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Conflicting claims at Graphite Creek


Last updated 6/7/2015 at Noon

Graphite One Resources Inc. May 29 reported that its wholly owned subsidiary, Graphite One (Alaska) Inc., has executed a definitive long-term lease agreement with Kougarok LLC for 24 unpatented federal mining claims.

These, together with adjoining state mining claims already owned by Graphite One collectively make up the Graphite Creek property.

The company estimates that more than 90 percent of the 17.95 million metric tons of indicated resources grading 6.3 percent graphitic carbon are situated within the four oldest federal claims.

The Bureau of Land Management has advised Graphite One that the 20 other federal claims were located when federal claims could be initiated only for "metalliferous minerals" and graphite is not metalliferous.

The State of Alaska has selected all of the lands within the leased claims, however, and Graphite One owns the senior state mining claims covering the same ground.

As a result, if any of the leased claims are abandoned or relinquished, Alaska can acquire the affected lands as part of its statehood entitlement and recognize Graphite One's state claims.

Graphite One's Graphite Creek property consists of 28 state mining claims acquired by the company in January 2012 and 77 state claims staked later that year.

In September 2014, a competing claimant advised Graphite One that he believed the 28 acquired claims had been improperly located and thus junior to his mining locations made in October 2012 on the same lands.

This competing claimant has alleged that the locator was not qualified to stake the claims and that such locations were therefore null and void from the beginning, as opposed to being merely voidable until they were acquired in January 2012 by Graphite One, an Alaska corporation qualified to own state claims.

Graphite One believes that the best interpretation of the state law is that state mining locations made by an unqualified person are voidable, not void, and acquisition of such locations by a qualified owner such as Graphite One (Alaska) Inc. cured any defect in the locations due to the original locator's lack of qualifications.

Graphite One said it will vigorously assert its rights as against this or any other competing claimant, if the matter cannot be resolved by agreement.


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