The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

Mining Explorers 2016: Coffee, gold wake mining explorers

The glimmer of gold and robust Coffee provided North of 60 mining explorers with a much needed pick-me-up in 2016.

At the dawn of the year, Alaska and northern Canada’s mining sectors were being dragged down by a long and grueling bear market from five years of sinking metals prices that weighed heavily on the market value and sentiment of explorers.

Unfortunately, these bearish conditions cut across both precious and base metals.

Gold entered 2016 at US$1,082 per ounce, more than 40 percent off the US$1,900/oz. high set in 2011. Copper started the year at around US$2 per pound, down around 55 percent from the US$4.50/lb. price of five years earlier. Even zinc, expected to be the one bright spot for the mining sector, was selling for a disappointing US70/lb at the onset of 2016.

Citing continued slow economic growth in China and a strengthening U.S. dollar, most market analysts at the time didn’t see the plight of the mining sector improving much in 2016.

These analysts, however, did not foresee gold prices rocketing 25 percent in the first half of 2016 or a major producer swooping in to buy a robust gold property in the heart of the Yukon Territory for more than half-a-billion dollars.

There are two indicators that differentiate bear and bull markets, optimism and price trends, and by spring the stock prices and sentiment of North of 60 mining explorers were turning upward.

This bullish-leaning sentiment was not reserved only for gold explorers but was felt by all the companies seeking to unlock the vast and underexplored mineral potential across Alaska and Canada’s North.

Or as Millrock Resources President Greg Beischer put it, “The tide is rising, and it is floating all boats.”

If the golden tide had not already floated Alaska and northern Canada’s mining exploration companies to a bull market, the May 12 news that Goldcorp Inc. would buy Kaminak Gold Corp. in an all-shares deal worth north of C$500 million was the final lift the sector needed.

Goldcorp’s purchase, which provided the major an opportunity to expand and develop the Coffee gold project in the Yukon, encouraged mining investors and re-invigorated mineral explorers.

While the boost provided by gold and Coffee was a bit too late for many mining explorers to fully set sail during the 2016 season, more than 40 were able to carry out million-dollar-plus programs in Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and northern British Columbia during 2016.

The golden tide ebbed a bit since mid-2016, however, many analysts consider gold’s rise as the first wave of an overdue long bull market for the industry.

Through all of the ebbs and flows of the notoriously cyclical mining markets, North of 60 Mining News will be here to keep you informed on the mineral exploration companies discovering the future of Alaska and Canada’s North.

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy this eighth edition of our annual Mining Explorers magazine.

- Shane Lasley, publisher, North of 60 Mining News

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

Author photo

Over his more than 16 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.


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