The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

Long overdue thank you to Curt Freeman

North of 60 Mining News - April 5, 2024

Contango Ore Inc.

Curt Freeman sharing insights into the geology of the 1-million-ounce Manh Choh gold project.

Curt's rock hammer, pen, wit, and charm have all contributed to Alaska mining sector success !

It is no surprise that longtime Alaska geologist Curt Freeman would at some point be presented the Charles C. (Chuck) Hawley Lifetime Achievement Award, an Alaska Miners Association honor reserved for those who devoted their professional life to ensuring a successful mining industry in Alaska.

After all, Alaska's mining and mineral exploration landscape would only be a shadow of what it is today if it were not for Curt's devotion of time, effort, thought, and action.

Since hanging a shingle emblazoned with Avalon Development above the door of his geological consultancy business in 1985, Curt and his team of professionals have been credited with numerous gold, copper, silver, nickel, platinum group, and rare metal discoveries in Alaska and around the world.

Curt capped his nearly four decades as president of Avalon Development with the discovery of Manh Choh, a 1-million-ounce high-grade deposit that is now Alaska's newest gold mine (ore is being mined, and first gold pour is coming soon).

For all his geological achievements, the many young geologists he mentored along the way, and the numerous major and junior mining companies his discoveries attracted to Alaska, Curt's greatest contributions to the success of Alaska's mining industry may not have been with a rock hammer.

It was the power of the pen, coupled with his wit and charm, that brought Alaska's mining sector to the masses and for which I owe a personal debt of gratitude.

In November 1996, Curt began writing quarterly Alaska mining news summaries for the Society of Economic Geologists and eventually added writing monthly Alaska mining news summaries for Mining News Alaska, the predecessor to North of 60 Mining News.

"His articles were the thing to read if you wanted to be current on the Alaska mining scene. Those articles continued for 23 years, through three economic downturns and their accompanying upswings," said Contango Ore President Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, who nominated Curt for the Chuck Hawley Award. "Through all the years, these articles inspired new mineral exploration companies to come North for their chance to find the Mother Lode."

When I first started writing for North of 60 Mining News in 2007, Curt's articles were the centerpiece and mainstay of the monthly newspaper.

It is not an exaggeration to say that without his monthly contributions, there would not be a North of 60 Mining News today. As I was getting to know and report on the Alaska mining scene, I always knew that I could lean on Curt's comprehensive column to provide accurate and insightful information on any projects or companies that I missed. And, like thousands of others in Alaska and around the world, I learned the ins and outs of Alaska's mining sector by reading his monthly column.

The one thing that amazed me the most as writer, publisher, and eventual owner of North of 60 Mining News is Curt's columns (which often topped 4,000 words) were always there, no matter how busy he was.

It is one thing for him to spend a few hours in front of his computer putting together a summary of an industry he clearly loves on a cold, dark Fairbanks winter day that bridged the gap between slow seasons during one of those downturns Rick mentioned. It is another thing completely for Curt to somehow find the time to write up a witty introduction and summarize dozens of projects in the middle of a busy field season when he and his crew of Avalon Development geologists were scouring projects across Alaska.

Yet, over the 13 years of contributing his valuable insights while I was at the helm of North of 60 Mining News, Curt faithfully submitted more than 150 columns detailing the monthly happenings in Alaska's mining sector.

Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse

Curt Freeman and grandson Leo.

All the while, he has been a longstanding and active member of the Alaska Miners Association; served as a member, and then Chairman, of the Geologic Mapping Advisory Board for the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys; has been a longstanding member of the Board of Directors for the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame Foundation; and represented Alaska's mining industry at AME Roundup and other global mining conferences.

So, there is no doubt that Curt is deserving of a lifetime achievement award that honors the late Chuck Hawley, a geologist who devoted his professional life to ensuring a successful mining industry in Alaska.

For me, Curt's lifetime of achievements includes holding the door open for an opportunity to learn and write about mining in Alaska and across Canada's North – a career that has been both interesting and rewarding.

So, from myself and the North of 60 Mining News team, Thank you, Curt, and congratulations on being honored with the Charles C. (Chuck) Hawley Lifetime Achievement Award!

–Shane Lasley

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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