Nov 2, 2023

    Navigating the tumultuous waters of controversy and impassioned discourse, let us take a step back and embark on a journey through the history of an Alaska copper project that has proven to be as divisive as it is essential. Perhaps by exploring the compelling narrative of the Pebble Mine project, where the pursuit of precious resources indispensable for a zero-carbon future intersects with the call for environmental stewardship to safeguard heritage and a very way of life,...

  • Once located on the shores of the Tanana River, Chena became a ghost town.

    Rediscovering the gold rush town of Chena

    A.J. Roan, Mining News|Updated Mar 2, 2023

    In the days before Fairbanks' rise to prominence as the economic and transportation hub of Interior Alaska, a small trade camp about five miles downriver was already attracting all the attention. The town, dubbed "Chena," served as the port and resupply point for the multitudes of stampeders traveling up the Yukon and Tanana Rivers in search of riches in Alaska's gold-rich streams. As the fervor of the Klondike Gold Rush began to cool, news spread of gold being discovered on...

  • Alaska Native men carving ivory with various tools.

    Natural resources are tied to survival

    A.J. Roan, Mining News|Updated Sep 15, 2022

    "What is the impact of not mining in Alaska?" Liz Cornejo, vice president Dowa Metals & Mining Alaska, asked during the 2022 Alaska's Minerals: A Strategic National Imperative summit. For such a simple question, the implications are enormous. Alaska is practically synonymous with mining. Aside from the strong tourist appeal – which accounts for a large portion of the state's economy – the remaining economic contributors all come from natural resources. Fishing, mining, oil...

  • The late Joe Usibelli Sr. who passed on May 12, 2022.

    Joe Usibelli, Sr. leaves an Alaskan legacy

    A.J. Roan, Mining News|Updated Jun 30, 2022

    Whether you are involved in the mining industry or not, lifelong Alaskans, at some point or another, have most likely heard the name Usibelli. Perhaps, however, many Alaskans may not be aware that behind the Usibelli Coal Mine is the Usibelli family – owners and operators of the largest coal mine in Alaska. Yet before a titan of Alaskan industry was born, generations of sweat, elbow grease, and raw determination was needed before the name Usibelli would be known. Built from f...

  • A view of the Red Dog mining camp that is the largest provider to ANCSA corps.

    Alaska Mining Day – a historic crossroad

    A.J. Roan, Mining News|Updated May 12, 2022

    May 10, 2022, celebrates the ninth annual Alaska Mining Day. Established in 2013, Alaska Mining Day was created through legislation sponsored by Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, "to recognize and honor the intrepid individuals and industry that played an enormous role in settling and developing the territory and the state that continue to contribute to the economy of the state." Why May 10? On this day in 1872, the General Mining Act of the United States was approved – w...

  • memorial Bill Ellis Alaska geologist history mining discovery AES Earth Sciences

    Bill Ellis blazed trail of Alaska discovery

    A.J. Roan, Mining News|Updated Mar 31, 2022

    On March 18, 2022, Alaska's mining community lost Bill Ellis, a close friend and geologist that was universally loved for his kind spirit and optimism, traits that will live on as a legacy as solid as the Alaska rocks he explored for the better part of half a century. All of us at North of 60 Mining News were blessed to get to know Bill and wish to send our love and condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. In honor of Bill's memory, we would like to republish "Bill...

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